Small Victories

//Super awesome update: I wrote to Novara about how awesome they are, and in less than a day heard back from the Product Line Manager, Cyndi! Here's some of what she had to say in her e-mail (used with her permission):

"This collection was conceptualized back in October 2011 – yes, that’s how long it takes to bring new product to market. The buyer, designer, and I (all women) collaborated to put the collection together, then the designer worked her magic to bring it to life. Our developer (another woman) like the rest of us is a cyclist. We all wore the samples as much as we could to make sure they fit and were comfortable."

"We are doing a full length jean for women for fall. Look for it around August.
We are also adding a car coat length quilted (primaloft) jacket in red and long sleeved plaid shirts that like the short sleeved version have a reflective thread woven into the plaid design. We’ve just finished our spring 2014 line and are well into fall 2014 development. I can’t talk about what’s coming yet, but stay tuned as we’ve got more fun styles on the way!!!"

Cyndi, thanks for being awesome and for being kind enough to write back to me! I'm excited for what exciting things are to come (through 2014, I might add) and will be checking back for cool new designs and the fall and winter gear in August.

//Update End

I've bitched a lot about the lack of women's clothing for commuting.  It's a subject that will send me into a crazy feminist rage way moreso than any sandwich comments, kitchen jokes, or 1950s housewife similes.  Today, however, I have good news for my fellow commuters.
A friend of mine last week showed up to dinner wearing women's commuter jeans.  No, they weren't men's jeans.  No, they weren't overly custesy and lacking functionality.  And no, she didn't have to travel to the ends of the earth and collect the tears of orphans to get them.  Intrigued, I went to the source: REI.

As it turns out, REI's Novara brand has launched commuter lines for men and women alike.  But the best part - the very best part - they are 100% equal.  Men have nice commuter shorts made for them, and so do women.  Jeans?  Got 'em.  Jacket?  Yep.  Nifty t-shirts?  You bet.  In fact, everything offered for men was also offered for women, and with just as much style and functionality.  That's right ladies - no more ultra cutesy jeans that sacrifice function - these clothes are built for commuting.  You can't see it, but I'm doing a victory dance.  

I would personally like to thank the person who realized women also ride bikes.
Everything is available online, but still I recommend going to your local REI and reveling in the fact that the men's and women's rack look identical - though I was informed by Novara that some stores don't have it available yet, so call first.  If you can't get it locally, I can let you know that things run pretty true to size.  Don't be fooled though - the clothes are definitely made for women and not just rebranded as "women's."  Usually I have to go up a size to get jeans that fit my legs, but the shorts and jeans I tried on were perfectly made for my 20-mile-a-day thighs.  And well made, too!  Reflective bits and pinstriping, quality fabric, U-Lock holders, a bit of a liner that doesn't make you look like you're wearing Depends, and a higher rise on the back so the rest of the world doesn't see The Eye of Mordor make these a must have.  

It's the little things.
Though I fell in love with just about all of the clothing, I settled on two pairs of shorts to get me through the inevitably wicked summer, but I do plan to go back for the jeans when California stops spitting out 100+ degree days for the year.  The shorts themselves are also work friendly - they can convert from cargo or Bermuda style to a shorter inseam, but worn either way are long enough to not be considered offensive by people who have nothing better to do with their lives than to judge everyone else.  Also, they're pretty flattering.  Pretty much the best of all words here.  

A reflective Novara logo on the dressier capri style commuter pants.  These were not only well made, but classy looking enough for a semi formal workplace or gathering. 
The t-shirts had some nice designs as well, and were printed on quality shirt bases (is that a thing?) with good inks/silkscreening/whatevers.  Here are a few of the offered designs for women, with a similar or same design offered also for men.  Really, the only non-equal thing was that there is a skirt/skort option for women, and a long sleeved overshirt for men, which is pretty unisex anyway and has the nifty reflective pin striping and I want one.  
A real road bike, not a "cutesy girl bike." Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it's refreshing to see this!
One of my favorites.  I love the derailleur!
My plan is to wear the crap out of the shorts I got and do a formal review, but don't wait for my opinion - ladies, if you need commuter clothes, go check them out for yourselves!  And gentlemen, I recommend you do the same.  

On that note, Happy Mothers Day!

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