My husband bought an REI Co-Op t-shirt a few months ago, and, in quick succession, bought three more. He now has two long sleeved and two short sleeved in four different colors. He likes them for working out, running, hiking and general purpose everyday wear. He likes them so much that he recommended that I buy one.

His shirts are bright, solid, primary colors. Orange, red, yellow and green. I was hoping to get a nice solid blue, as that’s my favorite color. But, when I finally got around to looking at the women’s version of the shirts, I found that they did not come in the same colors. Instead, my options were mostly of a kind of pastel pattern. Light blue, light purple, rose, grey.

Because of the colors, I tried on a men’s small as well as women’s small and women’s medium to see which shirt fit me best. The men’s did not fit my body well. The collar was higher than the women’s and felt a bit like it was choking me, though my husband never seemed to have that issue. I ended up going with the women’s medium as the best fit. I couldn’t pick a color, because none of them really appealed, so I asked my husband to pick and went with the light blue.

I was curious about whether or not the REI website would have a wider selection of colors for the women’s shirts, so I looked them up. No such luck. No primary colors for the women.

And then, curiosity led me to look at the men’s shirts. While it looks like they now have the pastel blue for men, it was then that I noticed the difference in the wording of the descriptions. Ostensibly, these are the same shirt. The same price, the same fabric, the same price…

So why does the men’s shirt description explicitly cite working out, “Better than basic, this REI Co-Op Tech T-Shirt wicks moisture and dries quickly to keep you cool and comfortable while hiking, running, working out or just working up a sweat playing Frisbee.”

Whereas the women’s shirt does not recommend working out, “A wardrobe staple that goes beyond basic, the women’s Tech T-shirt wicks moisture and dries quickly to keep you cool and comfortable while working up a sweat hiking, running or chasing down a Frisbee.”

Men and women can both play Frisbee! (Though only men will sweat while playing, those silly women will just chase the Frisbee down after they fail to catch it?) But no working out in this shirt for women.

Even the stance of the models got my goat. The woman just stands there, presenting the shirt like a mannequin. The man has a hand on his hip, showing off his muscles, looking ready to work.

I must admit though, the advertising was entirely accurate. After using that shirt for running, Crossfit and working out, I have to agree. The women’s shirt is not for working out. I’m constantly having to tug the shirt down, because whenever I lift it bunches up over my breasts. I guess I’ll just have to start chasing down Frisbees instead!

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