Saturday, March 5, 2011

Chrome Vanya Knickers Give-Away

Chrome has sent me a sample of their ladies' Vanya knickers, which unfortunately do not fit me. But my loss could be your gain: If you are a lady with a figure that is less... bottom-heavy than mine, these knickers could be yours. Retail price is $120 and they are made in the USA. Keep reading for my impressions, including sizing and fit.

The Chrome Vanya knickers look like classic capri style 3/4 length pants, with subtle cargo elements. The "blue steel" colour is a pleasant slate gray (that happens to match my curtains), and they are also available in black. The construction is tailored to facilitate movement (lots of darts and curves), with a gusset at the crotch.

The fabric is nylon and spandex. While I can't wear polyester at all, I am fine with nylon/spandex blends against my skin - though I still prefer wool. For comparison, the Rivendell MUSA knickers reviewed earlier are also made of nylon. The Chrome knickers are considerably less shiny and more tailored than those, with heavier fabric.

There are front and rear pockets, including a zipped up cargo pocket

and what looks like a mobile phone compartment.

The stitching is nicely done throughout in a matching thread colour.

Strong button and zip fly closure, again with really nice stitching. Wide belt loops.

The gusset is heart shaped. Don't worry - it's not nearly this noticeable in person; I intentionally unfolded the knickers to show it off.

I was surprised to discovered that on the inside, the gusset is made of a soft, thick, fleecy fabric that gives it a slightly padded feel. There is no information as to what this fabric is, but it feels like synthetic fleece and makes me wonder what these knickers are like to wear in the summer: Won't having a layer of fleece between crotch and saddle cause overheating?

Otherwise, the Chrome Vanya knickers look great, and my only other caveat is the fit. I can't tell you how they look or feel when worn, because I haven't been able to try them on. I asked for a size Small and thought I'd be safe, as my waist measures several inches smaller than what is on their sizing chart for a size Small (I just re-measured to make sure - yup, way smaller). And yet I can't pull the knickers up past my hips. I would say that these knickers will fit you if you are a US size 4 with narrow hips, but not if you have wide hips or a generous behind. I am a size 4 according to Gap and J. Crew with some room to spare, but the Vanyas in size Small don't fit.

So... please use your judgment, and if you think these will fit you, you are welcome to take part in the give-away. To participate, simply leave a comment on this post with "I want them!" and your contact info, and I will select the recipient at random. I also ask that, after receiving the knickers, the recipient follows up with some feedback about them - be it positive or negative (I am especially curious about the fit and the fleecy gusset). I will be accepting entries until Sunday night 11:59pm Eastern Standard time and will announce the recipient on Monday.

Oh and don't worry about me: I'll just cry myself to sleep chanting "I'm not fat, I'm just differently proportioned. Not fat. Different..." Thanks for reading Lovely Bicycle and enjoy your weekend!

60 comments:

  1. I by no means can fit in these, especially if you cannot. This size chart is insane: no hip measurement, but a thigh measurement? And a 32" waist size for a small? That in theory would fit my 6-8 as sized by Gap, Inc. body. Tres bizarre! This is definitely a size chart geared for the male physique. Or perhaps the waist size is really meant to measure somewhere near the hips? I may be helpful if you should measure the garment (especially in the hip dimension) and post those for the hopeful candidates. That should help them gauge whether or not it would fit them.

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  2. Please include your contact info if you'd like to take part in the give-away!

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  3. Amanda - I know. In theory, my waist is smaller than their stated XS measurement, which is why I thought I'd be safe with a S. Maybe I'm just really unusually proportioned : ((

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  4. I want them!!! I've been eyeing these suckers for a while now but how been to cowardly to pull the trigger and buy them. I am a size 4 with narrow hips so they sound like they might be just the ticket. I'd be thrilled to wear and share the review with you as well as post on my blog. My e-mail is thisgirlsbike@me.com.

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  5. I don't want them, but just wanted to say: you know it's a good post when you get to say something like "I'm especially curious about the fleecy gusset." :)

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  6. I wrote a lovely long comment and blogger had a hiccup and erased it. BOOOOO.

    But suffice to say: I want them!

    And for reference, in case my measurements are close to yours and there's no way they'll fit: I have a 29 inch waist measured at the narrowest part, and 37 inch hips measured at the widest part (including my butt).

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  7. Oh, and: my email is alder dot tree at gmail dot com

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  8. i want them!

    also i second Amanda's suggestion to measure the garment itself for hip dimension, inseam and the rise (crotch to waistband).

    cecile(dot)inbox(at)gmail(dot)com

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  9. It's not as simple as measuring the hips, waist and rise. It's about how wide the waist can open up when the pants are unzipped in order to pull on over the hips. And that's more complicated than just the rise - it's more about the openable length of the zipper and how that area is tailored.

