Tag Archives: clothing

Fashion Friday: Foxy Fall

The crisp fall weather has officially arrived in Chicago (see here) and this week I wore gloves and a light scarf for the first time (see here).  Fall is my favorite season and I love dressing for it.  Lately I’ve been thinking of boots, burnt orange, brown leather, dark denim, and – yes – sweaters emblazoned with foxes.  A spritz of my favorite fall scent, Burberry Brit, and I’m ready to go. Since I was talking about alien baby folding bikes recently, I added a Strida to the mix: quite possibly the most alien of them all.

Now all I need is a big pile of colorful leaves to jump in.  Who’s with me?  :-)

P.S. I totally want to follow this DIY to embroider my own fox slippers.

{Collage details here.}

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Fashion Friday: Patriotic

I am all pumped up from watching the Democratic National Convention this week – mostly from Michelle Obama’s speech!  You may notice this influence in my Fashion Friday outfit.  ;-)

Happy weekend!

{Collage details here}

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Pedal Pushers

Before I started cycling, I never thought about the name “pedal pusher” for pants in a literal way. But now it comes to me – duh, this style is named pedal pushers because they are made for pushing pedals!  The cuffs are short enough that there is no risk the getting caught in the chain or crank while bicycling.

Since I started bicycling daily, I almost entirely stopped wearing pants in favor of skirts and dresses to avoid having to secure pants cuffs, but lately I’ve been wanting to wear outfits built around pants.  Pedal pushers are a good solution.

This is the only pair of pedal pushers I have, tending to avoid them as not the most flattering length, but I think I’ll keep my eyes out for more.  They are just too convenient and fun for bicycling.  I really don’t know why I never thought of them much before.  :-)

What do you think – are you a fan of pedal pushers?

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Fashion Friday: End of Summer Cycling

As the summer winds down, I find myself already growing nostalgic, but excited for cooler weather.  This outfit brings together those disparate feelings.  The bright flowers celebrate the brightness of summer, while the jeans are perfect for those evenings when there’s a slight chill in the air – and these skinny jeans won’t get pulled into bike cranks or chains.  (Hint: if you don’t want to pay for Dolce & Gabbana, buy some inexpensive jeans and fabric paint!)

I’m heading to Nashville this weekend to hang with Trisha and enjoy some Southern sun.  Then I plan to spend as much of next week outside as possible, enjoying what’s left of Chicago’s magical summertime.

How about you?

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Making It Work

Sometimes an outfit comes along that is worth a little extra trouble to become bike-friendly.

I found this Burberry polo shirtdress at Salvation Army last week for the low, low, low price of $1.89.  I thought the casual dress would be great for summer, but it was shorter than I expected once I put it on.

I really did not want to be inappropriate, so I put on black spandex shorts underneath.  Then I layered a full-length opaque slip to prevent the black from showing through the white cotton.

A couple of people mentioned using slips for bicycling in the comments of this post, so I picked up a highly-recommended full slip from Gap Body.  The slip worked perfectly, although natural fibers would be more breathable and therefore better for bicycling.

These three layers helped me feel secure while biking 8 miles in this dress.  I think I could have gotten by without the shorts, but I prefer not to worry about my hemline and appreciate the extra coverage.

I’m sure this new slip will come in handy with many other outfits.

Do you have an outfit that you love so much, you go out of your way to make it work on your bike?

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Bike Style in Vogue

News flash: bicycles are in.  Last week, Vogue wrote about the fashionableness of bicycles:

As we ease into the last few weeks of summer, bike style is the new street style. So why not count your chic cruiser as a seasonal staple? Just as you might acquire pieces to complement a favorite new bag, it’s possible to build your ensemble around your bike.

A slideshow of bicycles matched with fall fashion accompanies the article. (Hat tip to CycleStyle Australia for the link.)

Looking at the slideshow is fun, kinda like our Fashion Fridays, but with all couture designer clothing.  We have been known here at LGRAB to match our outfits to our bikes!

I think such attention is positive for the image of bicycling and it gives me a little thrill, but I also agree with Trisha that bicycling is more than a fashion statement and that making the bicycle a fashionable accessory – without accompanying advocacy – will not substantially increase the amount of bikes on the road.  Paris and New York’s bikeshares and increase in infrastructure must be pushing this trend.  I’d love to know what others think.  Do you get excited about or roll your eyes at such articles?

