How to Buy A Jersey That Fits
The Difference Between a Men's and Women's JerseyNot long ago, many manufactures took a men's jersey, sized it down one size, produced it in a pastel pink, and called it a "women's jersey". Women's specific apparel has come a long way since then. Women's jerseys are now cut to fit a "women's" body. In general, women have a much shorter torso than men requiring a shorter jersey length. In order for the jersey to fit without billowing, a women's jersey needs to be cut to accommodate the fullness of a woman's breasts, taper in at the waist, and then flair out a bit to accommodate broader hips. To achieve this curvaceous effect, you usually see that the women's jersey has more pieces than the typical men's cut jersey (usually just a front and back) or; a women's jersey will be made of a fabric that has some stretch, or "give" to accommodate a women's curvier body type.
FabricMost cycling jerseys, even the one's that look and feel like cotton, are made of polyester or a polyester blend so that they have the ability to wick moisture and breath. Although cotton breathes well, it retains moisture and will get heavy with sweat. For that same reason, wearing a cotton undergarment as a base layer under a cycling jersey totally negates the function of jersey. If you need an under garment, wear a polyester t-shirt or other technical layering piece.
More Info on Base Layers click here!
Zipper LengthZipper lengths can vary from 5" to "full length" The purpose of the front zipper is to allow the rider to adjust ventilation by raising and lowering the zipper. Women can now wear a coordinating sport bra under their jerseys and ventilate just like the guys!
Elastic HemsThe technical reason for elastic hems is to keep the jersey from billowing in the wind. If you are not concerned with wind resistance try the more "relaxed fit" jerseys in cotton blended polyesters that most manufacturers sell as "Mountain Bike", or "Off-Road Apparel". Many do not have elastic in the sleeves or body of the jersey.
Traditional European racing jerseys have three pockets across the back. With the advent of off road riding, many jerseys now have zipper pockets to secure valuable such as wallets, keys and cell phones- a very important feature if you are riding off-road where losing keys or a cell phone could cause an extreme hardship.
Jersey sizing and fit are the most difficult issue to consider in selecting a jersey. Jersey size and fit vary from company to company so it is important to really check the fit of a particular companies jersey before ordering. If you are buying for a team or club, make sure to request a "fit kit" so that everyone on the team can try on a sample and determine their correct size before ordering. For more information on ordering team and club apparel, click here.
There are two styles of jerseys on the market these days... the traditional "European" cut racing jersey, and the more "relaxed fit" or "club style" American jersey. As the number of recreational riders has increased, manufacturers have developed jersey cuts that fit the average american male. This means a larger chest circumference, larger sleeve circumference, and a looser more comfortable fit through the belly area. "Eurpoean" cut cycling jerseys on average run two sizes smaller that their American counterpart... the "Relaxed fit" or "Club Fit" style jersey. That means that a size medium in a "European" cut may fit like an X-small in a "Relaxed Fit". The best way to determine how the jersey fits is to ask for the chest and neck measurements on the garment just as you would if you were buying a dress shirt in a department store. Most companies now supply detailed "size and fit charts" on their web site. Take the time to check the fit of a company's jersey before making a purchase via mail order or over the internet. It will save you time and extra shipping charges.