    So for instance, the actual waistband looks like it's 32.5" (hard to measure exactly, as it is curved), but the distance from where the opening of the zipper starts to the waistband is only about 4.5". That means that the maximum you'll have to work with when the pants are unzipped and you're trying to pull them on is 37". Even if I round up, it'll be 38" max. The hip area in itself measures 42", but that isn't much help since you'll need to get yourself through the waistband first. Hope that makes sense!

    PS: I am 28.5 x 38.5" at the moment.

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  10. They might fit me (snugly) - but I'm assuming it's US only for the postage?

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  11. townmouse - Nope, it's worldwide, as long as you're okay with 1st class postage and your country of residence has a reliable postal system.

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  12. It is most certainly a "I want them". They would be a perfect fit for me and I am just getting into cycling again after having a baby (Matilda). My husband has his wool jerseys (Cinzano and Molteni) for his cyclcross bike and his Keirin (Panasonic) bike so it would be nice to show him up in something not only flattering but also sensible. Matild and I get around on our Gary Fisher Simple City 3 (Shimano Nexus 3 sp internal geared hub, fenders etc).

    Big fan of your site. Lovely photos, most inspiring indeed.

    All the best and cheers

    Lilly and Matilda
    Australia (we have a first class postal system and happy to pay for postage if we are lucky!)

    lillyandkeir@bigpond.com

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  13. I want them! It's so hard to find the appropriate attire sometimes!

    My email is: estherchasya@yahoo.com

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  14. This would have been an "I WANT ONE", but I already have a pair and should let other people have a chance to try this amazing product!

    I have ridden in everything from skinny jeans, to legging, to cycling shorts, and I thought the Vanya knickers hit the sweet spot between function and looks.

    The material is heavy and durable enough to take the abuse of everyday riding. Yet, it is also stretchy enough to allow for the full range of the pedalling motion. On a 70-km ride, I thought the felt/fleece padding near the crotch did not make that big of a difference during the ride, but I don't mind it being there as it did not chaffe or cause discomfort.

    I would describe the look of these as sporty chic. The slate grey colour is a great understated, easy-to-match tone of a bottom. I would not hesistate wearing these on a lunch date, but these (unlike wool knickers) are probably not formal enough for a work setting.

    Most importantly, I find the fit of these knickers quite flattering for my body. I'm a US size 6 and I got the SMALL Vanya knickers as well. The fit is quite snug (yet comfortable) around the derriere and upper thigh area. I actually like this over baggier styles. Nonetheless, because of the snug fit around the hips, I tend not to use the pockets, to avoid creating weird bulges in the slick lines of the knickers. The hem of the knickers hit right below the knee/above the calf area, which was just about right for me. The curved-V slit at the hem was a nice touch as well, and helps elongate the look of the legs.

    Overall, I like the Vanya knickers a lot and would definitely recommend them to people who are looking for something casual to cycle in.

    -Karen

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  15. I want them!! Would love to give these a shot...

    grapefruitorama@gmail.com

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  16. *Hugs* I know exactly what you mean. I am also hourglass shaped. Classically attractive but not designed to fit into modern cut clothing. I hat that "can't pull them over my hips" feeling.

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  17. Don't worry, Velouria, you are definitely normal, and not at all fat. A 28.5" waist is quite good for a women your height.

    There is a good deal of research showing that thigh/hip size is much less important than waist size as a determinant of health outcomes. In general, people with waists greater than 40 inches are at higher risk for diabetes, heart disease and other obesity complications.

    A high hip-to-waist ratio is good for health (i.e. wider hips are better): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waist-hip_ratio. And "Some researchers have found that the waist-hip ratio (WHR) is a significant measure of female attractiveness[16]. Women with a 0.7 WHR are usually rated as more attractive by men from Indo-European cultures." I agree.

    And in fact larger thighs were associated with BETTER health in this study: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/HeartDisease/thigh-size-predicts-heart-health/story?id=8492490

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  18. I want them!

    kayla(dot)gavala(at)gmail(dot)com

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  19. in that case I'd love to give them a go if only for the amusement my more childish readers would get from me writing about my knickers.

    disgruntled DOT commuter AT yahoo DOT co DOT uk

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  20. Ooo, I want them!

    whitney (at) serenityco (dot) com

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  21. My wife wants them! brandes.daniel@gmail.com

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  22. Joseph - I know, I know : ) See my musings on WTH ratio here. Still, buying trousers makes me feel like a freak of nature!

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  23. Karen - Thanks for the feedback! Good to know that they are flattering and you can wear them on a 70k ride. Also informative that you're a size 6 and they fit.