(I must say, in regards to the imagery above, that society tends to gloss over painfully thin models as normal for fashion, but excepting the very few woman who look so naturally, this extreme thinness is not good or healthy.)

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Fashion Friday: Biking to Yoga

Who else is obsessed with the Olympics?  Watching the US women’s gymnastics team (go Gabby!) was the push I needed to get my butt back to yoga, after years of saying, “I need to get back to yoga.”

I’m finishing week two of near-daily 6 a.m. classes and I love it.  I am not a morning person, but I discovered that if I get up as soon as the alarm goes off, throw on my yoga clothes, and head straight out the door – no snooze button, coffee, twitter, or other procrastination – the morning is not so bad.

This routine requires extra preparation, especially combined with biking to work.  I bike to the studio on the way to work wearing my yoga outfit (Lululemon’s yoga clothes are so expensive, but soooo perfect!).  After class, I shower at the studio and change into regular shorts and a t-shirt, since my yoga clothes are too sweaty to put back on and I get too sweaty on my bike right now to wear work clothes.  Finally, I bike the rest of the way to work and change into my work clothes.  I swear, this is not as complicated as it sounds.  Totally worth the extra effort for the wonderful feeling I get from yoga class.

Do you have a yoga or other exercise routine that you combine with your bike commute?  I’m interested to hear how others handle the logistics.

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Kicks

I prefer to keep my work shoes under my desk, especially during the summer when my feet sweat.  Last summer I spent a lot of time biking in Keen Commuter sandals or regular slip-on sneakers.  This summer, I wanted casual shoes that could also look stylish.  I chose Bensimon Tennis Laclets (aka the French Converse) and I like them a lot.

These sneakers are easy to slip on and off – I never have to mess with the laces.  They are also breathable and very lightweight.  The only downside is the thin soles.  I would not wear them for a lot of walking before adding a gel insole, but happily that is not an issue when bicycling.

 I’ve been wearing them a lot and I like how they dress down and lighten up my regular outfits.

What kind of shoes do you like for summer bicycling?  Anyone else wear Bensimons?  :-)

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Fashion Friday

Overcast skies and thunderstorms colored my week with steely blues and soft grays.  After months of bright sunshine and primary colors, this low-key palate soothed my eyes and spirit – and my sensitive skin, which was happy for  some cloud cover!

These colors and the feelings they evoke inspired this collage.  I began with the soothing familiarity of my own bicycle, then dressed my imaginary self in a made-to-order organic cotton dress from Portland-based designer, Makool Loves You, paired with crocheted sneakers and a silky helmet cover. The cover is made for equestrian helmets, but I wonder if it would work for bicycling?  A lovely perfume would help with the sweat-free summer strategy – here I chose iris and white musk, the scent of a flowering garden after a heady summer storm.

I always have a book with me in my bike bag and this is a good time to delve into the work of America’s new Poet Laureate, Natasha Trethewey.

Overhead, pelicans glide in threes—
their shadows across the sand
dark thoughts crossing the mind.

My imagination paints this scene with the same blues and grays.

What color was your week?

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Bicycling in a Long Dress, Part II

Last month, I posted about bicycling in a long dress.  I demonstrated using an upright Danish bike with a full chain case.  Today I wore a long dress and I wanted to ride my Rivendell, which has an exposed chain and no skirt guard.  I assume this is the type of bike that most readers have, so I’m posting Bicycling in a Long Dress: Part II – no chain guard edition.

This is almost as simple as Part I.  The only difference is that I pinned up the bottom of my skirt.

Here is a quick video to show how quick and easy making a long skirt bike-friendly is.

Has anyone else tried this with a long dress? I know a few of you commented about similar strategies in the previous post.

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Fashion Friday: Fun in the Sun

Trisha is at Bonnaroo music festival, so I am posting this Fashion Friday in her place and in her honor, since I’m sure she’s having lots of fun in the sun!

This outfit is more of a dream one for me, because I own nothing like this flowered tank, pink shorts, and silver sandals.  It would look pretty cool, though, and perfect for a fun summer weekend!  I definitely need more bright colors in my wardrobe.  The colorful, cycle chic Schwinn bike pictured is only $300 at Target, although I cannot vouch for its quality.

