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Verdict: 
Flattering technical jersey available up to size 18 - definitely on my Christmas list
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Shutt VR Isobel jersey
9 10

Shutt have managed to make lycra beautiful with their women's Isobel jersey.

Generally I avoid wearing lycra as it clings to all the wrong bits and cycling sizing is a law unto itself. Shutt have taken the, er, bar by the handles, and have launched their new Isobel jersey in sizing from XS to XXL - equivalent to a size 16/18.

If, like me you are more than a size 14 or taller than 5ft 7in getting well fitting gear can be all but impossible. Testing the largest end of the scale I found that the jersey skimmed rather than stuck due to a combination of the silky soft material and the excellent cut. If you are skinny that's fine too, as the Isobel sizes down to a 26-inch waist if you so desire.

I was genuinely shocked at how happy I was to wear this jersey out in public, as lycra is generally not very forgiving to the curvy woman. With the Isobel, however, I did not need to be constantly sucking bits of me in, or pulling the fabric down as the cut was very flattering to my natural shape, both on and off the bike. Even my boyfriend was happy cycling behind me whilst I wore the Isobel, which is praise indeed.

How have Shutt managed to come up with a lycra jersey that is both attractive and and a joy to wear? Having a female designer, Lucy Gardner, and employing women of varying shapes and sizes who all enjoy cycling certainly seems to have helped. Lucy has managed to design a technical jersey that genuinely suits women who are happy with the size they are.

This is Shutt's first foray into XXL for women's clothing and it's a total winner. The fit is genuinely feminine and the XXL is a realistic size 16/18. The fit is nice and long for bum covering purposes, so should fit taller women well too. For a race fit I suggest sizing down as it is the only generous premium cyclewear manufacturer I've found.

Naming it after the managing director's wife shows just how pleased Shutt are with their new Isobel jersey, and it's not hard to see why. The fabric is delightful, both in the feel - silky smooth and a world away from cheaper lycras, and the colourway - a subtle heather with polka dots in Shutt's signature colours. Even my 9 year old 'got' the reference to Queen of the Mountain in the dots ('but you're not one because they're not red, mummy').

This jersey excels in the looks department, but it isn't let down at all when it comes to the specification. It has everything I would expect in a quality garment with a huge attention to detail.

There are three back pockets, and the middle one has an additional outer zipped pocket big enough to take an iPhone. My phone was kept much dryer than usual due to the water-resistant membrane backing this additional pocket and only got slightly moist instead of unfeasibly wet while out riding. The ring pull on the zipper is large enough to hook while on the move, and the other three pockets are open access for less important items.

The reflective details are subtle but effective, and include the hemline, around the pocket tops and the full length of the front zip, with an additional strip along the middle zipped pocket right where a car headlights are most likely to catch you from behind.

 

Despite trialling this jersey in sunny Brittany (and rather less sunny Britain), I never felt too sweaty in this top, partly due to the long mesh strips under the arms and partly due to the general wicking qualities of the fabric.

Both the top and bottom of the front zip have zip hoods, and the handle of the zip is even colour matched to the jersey itself, for a really smart finish.

It's those little touches, alongside the excellent cut and material which justify the £79 price tag. This has been my go to top all summer as it is just so comfortable to wear, and has kept its shape despite my tendency to wash at 40 degrees rather than the prescribed 30.

Verdict

Flattering technical jersey available up to size 18 - definitely on my Christmas list

road.cc test report

Make and model: Shutt VR Isobel jersey

Size tested: XL

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Designed by our award winning, in-house designer Lucy Gardner the Isobel is named after a woman close to Shutt's heart, who inspired us to create something a bit more feminine, that stayed true to our classic styling.

The jersey is constructed from the finest Italian fabrics for an unsurpassed fit while protecting the wearer from extremes of temperature offering superior insulation and breathability – keeping the rider dry and at optimum temperature.

At Shutt we don't believe Women should make any concessions with their cycle clothing so our range is no compromise offering. We bring all new features including a full-length reflective zip, mesh side panels, reinforced pocket design, a zipped fourth pocket for valuables and a reflective hem trim providing extra security and visibility.

The fit will flatter all body sizes, creating a stylish look whether out for a casual Sunday club run or powering up the French Col du Galibier pass.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Key Features

✭Women's Specific Cut

✭Soft touch Italian Lycra

✭Mesh panels for enhanced breathability

✭Three rear cargo pockets with additional 4th lined zipped valuables pocket

✭Full Length reflective Zip

✭360° silicone gripper & reflective piping on the bottom hem

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Great attention to detail. Construction could have been a tiny bit neater i.e. on the line of the hem, and a couple of threads starting to show after washes but nothing of consequence.

Rate the product for performance:
 
10/10

It did everything a technical jersey should and was very attractive too.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

No bobbling even after a summer of washing and wearing.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
7/10

Average to light for summer wear.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
10/10

Nothing about this jersey was uncomfortable. And I'm very fussy.

Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

£79 - designed in the UK but made in China - the manufacturers say that it would have been prohibitively expensive to manufacture here.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The overall design, colour and fit.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? Yes.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

A fabulous jersey in a size which truly fits me - Christmas has come early.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 36  Height: 5'7  Weight: size 16

I usually ride: Trek 7.5 WSD  My best bike is: Turquoise Cruiser

I've been riding for: Under 5 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Novice

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, general fitness riding, Leisure

 

14 comments

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Jonathing [76 posts] 3 years ago
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This review has very much impressed me. The Mrs, who is a healthy size 18, has just taken up bike riding and had struggled to find kit to fit her.
I think £80 is outside of her price range for now but thank you for showing her that stuff is available. After all, of we're going too lose all this weight then we need something to wear while we do it.

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crikey [1251 posts] 3 years ago
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An ever present issue with many of the jerseys from smaller manufacturers is that they don't seem to be able to make a jersey with a neck that fits.

It can't be that difficult surely?

A cycling jersey should have a neck that fits snugly around the neck, not some approximation that is vaguely circular.

It costs £80; I don't think you'd buy a shirt that was so sloppily constructed from any high street shop.

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Fixie Girl [165 posts] 3 years ago
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crikey wrote:

An ever present issue with many of the jerseys from smaller manufacturers is that they don't seem to be able to make a jersey with a neck that fits.

It can't be that difficult surely?

A cycling jersey should have a neck that fits snugly around the neck, not some approximation that is vaguely circular.

It costs £80; I don't think you'd buy a shirt that was so sloppily constructed from any high street shop.

I have one and its a great fit, I ride it casually and the neck is ideal.. You are a man and your opinion based on what?

To describe this as sloppily is totally ridiculous, this is by far the best constructed jersey I own even better than my favourite brand Rapha.

FG

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crikey [1251 posts] 3 years ago
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You are a man and your opinion based on what?

Um, the photograph above?

(I could insert various ripostes of a sexist nature, but you seem to have that covered...)

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Fixie Girl [165 posts] 3 years ago
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crikey wrote:

You are a man and your opinion based on what?

Um, the photograph above?

(I could insert various ripostes of a sexist nature, but you seem to have that covered...)

Why is it wrong to have a non-snug neck? Not everyone with the same jersey size will have the same neck size, surely its better to be loser? As a woman I don't like clothes too fitted. Most women would agree… If the fit was poor and the neck an issue the reviewer would have said?

FG

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Caroline Dodgson [25 posts] 3 years ago
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Erm, I like the neck like that. It's comfy and shows the contrasting dots on the inside. Also gotta have room for the on the drops double chin  3

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Binky [116 posts] 3 years ago
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I can't see what is wrong with the neck?

For me i would have like the patterned stripe to go across the chest but the top still looks nice.

Thanks for the review  103

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truffy [649 posts] 3 years ago
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Hrm, another male opinion here, so worth square root of diddly...

I do see what crikey means, the collar looks a bit sloppy, like an over washed rugby shirt.

I do also see that not everyone likes a snug fit. I don't either, and neither do my chins.

But there's loose (good) and there's baggy (not so good).

So, there you have it, another opinion not worth a damn.  1

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crikey [1251 posts] 3 years ago
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Darlings, seriously....

Tight fitting jerseys with this type of collar look far better when said collar actually conforms to the neck. In purely performance terms, a high and tight collar works to keep you more comfortable when it's a bit parky, and avoids drafts and flapping about.

Honestly, do any of you people actually own a mirror?

(Because I am actually a man I was going to make a joke about wrinkled foreskins, but thought better of it given the prevailing winds...  3 )

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dermot [2 posts] 3 years ago
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"You are a man and your opinion based on what?"

What a fantastically sexist and silly comment.

This may well be a great product but the photos really don't do it any favours; stretched in places and loose in others with a collar that looks like it was taken from a jersey two sizes larger. "Sloppy" actually sums it up quite nicely!

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Fixie Girl [165 posts] 3 years ago
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crikey wrote:

Darlings, seriously....

Tight fitting jerseys with this type of collar look far better when said collar actually conforms to the neck. In purely performance terms, a high and tight collar works to keep you more comfortable when it's a bit parky, and avoids drafts and flapping about.

Honestly, do any of you people actually own a mirror?

(Because I am actually a man I was going to make a joke about wrinkled foreskins, but thought better of it given the prevailing winds...  3 )

I read the review and Caroline does suggest going down a size for a race fit.. I own one and the neck is snug enough. Slightly less tight than the Rapha ones I have and all the better for it…

FG

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crikey [1251 posts] 3 years ago
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Still no apology for all that 'you're a man wtf do you know' rubbish then?

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Some Fella [890 posts] 3 years ago
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Full disclosure - i am a man.

Hot on the heels of that Morvelo jersey you reviewed the other day i wish jersey makers would be a bit bolder when designing mens jerseys. I'd be happy to wear this and the morvelo jersey - i like jazzy colours and geometric designs but mens jerseys are usually block colours with a stripe if we are lucky.
I am currently wearing a groovy Womens World Cup jersey (male fit) i got from Prendas which is very colourful but isnt splattered with advertising for Russian gangsters or Australian Bond villains .
Come on jersey designers - jazz it up a bit

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Ham-planet [112 posts] 3 years ago
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It's my opinion that lycra looks best on curvy women. It's fat women who have the most to fear from it.