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.
“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.)
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.
I went all-color for my previous Fashion Friday, but this week I’m feeling the beige. Often stereotyped as boring, a palette of subtly varied beiges can be romantic and classy. I love pairing bright red lips with such ensembles to provide a pop of color (Chanel is my favorite). Many women are afraid of red lips, but the bold color is guaranteed not to look tarty on a background of beige.
My weekend plans involve biking, picture-taking, reading, and brunching with my women. Maybe I’ll look half as put together as my style collage. :) What’s on your agenda?
Vintage dress, vintage camera, Breukelen from Bowery Lane Bikes (love the wood crate!), Yakkay helmet, Kate Spade sunglasses, KORS shoes, Chloe bag, Chanel lipstick.
Chicago’s annual Bike Winter Fashion Show will take place this Friday, as part of the closing party of the Bike Winter Art Show.
I will be participating in the fashion show for vintage shop Lucite Box, owned by bicycling-and-brunching lady Holly. Last week, the group got together for a dress rehearsal, complete with hair and makeup magic by Christopher Conner. Then we had a photoshoot by bicycle style photographer Martha Williams of Bike Fancy fame. She is the best!
Model Lisa, Photographer Martha, and Vintage Clothier Holly
In Chicago? Great! Come out to the Bike Winter Fashion show this Friday night, 7-11:30, at Gala Gallery, 1000 N. Milwaukee.
The official description:
The 15th Annual Bike Winter Art Show closes on March 9th at the Gala Gallery located at 1000 N. Milwaukee Ave. Join us at the Bike Winter Art Show for a night of bicycle enthusiasm, cycling camaraderie and rider revelry that’s sure to shake off the winter blues. The benefit kicks off at 8 pm with a family fun puppet show performed by Jabberwocky. The main event, a runway fashion show, starts at 9 pm and is sponsored by Rapid Transit Cycles. After the fashion show, deejay Montay spins the beats. The event is free and open to the public.
Another thing I’ve been seeing more often this summer? Bicycle-themed clothing. Of course, I completely approve of both trends, even if wearing a dress printed with bikes while riding a bike might be overdoing it a little bit.
Oh well, subtlety can be overrated. And a cool cotton dress is the perfect choice for a hot summer ride.
Anyone else out there sporting bike fashion these days? And if so, do you wear it while riding your bike?