The first item I wore from Oiselle, a brand founded by women, for women, was a sports bra. Three sports bras, actually—I overhauled my underwear drawer for Oiselle. I’m not particularly picky when it comes to sports bras—I don’t need to be—but as soon as I slipped one of theirs on, I knew there was no going back. The fit was perfect, the bras were cut for mobility and comfort while offering ample support, and they were cute, to boot. So many sports bras are unflattering, uncomfortable, or just not notable for any reason. Every Oiselle bra I own—the Lesko, the Verrazano, and the Bae bra—is so awesome I’m regularly flashing friends to try and convince them to get on the Oiselle program.
There are plenty of brands making activewear—specifically running clothing—for women. There are also infinite ways to mess up, say, a pair of leggings, or a sports bra, or running shorts. Women’s bodies are wildly different, and moving freely in comfortable clothing that stays where it should and moves when it must is a small form of bliss after years of chafing, too-tight shorts, and leggings that slip and slide down your hips while you run.
Oiselle hit the market in 2007, with the mission to create, according to them, “the first ever non-poofy, smooth-waisted, well-constructed women’s running shorts.” As someone who ran my way through puberty, growth spurts, and into adulthood, I can attest to the fact that finding a solid pair of running shorts is akin to finding, well, a unicorn. So when I slipped on the New Distance Shorts, a breezily lightweight running short with wide leg openings for movement (and for athletic thighs), a flattering wide waistband, and ample pocket space for keys, I was over the moon.
The thing is, every piece of clothing I’ve ever tried from Oiselle has me hooked, wearing and re-wearing until my next laundry day: their sports bras, their shorts, their crazy-smooth Spandos leggings, a super-flattering pair of high-rise running leggings that have taken me from the trail to the climbing wall and my yoga mat. My latest obsession is the Mile One Pullover, an (admittedly expensive, at $78) pullover cut perfectly for layering. Made of a cozy, super stretchy blend, it’s my favorite layer to wear hiking or on a cold run. With a wide, cropped fit and a mockneck, it’s easy to toss over t-shirts and tanks, and extra-long sleeves help keep hands cozy in cool weather.
Call me superficial, but beyond the impeccable fit and thoughtful design, the thread that runs through everything I own from Oiselle is that it looks damn good. So much women’s outdoor and active wear is designed in keeping with quickly-changing athleisure trends (read: bright colors, crazy strappy bras and cutout leggings), and Oiselle’s clothing feels classic and muted while still looking cool.
Photos by Maggie Kaiserman