With the holidays approaching, you may be interested in buying a gi for the lady grappler in your life. The lady grappler in my life is me.
Since starting BJJ in 2010, I’ve noticed that in general, women’s gis fall into 5 categories. So to help save you some time, when considering which gi you’d like to choose for her, first pick a category, THEN pick a gi. Tthanks to Meg for the title suggestion!
1. Men’s style, women’s size
Models like Kingz, Tatami, Atama, and Gameness come to mind. In general, they are the exact model of men’s gis, but with women’s sizing. There’s nothing here but FIT made for women. They don’t cater specifically to a woman’s “taste” or “fashion sense” but rather size.
Choose this for: women who just want to be treated like all the other guys, are sick of “women’s gis” being fashion choices, have a distinct hatred of “feminine things,” do not want to stand out, are practical minded, are most concerned about fit, or just love those brands.
2) PINK! PURPLE! TEAL!
These gis use contrast stitching in a feminine color, or the entire gi is in a for-women-only color! Kyra Gracie, Atama, Fuji all have a pink, Vulkan has lilac. This is the most popular style of gi for women, I’d guess.
Choose this for: women who like to stand out, love colorful or bright clothes, want to feel more feminine while rolling with guys, love pink, love looking/feeling girlie, or are completely neutral about this subject. Note: pink gis are polarizing – women usually LOVE or HATE them. If you don’t know her preference, avoid the pink.
3) FLOWERS! BUTTERFLIES! HOORAY!
This uses some sort of feminine design to be attractive for women. Note that this is specifically not talking about the CUT/SIZE, but rather a fashionable element added in to denote visually that it is a woman’s gi. The Storm Sakura, OTM, Leticia Ribeiro gis – all use elements of this.
Choose this for: women who love feminine things but don’t want to stand out as much, like to look pretty, want to stand out from the guys, use words like adorable! and omg cuuuute!!, like flowers/butterflies/etc, and enjoy fashion. Or again – she’s not against any of these.
4) Breast cancer
Fuji’s Pink Blossom gi is the main one, and Shoyoroll is jumping on this as well, with their upcoming women’s gi. I predict more “for the cause” gis in our future.
Choose this for: women who are socially conscious, who have been impacted by this awful disease, like pink, like pretty designs, enjoy looking feminine, don’t mind standing out.
I really think Fenom belongs in a class by themselves. These are gis that are made with a woman grappler in mind, but are only created for women. They now have contrast stitching or a small design appealing to women, but they’ve made their name by creating an inexpensive product, support women in BJJ, and they have great customer service.
Choose this for: a female grappler, someone who likes good customer service, someone who wants a quality gi made by a woman grappler for a woman grappler, someone who cares about the community of women in BJJ.
Yes of course, many companies do some overlap – for example, Atama has men’s style cut for women, women’s coloring, and some with cool designs. Fuji has a regular pink one, as well as their breast cancer one. Fenom recently has been dipping their toes into some of the color/design areas. But in general, this is a generalized breakdown of what’s available for women grapplers. I love them all (except for all-pink gis. No thanks!).
I’m thankful that there are several varieties of gis to choose from – more than even just 2 years ago. There is still a lot of room for growth, however, and thankfully, it DOES help curb my spending at BJJHQ. It’s really cool to be able to look and see that women have the ability to express themselves on the mats. Check out this group photo, taken at the Women’s Grappling Camp earlier this year. How many different types of gis do you see?
Val Worthington recently posted an article about women’s grappling camps, as did Leslie Dove. You may want to wander over there – for the awesome pictures of jiu jitsu sisterhood as well as more images of women’s gis! And if you’re looking for another gift awesome for lady grapplers, giving her an all expense paid trip to women’s grappling camp would be it!
I am jealous–I want to go to camp!
Which kinds of gis do you ladies/the lady grapplers in your life have? I have 4 gis designed for women – one breast cancer, two men’s style, and one in women’s coloring. Which style do you (or she) prefer? Please feel free to upload/link to a picture of you in your gi (if you’re a lady!).