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Reviewed: CHPT3 Biarritz Collection

Self-professed fashion geek David Millar references Chanel classic in this kit for his CHPT3 brand.

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The CHPT3 x Garmin kit combines cycling with vintage high-fashion. This  Chanel-inspired kit is as comfortable and classic as the original navy suit dress. This is the magic that can happen when the right pro cyclist moves into kit design. CHPT3 is the creative product of David Millar, the pro cyclist and, according to his interview on Cycling Fashion Week, self-professed fashion geek. 

“In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.” – Coco Chanel

Biarritz Women’s Lightweight Jersey – $209

Pros: Classic fashion styling, responsible materials 

Cons: Chanel may not be for everyone 

Even to someone who doesn’t understand the reference in the jersey’s name — Chanel’s first house of couture was in Biarritz, France — this jersey is so clearly inspired by Chanel’s classic navy suit dresses with the iconic cream piping, I expected it to smell like the fashion house’s iconic No.5. I looked twice at the tag to make sure it wasn’t a partnership with the famous brand. Inside you’ll find a quote from Coco herself telling cyclists the secret to being irreplaceable. 

That said, I wonder who will be bold enough to wear a jersey with lines that look like corset boning. It’s meant to create a waist-cinching effect, but I think  the bustier outline went too literal and draws the eye to the waist, rather than creating an optical illusion to make the waist look smaller. Besides, with more simplistic or differently designed piping the Chanel reference would have carried without the jersey looking like vintage women’s undergarments, or a scandalously tight lady’s bathing suit from the early 1900s. Of course, this is just my opinion — the jersey is sold out, so it seems the target market is happy.

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Design aside, the jersey is great in all the ways that matter: The 85% recycled polyester and 15% elastane material is smooth to the touch  (it’s called Silkis Forever, to give some indication of the texture), it has a fourth zipper pocket, the sleeve length is reasonable for the Chanel-inspired fit (not to the elbow, but not casual cap/club cut), and the white (cream) raw-cut bottom hem is backed with silicone dots to keep the jersey in place.  Overall, it’s a nice jersey, but one that is really meant to be worn with the accompanying shorts.

Biarritz Women’s 9-Inch Shorts – $239

Pros: silicone on the inside of the waistband

Cons: missing supportive interior elastic band at the waist

I personally prefer bibs over shorts because my shorts tend to fall down over the course of a ride, moving the chamois out of place and causing chafing. That said, I understand some women riders don’t like bibs because they are difficult to get out of for bathroom breaks, among other reasons. In this case, the shorts are perfect for the Chanel suit look. 

They have all the features I look for in good shorts: a triangular panel at the front to alleviate pressure on the stomach, especially in the riding position; generous multi-density foam chamois (as opposed to a less dense or large chamois intended for short rides or alternative uses like triathlon); and wide leg grippers. These even have silicone dots on the inside of the waist to keep them in place. The one thing I missed was an interior elastic strap at the back of the waist to hold these up a little more securely — they did end up sagging on me. But, if you’re into shorts, this is a very good pair — an internal elastic band at the back would have made them excellent, but I am nonetheless seeking a solid cream jersey to go be the alternate top for these unique shorts. 

Biarritz Women’s SL Baselayer – $69

Pros: Houndstooth print, good warmth to weight ratio

Cons: price, may be visible beneath thin jerseys

I love this base layer. Herringbone print is a nice complement to the cycling ethos. This particular piece can work for any quick-dry base-layer situation. This is the kind of garment the younger me might have dressed up for a semi-casual night out.

Overall, this kit supports the good things I’ve heard about CHPT3 quality, though the styling that borrowed directly from the golden age of luxury fashion was an unexpected surprise. If Meghan Markle chose an off-the-rack kit, I could see her picking this one. The houndstooth base layer is going to be strong in my rotation. For folks who are into the look, the jersey and shorts would be a top-five pick for the brunch ride, where being aero is less important than looking and feeling fantastic.