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  24. I want them, please! And thank you.
    self.abigail@gmail.com

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  25. sorry, forgot my contact info. sarahgringa [at] gmail dot com

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  26. They look awesome-I love Chrome stuff! I want them! (kolobrodova [at] gmail [dot] com)

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  27. I tried these on in both the small and XS and I thought they ran pretty true to size. I am a kind of a cartoonish hourglass with 24 waist and 36.5 hips. I usually wear a 4 or 6 in "designer" clothing and a 2 or 4 at j crew-like stores. If a buy a dress that's a-line or floaty, I'd be a 0, but my butt is big so in pants I go larger.

    I didn't buy these because they are too sporty for me but I don't think an hourglass figure should dissuade anyone . . . The rise is also really low so consider the possibility that this just won't be comfortable if you're not used to that.

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  28. Just wanted to add my comment about how great these pants are! I have them but in the M size, so I'm pretty sure these wouldn't fit. ;)

    Nevertheless, they are fantastic and casual enough to match with almost any top.

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  29. I want them, but seeing as they also come in extra-small and I'm a gap 0-petite, I don't think they'll fit. :(

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  30. I want them for sure (for my co-hab)! Thanks for the generous offer. otterbuoy@yahoo.com

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  31. neighbourtease said...
    "I tried these on in both the small and XS and I thought they ran pretty true to size. I am ...24 waist and 36.5 hips."


    But according to their chart, an XS=30 waist and a S=32 waist; with no hip measurements given. The XS size should have been huge on you judging by that chart alone.

    Which one fit you better - the XS or the S? My working theory is that you need to have hips <38" in order to fit into the S.

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  32. I want them. Er, not for me but for one of my tandem stokers and budding solo cyclist daughter. You've actually commented on a flickr photo of her.

    If they come up this way I'll be sure to have her write up a review. As well as go on lots and lots of rides with her.

    greg(dot)achtem(at)gmail(dot)com

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  33. I want them!
    But, don't know if I'm the best to test drive as I don't go on really long rides.
    mamatronic@yahoo.com

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  34. mamatronic - You don't have to go on long rides, I think they are meant mainly for commuting.

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  35. I don't want them.

    Chrome products miss the mark in some ways, mostly due to their rush to get things to market to become relevant. Ahem.

    They are local to me; I've been in their store multiple times and I have a messenger bag and a backpack, both of which are decent but aren't quite 2011. Customer service is very good, tho. Once, when an employee asked for feedback on an item, I completely slagged on it. He actually agreed, being new, honest and not beholden.

    The pants and shorts don't function as well as they could, since they're made for barhopping really fast.

    The chamois isn't good enough for a "real" ride and just thick and diapery enough to give that incontinent look.

    The large red griffin or whatever logo they put on clothes is obnoxious. I see they've merely replace that with a large font "Chrome" on some pieces. Must have been too subtle, I guess.

    I'm skinny with a rouleur ass, but think their pants are meant for meth-head hipsters with the hips of pre-bovine growth horomone adolescents.

    But that's just me.

    Jim

    Jim

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  36. Tell us how you really feel Jim :)

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  37. I'd really like to MDI, but I'm feeling a little blocked...

    Jim

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  38. Jim - I agree that their branding is aggressive. They need to rethink the very prominent red griffin IMO, because I think the products are good but many are embarrassed to wear them. I myself would not without taking a black sharpie to the griffin.

    As for the other stuff, from what I've seen I think their quality is good. I wish they made panniers and not just messenger bags and I wish their shoes were less heavy on the griffins and read stripes. The merino wool hoodie I have is excellent and there is only one relatively small griffin to sharpie out.

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  39. There may be a better black ink pen out there than sharpie. I don't like how Sharpie turns the yellow Nikon strap branding purple, for example. It will probably do the same to the griffin.

    Any black-out experts out there? :)

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  40. V, the image consultant for Chrome reports panniers are for wimps, definitely not for hardcore messenger wannabees.

    "One doesn't alleycat with a rear rack, man."

    Jim

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  41. Jim - That may very well have been the case in the beginning, but it seems to me that Chrome is now very clearly looking to expand their target market. And besides - all the cool kids are rocking racks with panniers on their artisanal bikes nowadays, time to get with the program!

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  42. I think it's more the case that the cool kids who bought Chrome messenger bags in 2004 have inherited enough back problems to see the sense in having panniers in 2011 ;)

    I will say, though, to Jim's point ... it -is- a pain in the ass to go barhopping with a pair of panniers. Though some messenger bags aren't any better and can be equally tough to fit underneath a bar stool (ie. my PAC Ultimate, the Chrome Metropolis). My preferred bike luggage for a night out is a Carradice saddlebag, and it'd be amazing if Chrome or Ortlieb were to come up with some kind of quick-release equipped transverse saddlebag with internal support that would allow it to be mounted on a bike without a rack.

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  43. I'd love to try them! I have a 27-inch waist and a pretty small butt, so it sounds like they'd fit quite well. My contact info is bronwyn(dot)beck(at)gmail(dot)com.

