One of the things that is an ongoing problem with being a woman for me (I promise I won’t go down the BIG list) is regarding athletic gear. When I purchase clothing from the major cycling companies that won’t be named in this article, I often feel like it’s just men’s clothing that has been altered according to generic schematic. “Oh, a woman has a shorter and narrower torso. They have skinnier arms. Also, let’s go ahead and make it pastel and slap some flowers on it. Because that’s what those baby makers like, right?” I don’t know who does the marketing and development for those male-centric companies, but I have personally sat in on several product development groups and have seen just how out of touch some of these agencies are. At the same time, I have seen how on par others are.
What excites me is finding products that are created, designed and developed by women and for women. This is not a huge conglomerate that sells bikes, components, and all matter of accessories. They sell jerseys, arm warmers, socks and their newest product which I haven’t seen in person yet; the “flip belt.” I’m talking about a great two-woman show called Tonik Cycling.
I ran into these lovely ladies last September at Interbike and came home with their “Abbey Tank” in lime/heather. I first want to mention that I have a small soft spot for them as they come from Whidbey Island, WA a mere 15 miles from my hometown of Anacortes, WA. A little island pride. Gotta give that love.
Anyway, I stopped to look at the jerseys because they didn’t look like jerseys. I soon found one yanked over my head right over my blouse. Though it was pretty snug over my other shirt, it felt really good. I already liked it then. Well. . . I’ve had a lot of time to take it for a test ride and let me tell you how I feel about it.
- I generally overall love the color options that Tonik picks for their jerseys. This is no exception. I love the piping on the front.
- On the back there is scalloped silver hi-vis trim running down the vertical seams. A little flattering tidbit.
- I like the ruching on the front. It makes me look like I have abs. And the ruching on the side hides my elastic band wrinkles. So, those are all positive attributes!
- On the back is a decent sized, open center pocket. It’s narrow at the top and wider at the bottom. The angle of the jersey and the cut of the pocket really makes for an elegant sweep to get into it. And then on the front of that pocket is a smaller zippered pocket. You know, for the important items. It’s just big enough for a smaller, normal sized cell phone (not a crazy plus model or anything ending.)
- I thought I wouldn’t like the round collar and that it would sit awkwardly while riding. So while flexing the mirror, I realized that it is true – it does occasionally sit funky. . . when my posture is incorrect and I my shoulders and thrown forward improperly. When I arch my back and actually position my arms like they’re supposed to be when I’m riding in a properly fitted bike, the collar lays perfectly flat. This jersey is absolutely genius. Standing straight or in any position considered “good posture” it stayed flat. Rolling my shoulder and the collar buckled…etc.
- No zipper. I mean, there is on that outer back pocket. But no zipper to get in and out of it. It’s basically just a blouse. Which means that you could also potentially go from riding to going inside to a meeting or dinner with just throwing on a light sweater. I think it’s that flattering. The fabric is also really soft and wicking. It’s some sort of anti-bacterial fabric and has 50 UPF Sun Protection.
- My one issue, but it’s kind of a non-issue if you remember that this is a jersey. When it’s hot enough to go sleeveless, I usually just wear these tankini deals. I’m used to having a built in sports bra and I’m not that well-endowed. This is just a jersey and so leaves nothing to the imagination. However it has an empire seam so may trick you into thinking it has support. I find a bulky strapped sports bra ends up catching up with the natural shimmy of the shirt fabric movement since the arm holes cut out towards the back and most sports bras tend to be the racer back straps that rub towards that. However it’s surprisingly non-intrusive.
- Last note; it’s long. It’s long and comfy. Why do most companies make women’s jerseys so short?? And it is loose around the hips but not baggy. Just comfy. I know sometimes when I’m wearing athletic gear I feel self-conscious and exposed. I feel perfectly comfortable wearing this top. Fuck the judgey-judgers anyway.
So there you go. I love this top. Love it. I feel great about supporting Tonik!