Saturday, November 21, 2020

Don't Forget to Breathe!

I have always liked the look and feel of Lederhosen. I don’t mean the kitschig ones you find in Bavarian tourist shops, but serious Lederhosen that are worn for real purposes.

However, he (my son) looked darn cute in these!

Many Jäger and Falkner wear Lederhosen, and when M and I went to die Hubert (an outdoor hunter’s trade fair) a few weeks ago, we found a stand called Only Kumar Leathers. The Lederhosen on display looked so fabulous, and fit the models perfectly, of course. We passed the booth twice and I finally inquired about trying on a pair. Kumar sized me up, grabbed a pair, and pointed me into the changing stall. As I went in he said something to me that sounded like, “If you can’t get them zipped, let me know.” Uhh…Right.

In the changing stall there hung a sheet of instructions in German and in French. It told me, if I can’t get the Lederhosen past my thighs, to wackel my Po and dance around a little. We women have plenty of experience doing this with jeans, so I was undaunted. Suddenly an arm appeared inside the stall attached to another instruction sheet, this one in English. Kumar had overheard M and me speaking English to each other. Nice gesture. A little pulling, a little wackeling, a little more wackeling… Ok! I got them up so that my Po was in the seat of the pants. However, ain’t no way those Hosen are closin’.

I stood there undecided and not a little dejected, loving the feel of the leather but knowing these Lederhosen would not be going home with me. Kumar inquired from the other side of the curtain, “How’s it going?”  I told him they’re on but won’t close. He said, “No, no, we’ll get them closed. Come on out!”

Now, when I tell you these Lederhosen wouldn’t close, I don’t mean it was close. I mean there's no elastic in that waistband and I had a good 6-7 cm of empty space between the button and the button hole.

I opened the curtain, he told me to hold up my sweatshirt, and he reached over, grabbed the open sides of the waist and said, “No problem.” I’m thinking, “YES Problem!!” He told me to suck in, he wrenched the waistline from left and right until…holy cats. He got them closed. What black magic is this?? He told me to zip them up, which I could now do.

Ok, super. Now that I feel and surely look like 10 pounds of potatoes in a 5-pound sack, I start to wonder how long I should wait before I say “Thanks, but no thanks,” wiggle my way out of those pants and flee. Kumar then told me to do 5 knee squats. Are you mad?!?! If I even take a step, the snap is going to fly off and take someone’s eye out! He told me to trust him and do the squats. I did, and nothing broke. Those seams must be sewn with the devil’s sinews.

He told me to sit in the chair. Again, as any woman in tight jeans knows, standing is wiser. By now I began to trust that Kumar does, in fact, know what he’s doing, so I sat down. Still nothing burst. Interesting. Kumar convinced me that Lederhosen have to be tight at first. With wear they mould to your body and shape and end up fitting you like a second skin.

Skipping a bit here, we ordered a pair and they arrived the other day. They came with instructions for putting them on, and this is where it gets funny.

My translation:

So that the Lederhosen fit and sit well for the long haul, they need to be tight at first. If you don’t get the pants over your butt right away, wiggle your hips side to side, pull your gut in, and hold your breath (just like you do when you try on jeans)!

IMPORTANT: When you’ve got the Lederhosen closed, breathe again! If, when putting them on the first time, you did not break into a sweat, you have not found the right size yet! [Note: Apparently I had found the right size.]  Lederhosen will stretch with time in the waist about 2-3 cm and below the waist 3-5 cm. But only when there is tension!

After you’ve got the Lederhosen on, hold the waist snap and do 4 to 5 knee bends and notice how the leather gives. [Not feelin’ that just yet, Kumar.] Keep the Lederhosen on for a while even if you don’t yet feel good in them. When they take on your body temperature and stretch a little, that nice feeling will come by itself.  [Still waiting, Kumar.]


Armed with those instructions, I gave it a whirl. Although I got them over my Po with just a bit of effort, I definitely had to lie flat on the living room floor to let gravity help me get them snapped, hooked and zipped (another trick with which we women are well familiar). Not being a quitter, I eventually succeeded and was even able to get myself off the floor. Knee bends, sitting on the coffee table, walking around, all good. Relaxing on the sofa with a book, not so much.

Hey, they're closed. Gravity be praised.

The second night was more of the same, and I wore them for about an hour including washing the dishes and walking down the basement stairs to get some wine. The third night it was less of a struggle to get them closed, though I still needed the gravity trick. I’m wearing them now as I sit at my desk typing. And every now and then I do remember to breathe!

I do trust Kumar. These Lederhosen are not cheap (good leather never is), and he would not still be in business if he didn’t know what he was doing. They’re still tight, but there’s nothing like the feel of leather and I’m confident I’ll eventually be able to wear these Lederhosen in public.

M ordered a pair of hunter's Lederhosen from a different source at a more reasonable price, and naturally they fit and look great on him. HE doesn't have to lie on the floor to get them closed! According to Kumar and his instructions, though, M's Lederhosen are too big. Time will tell, I guess. 


  1. Hi Beth! Love this post - your writing really made me chuckle! I've never tried on Lederhosen but I got a Dirndl a few years ago that I've worn a few times for various festivals. Hope you enjoy your Lederhosen for many years to come!

    1. I hope they eventually fit well enough to wear them out of the house! :-) I could do, but if I had to use the WC somewhere I'd have a hard time getting them closed again. I've noticed some improvement, but I'm not there yet!

  2. Now this is funny! A video would have been even more funny, but embarrassing, to be sure.

    1. Oh, indeed. I don't think I would be brave enough to film this ordeal. Because of my gammy finger wrapped up in a bandage, I can't get the Lederhosen closed again. By next week I should be down to a band-aid, so I'll try again then.