To continue our story, one characteristic of both the 1908 and 1916 pattern Reithosen; or riding breeches is that they are minimally tailored. Beyond the legs gradually tapering in, there is little of the extreme lines one normally expects with riding breeches or the more extreme lines found with officer’s breeches.
So, as it can be seen from the above pictures, Reithosen were generously cut and were intended for practical use out in the field. These were not designed to look good for parades and in fact, they go against popular concepts of what cavalry uniforms should look like. Wars will do that.
Perhaps some of the confusion stems from the Reithosen being confused with Stiefelhosen, which were a more tailored fitted garment. The enlisted version of the Stiefelhosen were originally issued to soldiers assigned to machine gun detachments. Later, they were also issued to mountain troops and field artillery. Below is a line drawing of the enlisted 1908 pattern Stiefelhosen:
Just for comparison, here is what people normally associate with cavalry breeches:
The extreme tapering from the hips to the legs is evident. This type of styling was characteristic of officer uniforms and was also in existence during the First World War. In the end, more research will have to be done but it is safe to say that the Reithosen were loosely fitted garments intended for practical use in the field.
I hope that this has proven useful. 🙂