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  44. cris - I've seen a few saddlebag quick release systems, which, combined with d-hooks and a strap on the bag itself, turn it into a convertible shoulderbag. However, none of them have been elegant/convincing. What I like about Chrome messenger bags (I bought one in 2009, but soon gave it away to the Co-Habitant) is that the strap is thick and integrated into the body of the bag. I guess that whole part of the bag could fold under it and be clipped in place while the bag is in "saddlebag" mode - but it would be a challenge to design.

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  45. We wants them, precious!

    bazyksd@gmail.com

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  46. I'd like them! flyingtoneverland (at) gmail (dot) com.

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  47. non-sharpie tips for getting rid of logos: synthetic-specific fabric dye (rit?), gaffer's tape and of course the crazy-conspicuous-in-its-attempt-to-avoid-just-that-yet-always-charming duct tape.

    Velouria, both sizes fit me but the small gapped at the waist so I would have probably chosen the XS were they my kind of thing. The size chart is a cipher. It seems to draw from men's clothing, yet doesn't exactly correspond to that, either. I didn't see their chart before I tried them on so I just chose normally. I guess they measured how many inches around one's "waist" there are at the point on the body where their pants hit -- with a 4.5 inch rise, I'm guessing most women would not call that a "waist." This photo of a girl (in the medium) is kind of useful to demonstrate what they might be thinking in how they describe "waist." http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kU86p0PNe6I/TC5RnrHqFZI/AAAAAAAAANM/IEZ-asM98Zk/s1600/DSC_3688.JPG

    I don't think their sizing is actually off, though, just their chart, based on my own hip measurement according to this handy US size chart http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/US_standard_clothing_size

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  48. ooh. I was so excited to see this post (however late) because I was to complain about their unusual sizes too!
    (Well unusual for me)

    My sister purchased an M, which with their sizing chart should have been plenty large, but heard a rumor they ran small. We're in OZ so its all internet.
    When they arrive, she can't even pull them on. Offers them to me, and I'm excited. I think I'd be a near on match on numbers for size with you Velouria so I thought I'd be swimming. But maybe in a relaxed practical way.
    Nope.
    I think I'm fairly in proportion, it wasn't about getting them on in an M, but v snug across the upper thighs (they're my riding muscles!)but really loose at the waist. Resulting in strange crotch bulge. Not nice. Sigh.
    I would consider their cut to run v small and that you need the skinny leg and hip combo.
    AND therefore that even with the right size they won't suit everyone.
    Damn shame.
    Thanks for a chance to rant about this one, cycling clothes that don't look like cycling clothes shouldn't be so hard.

    yvette

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  49. neighbourtease - Wow! Thanks for the link, that picture explains it all. So by "waist" they mean half way between the actual waist and the fullest portion of the hips. No wonder my 38.5" bottom won't fit into the Small. In the sizing chart there is a diagram that shows the waist measurement as being at the actual, narrowest point of the waist, which is what fooled me.

    Thanks for your feedback Yvette. And FYI to all: Chrome allows for reviews directly on their site for each product. They have 6 reviews for the Vanya knickers (one additional one from a guy, so that doesn't count), one of which complains about fit.

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  50. I want them!

    These look amazing! Thanks for offering these up to your readers!

    Sara
    smcrowsnest@gmail.com

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  51. I want them!
    Mraza_us@yahoo.com

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  52. I want them! I think they would fit me. janet_l_moore(at)yahoo.com

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  53. Thanks everyone for taking part. The give-away is now closed and I have the following participants:

    .........
    sarahgringa
    dreamlet
    aprillikesbikes
    Cecile
    townmouse
    Lilly
    Esther Chasya
    Xue
    idony
    Daniel
    Abigail
    Anastasia
    otterbuoy
    greg
    mamatronic
    Bronwyn
    Shaina
    flyingtoneverland
    Sara
    Mraza
    Janet
    .........

    I think I'll ask my cats to pull a name out of a hat on this one. Results some time on Monday!

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  54. you know, it strikes me that with your expertise and your eye, perhaps your skills would be put to best use designing lovely bike clothes for the 'traditionally built'. All in merino wool, of course, and designed for the woman with both a waist and hips which, last time I checked was most of us...

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  55. townmouse - Thank you for the kind words. I may be working on something like that in future : )

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  56. V,

    That Geekhouse bike was referred to by BikeExif as, "One of the most important bikes presented at the 2011 North American Handmade Bicycle Show."

    Not even Prolly, but definitively.

    Damn, and I missed it because I was riding my bike.

    Jim

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  57. Update: the recipient is dreamlet - or #2 on the list, via random.org.

    Thanks to all for taking part and I will contact dreamlet shortly!

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  58. I want them! ^___^

    elisa.marchetti1@gmail.com

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  59. So, Dreamlet, did the capris fit?

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