Life has been in a state of upheaval for me for the past two months. Right before Christmas my mother-in-law had a stroke and wound up in the hospital for the better part of a month. She’s doing better now thankfully and recently moved in with us. This new arrangement will take some getting used to for everyone involved, and I’m sure there will be plenty of stress to go around.
Speaking of stress, one of my favorite things to do when I am stressed is exercise. Running to be more specific. I have all manner of warm weather running clothing but was limited to baggy old sweats when the weather became cooler. When my big box of Carhartt arrived, there was a track outfit included. With an excuse to do a lot of running (Stress anyone? Why yes, I’ll have seconds please.), the Carhartt track jacket and pant have been well tested.
There are three things that I look for when buying clothes: fit, functionality, and fashion. Fit has to be the most important because if it doesn’t fit why bother? With functionality, I look for the clothing to allow me to do what I want comfortably. I don’t want to have to tug my shirt down or keep hiking my pants up and I certainly don’t want to trip over my hems when running. My last criteria, fashion, is kind of lax here; if it fits great and lets me do what I need to do I’m willing to wear something that isn’t off the runways of New York. Lucky for me Carhartt got bull’s-eyes on all three criteria. Because if I can look fashionable without sacrificing fit and function, why in the world wouldn’t I?
When I tried on the pants and jacket right out-of-the-box they fit really well although the pants were just a bit long. Since I wash everything before I wear it, I hoped that when I dried the pants they would shrink a tiny bit. (With some other clothing the “tiny bit” turned into, “Wow those are flood waders!”.) Crossing my fingers and holding my breath, I pulled the pants from the dryer and tried them on again. Holy moly they were perfect and when I put on my running sneakers they were short enough that I wouldn’t trip but not so short that I look like a dork. The waistband of the pant is wider than normal track pants which meant ,for me, that they didn’t roll, or sag,or ride down or up while I was running. The pants also did not bunch which meant that I didn’t chafe or have to stop to fix my pants every quarter of a mile. Moving on to functionality, since I was running in cold weather (30 degrees and breezy with frost on most windows) I really was hoping these would be warm enough. Sometimes the sweats I wear running keep me warm for a few minutes but after that the wind creeps in and then my muscles get tight and my run is shot. Well I ran for 45 minutes and I was cool but my muscles didn’t cramp up. Kudos to Carhartt-I don’t know if that was an intentional design aspect or not, but it was definitely one that I appreciated.
The track jacket didn’t seem to shrink that much at all which was great. The length of the sleeves came to mid hand on me which meant I could easily pull my hand inside the sleeve if I got cold (because I usually forget gloves). The length of the jacket itself hit me at mid-hip which is great for lounging around the house but I wondered if it would ride up when I started running. Let me clarify, when I wear the jacket just as a jacket I would pull it down so it was more fitted than a normal boxy jacket, but when I run I need more range of motion so I didn’t tug it down quite as far. It still didn’t look like a grain sack on me which was quite surprising and I was very pleased. Since it was very cold the first time I tried them out my zipper was all the way up and the drawstring at the hood was tied. Normally my ties would come undone in 10 steps in the zipper would gradually work its way down. Not so with this jacket. I did eventually take the hood off so I can’t say if the ties would have eventually undone themselves, but while I had my hood up and tied, they did not come undone.
But don’t think that the Carhartt track pant and jacket are only for hard-core running. This has become my go to outfit on those days where I seriously do not want to wear jeans. This outfit is soft and comfortable and warm and cozy; kind of like wearing your favorite comfort food, but without the mess. As I mentioned before this combo is not “sweat suit “-y. Do you know what I mean? It’s not baggy shapeless and well looks like something that my grandma wears. I see a lot of women wearing track outfits shopping (you know, bright purple velour with Uggs?) And it seems that the trend is toward more fashionable, fitted, chic “bum around clothes” (for lack of a better word). The Carhartt track pant and jacket are made of 95% cotton, 5% spandex French Terry and come in sizes that make sense to a man buying them for his girlfriend/wife/female person he’s buying this for. That would be extra small – 2XL and the pants also come in regular and tall lengths. Color choices are black, heather grey, and grape seed.
The washing instructions state that you can machine wash and dry both pieces and I have two or three times without any appreciable shrinkage or fading. That being said, my method of choice for laundering my running gear is to machine wash in cold water and line dry them. This (my Geek/Chemist husband assures me) is the surest method for preventing afore mentioned shrinking/fading.
With a list price of $48.00 for the jacket and $36.00 for the pants, I think they’re well worth the money. Carhartt women’s wear is tough, long lasting, comfortable, and (who knew?) really stinkin’ cute!
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