Harlot Olivia Short
From the first time we saw Harlot Clothing, its line of classically styled apparel stood out from the pack. It was like finding a back alley pub with the best juke box in town, something fantastically unusual in a flooded market. In an industry that keeps expanding, we appreciate a company that sticks to the basics and doesn’t empty our piggy banks. We only hoped that the apparel would perform as well as it looked.
When we first laid eyes on the Harlot Olivia Shorts, we were reminded of when we started mountain biking. Oh, to have had these shorts back then! In our cycling infancy, we were too modest for lycra shorts and chamois and, despite many astute recommendations, we chose to ride in regular everyday wear.We probably don't have to elaborate on that experience to let you know we quickly changed our ways. If only we had been exposed to the beautiful marriage of comfort and cool found in the Olivia short, we could have saved ourselves from many post-ride trips inside the grocery store in sweaty, skin-tight lycra.
One of the most noticeable out-of-the-box features of the Olivia Shorts is the quality of the fabric. The 100% nylon shell is super light and very stretchy. It has a much softer hand than we usually see with nylon. It actually felt surprising like a natural fiber. Ah, and the waistband -- what a joy. After years of narrow bands of elastic encased in compression lycra, we were delighted to see a soft, wide fabric band with flat seams.
The shorts fit true to size. We wore a medium and the elastic waist gave us plenty of room without pinching. The cut is exactly what we want in a casual short. Fitted through the waist and hips and loose in the thighs with no tight gripper at the hem. The mid-rise waist hits just below the navel in the front and comes up slightly higher over the hips. There are no buttons, zippers, large logos or fluffy pink flowers. Except for a red star on each leg and a Harlot logo on the hip, the Olivia Short remains remarkably unadorned. The color options reflect Harlot's understated style. We opted for Chrome over Steel but both colors would work with most any riding attire.
Over the last few months, we tested the Harlot Olivia Shorts in the muddy, rocky, rooted Arkansas wilderness. The shorts handled the sludge and rocks soundly, allowing us to stay focused on our line and not our attire. Thanks to the slim fit through the upper thigh and seat, the shorts never got caught on the saddle and the silky fabric allowed us to easily change positions without bunching. We experienced no rips or snags after falls and tumbles. The Olivia Shorts took a beating and emerged unscathed.
We found that the cool mesh insert with its comfy chamois helped fight off heat, friction and sweat. It also did a great job repelling odor. The cushioned mesh panel that runs along the inner thigh gave us the freedom to get up off the saddle, attack nasty rock gardens, and sail down descents without worrying about slapping our inner thighs on the saddle. We loved finishing a ride with out the presence of any irritating bruises.
The BCZ chamois is soft and lightweight -- ideal for handling our lovely lady bits without extra bulk. The BCZ is discreet, which allowed us to wear the Olivia Shorts off the trail unnoticed. We must add though that the BCZ design takes some getting used to. The chamois doesn’t stop at the groin but runs down the inside of the thigh. While we loved the benefits of this feature, we weren't used to having any extra fabric in that area. We were conscious of it for the first few miles and then quickly got used to the design. The benefits are definitely worth getting though the initial oddness.
While it was great for shorter rides, we wouldn't recommend the BCZ chamois for anything epic. Anytime our goods aren't feeling so good, it's time to stop. After a few hours in the saddle, the BCZ just wasn't substantial enough. Obviously, this depends on type of terrain. For fast rolling single track, the BCZ would probably keep you comfortable much longer than on the punishing rock gardens we use as our testing facility.
The Olivia Shorts clean up as easily as they wear. We simply threw them in the wash with the rest of our dirties. We tumble-dried on low and didn't experience any shrinkage whatsoever. After double-digit washes, the fabric has faded only slightly. Ease of care is a special bonus -- it breaks our heart when we turn our cycling apparel into a Kate Moss special.
We would suggest the Olivia Shorts to any girl who is looking for well fitting, great looking,and sound performing cycling shorts for spring and summer. The Harlot Olivia Shorts behaved like a true Harlot should -- down, dirty and to the point. They were created by women who love to ride their bikes. It is evident that they must be ladies just like us who are not just riders, but lovers -- of dirt, trail, bike grease, pain and pleasant independence. We all know the joys of being on our bikes. Now we have found another way to amplify that joy, in a pair of filthy Harlot Olivia Shorts!