4th May 2016
The great clothing conspiracy is a thing. Particularly in cycling circles. And triathlon. Because from my extensive *hiccough* research (yes, OK, I have done some vague googling), triathlon clothing and cycling kit is all made by the same handful of manufacturers. And they are all making women’s kit in sizes that Barbie would be hard pressed to squeeze into! This is size-ist and I’m not happy.
I’d been looking online because:
So I’d hit up their sizing charts, dug out my trusty tape measure and nearly fell off my chair.
According to Mamamia’s Facebook page (so actual, undeniable #fact), the average Aussie woman wears a dress size 16. Which means, (and I say this for those that are as mathematically challenged as I am), half the female population is size 16 or MORE THAN a size 16.
And it’s down to kids. And wine. Because of kids.
It’s not just the cost to your wallet; it’s the cost to your waistline. Because here’s the thing they keep secret about wine: it has calories! NO SERIOUSLY, IT DOES! Outrageous, but actual truth…
This is a random sample of my photo storage, when I typed in “wine”…
And if you’re wondering why sparkling wine seems to pop up (excuse the pun – no don’t excuse it, it’s awesome) frequently, it’s because every day I am not in jail for murder, is another day to celebrate… Three teenagers in the house… THREE…
Plus, whilst chocolate and cheese and ice-cream and chocolate are still in this world, my waist is not going to be tiny.
I wear a dress size 12 (on a good day, if I pull my tummy in, have good undergarments, the stars align and buy from the right shop) or more probably a size 14.
But according to my friends-the-cycle-kit-manufacturers and their heinous size charts, that makes me a large to an extra large. And they don’t go beyond XL.
I actually braved real shops to try and get a cycle top. There were 2 left in sizes I could get over my right shoulder and left boob simultaneously, without fear of hearing the dreaded R-I-I-I-P-P-P. (I bought a large). (Oh, and I haven’t broken the news of this latest purchase to the Grumpster, yet, so lets just keep it between us).
After that, you’re into men’s sizes. Because, as we all know, if a woman carries a little extra weight, her body shape IMMEDIATELY starts resembling that of a man’s… Look around you, you’ll see it’s a #fact.
All those people and I bet you can’t quite work out if they’re male or female, because they look sssoooo similar….
How we’re all avoiding insulting strangers and getting through life without a labelling system – I AM A MAN/WOMAN* (*delete as applicable) – I don’t know.
Oh, that’s right. Because that isn’t how it works.
So, why then, do cycling kit manufacturers seem to think it’s a thing? Why, if you wear more than a dress size 14-16, will you suddenly be more comfortable in men’s cycling gear? Because surely that’s why we’re being charged about $150 or more for a cycle jersey – to be comfortable? Or are we just paying for the privilege of being an advertising hoarding?
Actually, I think I have identified the problem, and I might owe people an apology.
It comes down to market research.
And there is the snag.
Because I think they’ve done ALL of it inside my head.
Inside my head, it says that you join a triathlon club and IMMEDIATELY drop 2 dress sizes. Minimum.
I can’t find anywhere on Facebook to confirm this #FACT, but isn’t that how it works?
It’s been 2 weeks now nearly, and I’m still waiting…. I guess it will be tomorrow morning, when I wake up, that the magic will have happened? On my 2 week anniversary of being a triathlete!
So, why is the average woman not allowed to be comfortable in her kit? Is there just not enough demand for larger sizes? Are 50% of the nation’s women sitting on the sofa with no interest in getting involved in cycling or triathlon? Just content to be inactive?
I don’t think so!
They might be too intimidated because all the signalling coming from the clothing suppliers says “you’re not catered for here, so go back to that sofa you just got off, maybe console yourself with a big bar of chocolate, and DON’T COME BACK”. Somewhat short-sighted as that’s 50% of the female market you’re locking out from accessing your products.
A shame, too, as health statistics say people need to be more active. And from what I’ve seen so far, cycling and triathlon are pretty good fun ways to do that.
Also, triathlon is the answer to the nation’s health problems. Let’s face it, if you do 3 sports that means you get fit 3 times as quickly and lose 2 dress sizes the moment you join a club. Or within 2 weeks (absolute max).
(Those might be more factoids that only live inside my head, RIGHT NOW, but I feel if I say them out loud often enough, they might get picked up by Mammamia and immediately become #FACT).
So, if you are having trouble finding kit to fit, I suggest you take a look in a couple of places.
My cycle shorts, as shown above, are from SkirtSports and are only a medium. It doesn’t make them any more comfortable than they already are knowing that they are a medium, but it certainly feels much less insulting. (They also do cycle jerseys and tri tops and shorts, which I haven’t tried, but all the running gear I have from them is top notch).
The other place I know of is via SwimBikeSell. Meredith still doesn’t seem to know I exist, but I’m sure that after I plug her website AGAIN, she’s on the brink of becoming my new best friend… As someone who has struggled with finding kit for a larger frame, she’s got her own brand. Or something like that. Anyway, she flogs ladies triathlon wear in sizes that will fit. (But you will get stung for postage, as she’s in the USA).
My little foray into the world of tri hasn’t thrown up any Aussie equivalents that have a wider range of sizes, but if you are more informed than me, please add them in the comments.
And if you’re an Aussie supplier, COME ON!!! Sort your sizing. Because we’re not all the size of Barbie. Yet…