At the end of the summer we reviewed a full-line up of lightweight and three-season merino clothing for men from Isadore apparel. During a good bit of the same time that we were testing the full men’s line-up, and extending a bit more into autumn, we also had a couple of their women’s specific merino jerseys on test as well. While their women’s line doesn’t go quite as deep in the way of quality shorts and lightweight fabrics, their standard merino tops offer a good range of classic looks and subdued colors if you are careful with their fit. Besides being Made-in-Slovakia, Isadore offers clean, simple designs, with plenty of short and long sleeve merino offerings. Join us after the break for a closer look…
Together two of our European female testers offer good broad range of positions on jerseys. One doesn’t like any synthetics touching her skin, isn’t interested in super tight fits, and doesn’t get cold very easily. While the other is always cold but will ride in any jersey that she likes the look and fit of. With these two jerseys they both found something they liked by swapping a bit back and forth.
The design of the 120€ Asymmetric Jersey in red/white seemed like a nice idea from the start, with a striking image from the front accentuated a bit more by a woman’s figure than the men’s version. But in the end the long, loose fit was not very flattering, as it bunched up a bit on the bike and then the white fabric would tend to exaggerate imperfections, especially when seen from the right side. When looking from the red side on the other hand, it looks good. But it is quite odd to have such different impressions depending on which side someone sees you from.
The Asymmetric Jersey is really cut quite a bit longer than most women’s jerseys, while our S jersey had a comfortable relaxed fit, after a bit of riding its fabric gradually would slide up and accumulate above the waist. Our first tester felt the fit was too loose (she is in the middle of Isadore’s XS fit range for chest and M range for hips) and detracted from her overall impression of the jersey, but even with a size smaller jersey was afraid of the asymmetric design, at least with one part being white. Our second tester, who was right on the border between S/M sizing, felt much more comfortable with the jersey, but still had bunching issues around her waist. From their impressions, they would both base sizing on the chest and size down if on the border.
The fabric of the Asymmetric Jersey is an exceptionally soft-to-the-touch merino. It has a fairly heavy feel, maybe more so than its ~170g/m2 fabric would suggest, and wicks surprisingly well in temperatures up around 20°C. The jersey has three well-sized rear pockets with one zippered pocket that is not easy to reach when riding, as its zipper is next to the edge of the main pocket and gets easily mixed-up.
The 110€ blue Peace Jersey takes inspiration from the design of the leader’s jersey of the Peace Race, a major post-war amateur stage race across the Central European countries that were stuck behind the Iron Curtain. Again in a size S, our first tester was completely satisfied with what would have to be described as a much more slim-cut fit. The sizing guide uses the same measurements, but with a shorter body and side panels the Peace jersey feels a size smaller and a better overall fit (while our tester could have still sized down, with chest size again being the dominant fit measurement.)
Our tester has spent a good bit of time with the jersey, both on its own in summer temps and into the fall with a heavier baselayer. It seems to use the same fabric as the Asymmetric, for a soft feel and a wide functional temperature range. It features a short zipper, which was a bit of trouble paired with bibs for roadside nature breaks. The rear hem gets a sticky silicone tape that worked fairly well to keep the back in place, but did get a bit overwhelmed when the large, stretchy pockets were stuffed full for all day adventures. It gets the same 3+1 rear pockets, and the zippered pocket is in the same problematic spot. Plus its small opening isn’t big enough for even an older iPhone4/S, but just but enough for ID or keys that you don’t want to take out when riding.
Isadore also produce a set of women’s shorts (no bibs), and while the cut seemed fine, the design and placement of the chamois did not work with either of our testers who tried them. Pads in women’s shorts are not as easy to solve to suit all riders, and these certainly left our testers wanting. That being said, we’ve recently learned that Isadore is working with some new women to help redesign and optimize their shorts/bib offerings for women, so while we wouldn’t recommend their shorts now, we look forward to trying out the new version when they are available, hopefully by the spring.