A while ago (it was a few months ago, which I’m embarrassed to admit, but which I’m admitting anyway), I emailed the people at Oiselle were kind enough to send me an apparel item to review: a long-sleeved cotton/poly blend tee with an Eiffel Tower design on it. When it arrived, I had no idea that it would very shortly become my favorite cool-to-cold-weather clothing item. After all, it’s a pretty simple shirt. Clearly, though, sometimes simple is best.
I’m pretty open about how much I love smaller, independent women’s fitness apparel companies, and Oiselle definitely falls into that category. Based in Oregon, the company has been around for several years and made a big splash last year with the release of their set of rundies–day-of-the-week underwear with a running theme. They support female athletes of varying levels of ability, and have an all-around fun approach to running and fitness that kind of reminds me of the LUNA philosophy: get out and do something you love. Their name is cool, too, a play on the French word for bird, “oiseau”. The thing about the French word is that regardless of whether you’re talking about a male or female bird, the noun itself is always masculine. By removing the -eau suffix and replacing it with an -elle, Oiselle has left a feminine mark in a space where it didn’t previously exist; I really like the way that this symbolically represents the impact women are having on running, a sport that only really opened up to them a very short time ago. Maybe the best thing about them, though, is that their apparel is made with women in mind and, as a result, this is not a case where you’ll end up with an item that has been subjected to the “shrink it and pink it” approach. I love that!
But back to this shirt. There are so many things about it that I like that I’m not even sure where to start. For one thing, the material is super soft and is light enough that it could work as a single layer for a run on a cool day (late fall, early spring); I wear it every week, and there’s been no sign of it being altered by frequent washing; it has generously long sleeves and hits me below the hips, which I adore; it has a really flattering, slim shape that doesn’t wear out or stretch over the course of the day; and it’s somewhat fitted, but also loose and comfortable at the same time. I don’t have any other shirts that manage to do everything this one does. And to top it all off, it has a cool design. It’s a perfect shirt for me, pulling together two things that are big parts of my life: running, and studying French. The day this shirt arrived in the mail marked the beginning of a love affair that I hope will last a long time.
Oiselle makes an effort to support other small companies, so along with my shirt I received some nuun tablets (another one of my favorite running-related things)! They’re also hosting a giveaway right now for a “mystery” item, so if you want to try Oiselle for yourself, you might want to hop on over to their website (or Facebook page) to find out more (and to understand why this sentence is punny).
This shirt is the first Oiselle item I’ve owned, but it won’t be the last. They’ve pulled together quality, style, and performance and I’m hooked. I also want to hear about similar companies you’ve had good experiences with–there aren’t enough smaller women-run and women-focused apparel companies out there!
*In the spirit of full disclosure: Oiselle sent me this shirt for free, but the opinions I’ve expressed here are entirely my own. I really do like the shirt this much. I know it might be a little silly to be so excited about a shirt, but I guess the simple pleasures in life are the best ones, right?