This week I burned my way through season one of Scandal on Netflix. Love! The best part of the show is the main character Olivia Pope, played by Kerry Washington. She’s uber-capable, confident, loyal and smart as hell – and also an amazing dresser.
As much as I love her style, I found myself thinking about the difficulty of wearing her outfits on a bike. She favors crisp white suits, sky high platform heels and wide leg pants.
So I put together my own interpretation of bike-friendly Olivia Popeness. I swapped out her wide-legged trousers for slim pants or a skirt to avoid chain disasters, her towering stilettos for pedal-friendly wedges, and her Prada bag for a Po Campo bag. I had to keep the white trench coat, so watch out for grease!
Earlier this week, I was sitting in Heritage enjoying a muffin and cappuccino, watching the morning bicycling traffic on Lincoln Avenue, when suddenly I saw my friend Maria (of Po Campo fame) cycle by. I’m always excited to see a friend in the wild, so I texted her. A couple of minutes later she responded that it could not have been her: she was still at home eating breakfast. Either she has a doppelganger (it’s possible!) or I was fooled by someone who looked kinda alike and sported the same Chicago Bicycle Uniform.
As you can see by perusing the portraits on Bike Fancy, there is no set Chicago style (except for editing). But recently I noticed that there are some accessories that show up often on Chicago’s bicycling women.
Nutcase helmet, Po Campo bag, fall/winter/spring boots, steel-framed bike, and a certain Audrey-esque casual elegance. :-)
Of course, not every woman wears these accessories – not even close – but I’ve enjoyed watching them become more common through the years. The prevalence seems to signal that more “regular” people (as opposed to kids looking for an adrenaline rush) are bicycling in the city now.
Have you noticed a sort of bicycle uniform developing where you live?
P.S. Biking home that evening, I spotted my friend Sara cross my path from afar. When I got home I texted her, wondering for a moment whether I would be wrong again, but I was right. I’ve yet to see another blue Pashley Poppy in the city.
Tis the season: This weekend I’m going to no less than four festive events, which means I need at least four festive outfits. No spoilers on my real-life outfits, but they’ll probably involve glitter and sequins and satin and velvet and lace. Though alas, not a gold Brompton.
“Heels on Wheels” is a phrase that makes me cringe when used in the media to describe women riding bikes. Since, you know, women should not be defined by a shoe type. Yet here I go, using the phrase. In my defense, this is only one post in a blog filled with varied topics about women and bicycling. Also, the rhyming is irresistible. :-)
Moving along to the point, a couple of Sundays ago the weather was unseasonably warm and as I headed out the door to a baby shower, I threw on an old pair of heels instead of my usual flats. I rarely wear heals, preferring to tromp around the city with the steadiness of a mountain goat. But I’m going through a wardrobe purge/overhaul of sorts and figured I should give these heels one more chance before throwing them in the ebay pile.
Turns out they are actually quite comfortable, provided I don’t stand for a long time. And biking in them felt pretty bad ass. The shoes created no logistical problems; as you can see in the photo below, there is plenty of contact between the pedal and the sole. So these survive the purge, even though I probably won’t wear them often.
Now I’m drawn to the idea of stiletto heels in theory and what better way to play with this idea – sans wasted money and sore paw pads – than incorporating it into my Fashion Friday collage of imaginary outfits. :-) Now that the weather is straight-up cold, I winterized the concept.
I like this outfit because of the overall librarian feel (carried through to the Bowery Lane bike with its leather, cork, and wood), but with a kick of awesomeness from the heeled suede boots. (Manolos are supposed to be the most comfortable heels, right? Anyone have $600 I can borrow? No? Jerks.) Of course, the stylish leather gloves would have to serve merely as the lining under my ski mittens with warmers.
So what say you: are you a heels on wheels type of person?
p.s. I really want that Everlane tote, made in Texas of Illinois canvas, priced at only $35! (Everlane is my new style love, borne of a very cool concept.)
