Jul 14, 2017

GREAT EXPECTATIONS OF FIT

  • David Byrne, pushing the boundaries of fit
  • Fausto Coppi evades the fashion police with aplomb
  • Movistar use an actual parachute, not an oversized jacket
  • Our Club jersey, fitting James perfectly
  • Kate knows how to choose the right size

For a man, dressing in a well fitted suit is the time when you are almost guaranteed to look your best. It often takes you by surprise, leaving you wondering 'Why don’t I wear this every day?'. We're talking here about your best suit, the one you've decided to trust a professional’s advice about sleeve length and inside leg measurements. The tailor is given a lot of credit for knowing how to make you look your best, but we don't afford the same credit to all clothes manufacturers. A lot of you will dress very well and take a lot of care over your appearance, but I'm making this sweeping statement largely from my own experience. And that brings me neatly on to the idea of garment fit. And uniqueness. Because garment fit is particular to the person experiencing it. Sweeping statements and technical garment fitting should never go like hand in glove.

There is never an excuse for wearing a jacket so large that the parachute regiment look on in envy at the billowing canopy.

Choosing the correct fit for your cycling clothes is, of course, subjective. Up to a point. You may feel more comfortable in a looser fitting jersey, your arms may be like pipe cleaners and look better in a super tight fit. Just like buying a pair of jeans, your personal preference plays a part. There is, however, never an excuse for wearing a jersey so many sizes too large that it could be just as easily paired with stockings and referred to as a frock. You should never make aerodynamics so irrelevant by having a rain jacket that’s more parachute than clothing. Similarly, there’s aero fit and there’s plainly too small. Conjure your own images there, we’ve all seen it.

There is a nuanced difference between size and body type. We don’t all fit neatly into perfect sizes, we come in all shapes and sizes. Knowing your body type is as important as knowing your size, you might be over 6 foot tall but that doesn’t mean you’ll wear a large jersey if you’re also as skinny as a rake. The most important factor in all of this is activity type. Cycling, on the whole, is a sport that benefits from a number of technical attributes as far as clothing is concerned; aerodynamics, temperature regulation, comfort, support and – practically speaking – storage. People rarely make mistakes choosing bib-shorts, but jerseys, gillets and jackets seem to throw up numerous examples of erratic size selection. These garments are designed to offer the best performance in each of the technical aspects mentioned, but they can only do this when they fit!

You can trust us to look after the technical side of things, we’ll give you somewhere to store your ride food, we’ll make the zips work and we’ll give you numerous options for aesthetics on top. But we’re fighting a tide that cannot be stopped if you decide an XXL jacket will probably be ok by the time i’ve loaded my size small jersey pockets up. It won’t be. It’ll be massive sail in a tailwind (hurray) and a leg sapping windbreak when you turn around to come home. And you’ll look like a complete and utter spanner when you stop for coffee. Trust us. No one looks good in a top that fits like dress.

At Chapeau we offer a range of jerseys that cater for your fit preferences, from a relaxed Café jersey to a super aero Étape jersey. If, for example, you feel more comfortable when your jersey doesn’t wrap around you like cling film to a flapjack but you still want a slim, aerodynamic fit then you’d choose a Club jersey. You’d buy that in your correct size, there’s no need to size up or size down. But that’s not say that sizing up or down is wrong, provided you know what fit you want. It’s about size expectation versus fit. I like a very tight fitting jersey and I am tall and skinny — I wear a medium Étape jersey but a small Club. The medium Club fits me just fine, but I just prefer it tighter around the middle. I choose the size based as much on expectation of fit as on my clothes size.

This isn’t supposed to be a complicated procedure, and we would hate for it to be so. Which is why we’ve taken the time to photograph our kit on a model in both the men’s and women’s range. For each product you can click on the size guide for full, flat measurements of every size and also see a real live person wearing the kit. We’ve shared the models’ measurements too, so you can compare to your own. We hope you’ll find this useful, it’s really worth taking the time to consider both your size and your fit expectation when choosing a garment. But don’t forget that we also offer free returns for UK residents, so feel free to try and change your mind about the size.

We’re here to help, so don’t be shy in dropping us a line for advice.