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Good-looking, casual trail clothing has been really hard to find, especially for women, who are often forced to choose between girly pink and flowers, and black and boring. Add to this that trail wear can often be cut for hard-core downhill racing – i.e. baggy enough to cover a full set of body armour and about as attractive as your dad’s pyjamas – and casual MTBers should be heaving a sigh of relief at DHaRCO’s entry into the market. They’re designing cool, attractive, yet tough gear that’s perfect for riding in the Aussie heat, and the women’s stuff manages to be feminine, too.

DHaRCO clothing is currently available online at www.dharco.com, and in selected retail stores. Check the website for details.

Whether you’re used to riding in your gym t-shirt, tight lycra jerseys, or baggy downhill tops, I think there’s something for everyone to love about DHaRCO’s ¾ Jersey. The side panels taper in, giving you a great shape, as do the sleeves, which flare out ever so slightly just below the elbow – it’s a feminine cut that allows you to move around on your bike and looks good at the same time.

I’ve never worn ¾ sleeves riding before, and I really liked it – having just that little bit of forearm and wrist exposed meant I kept a bit cooler and looked a bit tougher than normal, and even though I wore this in winter in the Blue Mountains, on a sunny day, and was neither too hot nor too cold, and the light, moisture-wicking fabric really did stay dry.

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There’s a tiny pocket in the side of the jersey, just big enough for some coffee money, lip balm, or tissues – but don’t overload it or you’ll get a bit of a lopsided look. I really felt the subtle offset star pattern on one sleeve looked really special, without being outright girly. My favourite colour is the purple I tested, but the Ladies ¾ Jersey is also available in aqua or blue with the same styling.

It’s not often that I’m out of tight XC-style bibs and jersey, and although I’ve tried a number of trail outfits, none has really done it for me before – being either too short in the body or sleeves, or cut to look like I’m borrowing my boyfriend’s t-shirt – so I’ve persevered with the semi-legal skin-tight look. This DHaRCO Trail Jersey has changed all that for me: It was great for all-day wear and for once I didn’t feel self-conscious when we stopped for brekky at a café.

Ladies ¾ Jersey – Trail – Black Orchard

AUD $65

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Words: Imogen Smith Photos: Tim Bardsley-Smith