March is one of those months that can really bite you in the ass. One minute, it’s 60 degrees and sunny and you head out the door for a jog singing like a bluebird, the next minute a freak springtime weather front moves in and you spend the next half of your rain-soaked run cursing like a sailor. It’s these moments when what you wear and accessorize with can make or break your training day.
Oiselle (pronounced wa-zell) is a Seattle-based women’s running apparel company that was started in 2007 by Sally Bergesen. The word “Oiselle” is French for bird, and for Bergesen and the rest of the Oiselle team (who counts two-time 5K national champion among it’s talented elite members), the word signifies the strength and freedom that can come from running and fitness.
Oiselle’s apparel line offers everything from sassy-printed “randies” and arm warmers to plush jackets, vests and cold-weather running tights. They put a strong emphasis on fit and texture while spicing up the line with creative prints and bright colors.
I put together a spring-themed running outfit that would keep me both warm and stylish on the Bend, Ore., trails. Here’s how it broke down:
The Flyte short-sleeve running top is one of those fitness wardrobe staples that you want to buy in every color (it comes in grey, orange and green). It’s soft, seamless and perfect to layer under warmer layers during a cold morning jog or even to wear on its own if the weather heats up. The nylon/polyester blend is incredibly wicking, so much so that even after a 10-miler my armpits were still dry (no joke—this is a monumental triumph for me). It’s not too tight, but contours a woman’s body just enough to make you feel confident wearing it outside the gym without feeling “grubby.” I went with the day-glow green (they call it fresh green), and beware that it is bright, but I prefer to wear bright colors on early morning/late evening runs and this one does the job of keeping you seen.
Arm warmers are the perfect answer to those “Am I going to be too cold if I wear a short-sleeve shirt?” pre-running dilemmas. If they fit right (too short arm warmers are nothing short of comical) and are made of plush material, then you can avoid looking like some sort of off-duty super hero running down Main Street too. Oiselle’s Lux arm warmers are made of a slightly thicker polyester/spandex blend than that of the Flyte top, and they come in the same three colors (grey, orange and green) with a Heather print. My favorite thing about these arm warmers are the thumbholes, which actually do make a difference when you head out the door in chilly conditions. The thermometer read 37 degrees F when I headed out on my run, and for those first 10 minutes I needed all the extra coverage I could get. By about mile 5, it had already climbed to 50 degrees F and the arm warmers were peeled off and I could comfortably rock a short-sleeve for the rest of my run. Way better than pushing up sleeves or taking off a jacket and tying it around your waist for five miles. Is there a jacket in existence that actually stays in place when you do that?
I will admit that the number one reason I picked out these tights was when I read “booty-shaping arched seam” in the description. Is that bad? Whatever. The Lesley running tight is actually a full-length version of Oiselle’s Lesley Knicker (shown above), with some added fleece warmth along the interior. The fabric, a supplex nylon and spandex blend, is tight enough to offer some minor compression benefits, while still offering an incredibly flattering fit for all different body shapes. And the “booty-shaping arched seam?” Well, let’s just say these are officially my husband’s favorite pair of running tights. It may just be an optical illusion, but I’ll take it. There is a zip storage pocket, which, although rather small, will easily fit money, keys and even a gel. The light fleece lining was enough to keep the chill out during the first half of my run, and I would recommend these pants as a good running option for 20 to 45 degree weather and a good walking option for 35-55 degree weather.