I’ll be spending part of this weekend leafing through my new Smitten Kitchen cookbook (courtesy of Dottie, who gives the best hostess gifts ever) and roasting squash to prepare for making a homemade pumpkin pie next week. But I do have some evening plans, and since we’re supposed to have pretty mild weather, I love the idea of setting out for them wearing a big ol’ bulky, cozy sweater over something just a little bit glittery. Ankle boots and solid tights tie the whole thing together, and would work great on a white Felt Verza Regency bicycle.
Anyone else doing Thanksgiving prep work or recipe research this weekend? I’m so excited that I actually get to COOK this year—I’m going to visit my parents and my family is having our first Thanksgiving ever as just the four of us.
p.s. Forgot to mention that Nashville, we’re having a bike brunch on Sunday! Meet at West End Café at 11, optional ride downtown for the mayor’s 5K afterward.
The outfit above is chic – there is no doubt about it in my mind. But at some point stuff gets ridiculously expensive. This week, I saw a gorgeous Chanel boucle suit at a consignment store…in my size…for almost $2,000. Holy mother of god. That is a lot of money for one second-hand outfit. The shop lady kindly informed me that they have layaway – ha! Luckily, the timeless Chanel designs have filtered down to the level where ordinary people like you and me can enjoy clothes that look kinda sorta the same.
The day after I left the consignment store, a friend at work randomly gave me a Chanel-esque wool boucle suit that no longer fits her. So I ended up with a similar outfit for free! Sure, it’s no Chanel, but it is a quality suit made in Canada.
Once I got to work, I traded my winter boots for heels, removed my gloves and scarf, and viola: ready for the office. Except I realize now that my bow was askew. :-)
A co-worker said to me, “You biked in that?!” Really, wool boucle and tweed are excellent for bicycling because the fabric has some give, never wrinkles, and is super cozy for fall and winter. I’m going on the record now to say that a wool boucle skirt suit – in addition to being timelessly chic – is the best outfit for cold-weather cycling. Who’s with me? :-)
There are two—well, maybe two and a half?—small exceptions: My jacket actually has a black windowpane check, which I think ties the skirt in a bit better; the hairstyle is what I would have done to my hair if I hadn’t had an early eye doctor appointment; and my tights are opaque all the way up. I chose these particular tights to highlight this odd faux-garter style, which I noticed in all the UK stores, and ask if any of you would wear it. Seems kinda like a sexy fail to me…
Oh! And I almost forgot to mention the Biria bike in a perfect fall color. Has anyone ridden one of these? They’re quite affordable. Digging all the under-$500 city bike options that seem to be popping up in the States at long last.
What are you wearing this fall Friday?
p.s. Dottie is coming to Nashville tonight! She’s shooting a wedding (congrats, Jess and Sten!) so I don’t know how much time we’ll have for bike-related shenanigans, but if we get up to any there will be a full report.
Overcast and rainy skies have surrounded me lately. Much of my riding in Amsterdam took place under damp mist and yesterday a heavy rain fell in Chicago, causing me to tuck Coco in my office for the night and take the L train home. Alas, I was caught without a coat to fend off the sudden cold and rain. If I could do my Thursday morning preparations over again (with dream clothes/bike collection), I would opt for something like this European-inspired rain outfit. Why not, right? :)
I hope all of you either have been staying dry or enjoying the wet weather in style!
Today I feel like indulging in some flights of fancy. The result is my dream outfit. This is by no means a shopping guide, simply an expression of my aesthetic at the moment. This lushly beautiful Stella McCartney dress is waaaaaay too rich for my blood. But there are some attainable luxuries, such as striking nail polish and a romantic hair style. Also, I am in love with this Bloom Theory camera strap and will have to figure out how to make my own out of whatever scraps I can find at JoAnn’s. :-)
I could easily ride a bike in this outfit, especially a lovely upright Velorbis, while enjoying the final remaining days of tights-free weather.