Leather: Chaps

Anyone who likes leather, or is a biker, or who just wants something to add some warmth and protection for his legs needs a pair of chaps.

Chaps are about the most practical leather item available, and useful for many purposes. Here is the section from my Complete Guide to Leather Gear about chaps:

Many guys who advise others about leather say that chaps should be your first major purchase. Chaps are the most versatile piece of leather you will own. They are great for wearing out to a leather bar, while riding on a motorcycle, and for sex. You can put them on and take them off quickly, and they stand up to a lot of punishment. Chaps show a serious interest in leather, and they convey that message to others.

A good pair of leather chaps will cost you $200 minimum. They will be fairly functional and usually have a snap front closure with rawhide strings in the back for adjustment. A great pair of chaps will probably run you about $400. “Great” chaps have pockets on the front, are made of thick top-grain leather, and are made custom to your size, so there is usually one solid band of leather across the back (instead of rawhide strings holding grommeted ends together) and a quality, adjustable closure on the front. Do NOT buy a $79-$99 pair of chaps. You’ll regret it. They’re paper thin, often made of cowhide splits (not top grain leather), and often are pieced rather than made of one solid hide. Cheap chaps are pretty much worthless.

Features to look for

The Fit: Go to a quality leather store and try on a pair or two. If you’re not sure what you’re doing, the salesperson will help you put them on. Wear the jeans you may wear with them so you get a proper fit. And let the leathermaker do alterations so they fit you right. (i.e. length and adjust the waistbelt if necessary). Minor alterations shouldn’t cost more than about $20-$30.

Weight/Thickness: The thicker the leather, the better. You want a heavy weight leather. It looks 100% better. And you don’t want cheap looking chaps. Leather that is in the range of 7 to 8 oz. is best.

Zipper Position: If you ride a motorcycle, you want the zipper on the outside (so it won’t scratch your tank). Otherwise, a zip on the inside is fine.

Chaps to Avoid: Don’t buy chaps made of anything except real leather. Chaps made of “pleather,” or other materials like “neoprene” may look good from a distance in a dark bar, but if a guy shows an interest in you and then feels the fake quality of what you have on your legs, he may back off quickly. If you’re serious about leather, then wear leather, not imitation by-products of the oil industry.

I mentioned in my “Going Custom” blog post that chaps were the first piece of leather gear I ever bought, and for good reason. Lots of guys who ride motorcycles wear them, so they are quite common in many circles. If you are getting into leather, chaps are an essential starter item. I learned that having chaps made to fit custom was best, because they looked good, did not pucker around the hips and thighs, had no annoying snaps on the leg openings, and had a quality closure. I also can attest that chaps are great for more private enjoyment of leather, as well. And another good thing to know about chaps is that they are very forgiving in that they are easily adjustable to change fitting should you gain weight as you age. A pair of chaps I got at age 25 still fit me now when I’m double that age and a bit larger than I was back then.

Chaps are so versatile and so enjoyable, I have seven pairs of chaps that I have acquired over time. To be honest, I still wear each pair (though not all at the same time LOL!). If you are interested in leather and you don’t have chaps yet, then have a friend measure you, go to a fetish leather store (or visit the store’s website), and order yourself a pair made custom to your size. I’m sure you will enjoy them for many years to come.

Check back tomorrow: more on individual leather gear with some of my opinions thrown in, too.