So Ladies…

…Let’s talk about fashion. Or not.

Because I’m not much of a fashionista. And never have been.

So Ladies

I have gotten a little better since then. But my life doesn’t revolve around clothes. I really enjoy looking looking like crap some days.

So Ladies

Or a bit dirty and grungy.

So Ladies

And some times I even dress up (and look like Lovely Bicycle on accident.)

So Ladies

However when I started biking I didn’t know what to do about clothes. Or bikes. Or anything. I just wanted to try it. I didn’t see anyone on a bike who looked like any version of me. As a newbie, this was all I really knew about cyclists:

Unexpected Types

You may have noted that neither of these figures appear to be women. And I knew I was not an athlete or a hipster. Or a man.

So when I came across a certain European street-style blog of stylishly dressed women riding bicycles I signed right up. I went and bought the Dutchiest bike I could find in Los Angeles (which was actually made in China) and a bunch of flouncy dresses from H&M and promptly started biking up and down Sunset Boulevard leaving a trail of bolts and washers behind me.

But as I got more confident about with bicycle commuting, I realized something bothered me about this bike sheek culture.

So Ladies

It was just another stereotype.

So I moved on. I agree about wearing ordinary clothes when I bike. But now I wear my ordinary clothes which don’t happen to be dresses or heels or terribly stylish most of the time– my biking does not revolve around fashion.

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59 Comments on "So Ladies…"


Matthew Boulanger
February 3, 2012

Oh no- making fun of Copenhagenize? Good. As much as I love Copenhagen and bike-friendlyness, the anti-helmet stuff is tedious. Especially to this real-world commuter who does indeed go down once in a while. My commuting route is not an endless paradise full of perfectly manicured grade-separated paths and friendly, understanding drivers.

Naomi
February 3, 2012

I’ve recently discovered a bevy of bike blogs devoted to looking fashionable and chic on your bike (which always includes riding a dutch bike.) Since I live in Chicago, I don’t always get to wear my ordinary clothes (cute or nay) as often as I would like. I find myself going back and fourth from spandex and windbreakers, to boots and jeggings. In the end, they’re all my “ordinary” clothes.

Lovely Bicycle!
February 3, 2012

If you haven’t already, you might want to check out Let’s Go Ride a Bike and the “Women Who Brunch” gang. They are in Chicago.

cycler
February 3, 2012

You should also definitely check out Bike Fancy, which is Chicago based. The (female) photographer has a great eye for portraiture, and they’re all posed photos instead of street shots. What is great about it is that everyone on that site has a distinctive personal style, but it’s not necessarily what’s “In” or “Fashionable”

Cecily
February 3, 2012

Agreed 100%. Bike Fancy makes me feel good about commuting by bike. The Cycle Chic thing makes me feel invisible, because even though I ride a Dutch bike (made in the Netherlands, even), I’m not some waifish, ethereal beauty.

Another person who takes a different view of citizen cycling is Marc at Amsterdamize, who seems to take great care to show all kinds of people on bikes.

Phil LIndsay
February 3, 2012

Love it! Clothing is a universal biking problem though since as a male non-athlete and pre-hipster era fellow we’re content to wear our regular clothing. The more we look ‘normal’ out there riding the sooner those folks in their driving clothes (no coats, hats or gloves and often in their pjs…) might accept bicyclists as being part of the roadway landscape. On the piece, your sister and my sister must have come from the same seed yikes! And hey! Did you play the clarinet in band?

Nicole
February 3, 2012

Now I’m tempted to take a bike ride in my pj’s….

Amazone
February 3, 2012

I found the solution in buying clothes from skate- surf- and outdoorstores, which these days have plenty of ‘normal’ wear looks, fanciness, prints and silhouettes but use technical textiles and a more flexible cutting: more space at shoulders, elbows, knees and hips. Most often it is called their ‘urban wear’ selection.
When I try on non-sports trousers, I alway check if I can bike with it (lift my legs up high).
Plus I love to wear my Pearl Izumi rainwear: tight trousers with zippers all the way along the legs accompanied with a light but water- and windresistant bomber complete with a hoodie that doesn’t restrict my view. Or my Vaude Yale winter coat. Beautiful, comfortable, functional and fashionable.
For shoes I’ve stopped buying the ones with no or a slippery profile: that hurts too much when I slip from the pedal. And this week I saw a mother with too high heels: she couldn’t manage to go up the bridge with her heavy bike with child. So there too some common sense is preferable to always look like an Italian model. Which we, Dutch women, certainly are not.

Marge
February 3, 2012

this was so good! the last panel made me laugh, it reminded me of a cover of “Momentum”, I don’t know any female cyclist that rides looking like that. It depends on where and what type of riding I’m doing as to what I wear. If it’s a long training ride I’m wearing full on spandex. If I’m just puttering around town my regular clothes are just fine. Exceptions, reflective gear when it’s dark and wet. I always wear a helmet.

 
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