I hope you all have some fun in the sun of your own – just remember to wear SPF!

Old navy tank top, $18 on sale for $8, J.Crew chino shorts, $48, Schwinn Women’s Three Speed Fiets Hybrid Bike White/Green, $300, DV by Dolce Vita leather platform sandals, $59, Old navy hat, $13BCBG Max Azria plastic sunglasses, $90

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Kate Spade CHI :)

You know how the right outfit has the power to brighten your day and make the world a more fun place to live?  If no, you should probably skip this vapid post.  If so – yeah!  totally!

I wore this Kate Spade ensemble to work last week, which of course involved nearly ten miles of bicycling.  And I felt so super happy the entire time, la la la lalalalaaaa.  *birds chirping*  A bonus is that drivers might be nicer to me dressed like this (Mary Poppins Effect), if they take a moment to glance up from their iPhones.

I am usually a thrift store lady, but I am admittedly attracted to a few different designers.  Not that I pay full price!  Goodness, no!  But I am a seasoned clearance stalker and when this Kate Spade dress popped up for 1/3 of the original price, I was so there.

Luckily, the weather was not too hot and humid – I’d hate to sweat all over this dress’s lovely lining (’cause I sweat like a piglet).  Tip time!  Did you notice the socklette peeking from my mary janes?  I buy those from the drugstore and they keep my feet from getting sweaty-stinky.  ;)

I also wore my Nutcase helmet, not pictured because I won’t pretend I think helmets improve on a look.  Oh!  But you know what helmet would have been spectacular with this dress (if you’re into that kind of thing!):

Ladybug!!!

Do you have a favorite outfit that makes you feel especially happy and cheery while bicycling?  I’d love to hear about it!

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How to: bicycling in a long dress

Bicycling in a long dress is possible! In fact, with the right set-up, it’s downright simple. Some may ask, “Why even bother biking in a long dress?” My response is that my bike is transportation and I do not want it to dictate what I wear (except pencil skirts, those are crazy – unless you convert it!).

If you are interested in learning how, read on!

Three major factors determine how successfully you can bike in a long dress: the dress, the bike, and the technique.

The Dress

Must allow enough freedom to move your legs in a cycling motion. The skirt needs to be relatively full or made of stretchy material with a slit, such as the one pictured above. Test the dress’s bike-ability before leaving (or purchasing) by doing some knee-lifts.

The Bike

Must have several characteristics to work with a long dress, unless you tie your dress up by your knees. First, a step-through frame (has anyone done this with a diamond frame??). Second, a covered chain to keep the skirt from being eaten and/or greased up. Third, a skirt guard if the skirt is full, so it won’t get pulled in the rear wheel spokes. Note that this was not an issue with the dress and bike above. Fourth, fenders, otherwise your skirt will rub against the rear tire. Finally, a clean frame is a good idea, since your dress will rub against it a fair bit.

The Technique

For the most part, you can bike as normal. You may benefit from hitching the skirt up a bit, to provide more give around the thighs. Experiment to determine what works best for each dress. You may also want to dismount fully at stoplights, to reduce stress on the seams of the skirt.

Here is a quick video that covers the topic. I did this on the fly yesterday, since I happened to be wearing a long dress. I’m not a professional film-maker, so not the best quality video ever, but I hope simply seeing someone bike in a long dress is helpful.

Have any of you biked in a long dress or skirt? I’d love to hear stories and additional tips in the comments! Please feel free also to share photos, via either html or links.

{For more advice, come out to my The Lady and the Bike class in Chicago tomorrow!}

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Fashion Friday: Beautiful Beige

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.

P.S. HAPPY JUNE!

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Fail: spandex shorts under dress

We’ve been talking a lot about dealing with unruly skirts and dresses recently.  I shared my experiences of tying my skirt and stapling my dress.  To avoid such a faux pas in the future, I decided to wear my old Nike spandex shorts (no padding) under suspicious new dresses.

Such was the case with a dress I thrifted last week (ahem, new with Nordstrom tags, I gotta brag).  The skirt was full and the fabric light, making the dress a candidate for floating-up-with-the-wind syndrome, so I threw my spandex shorts underneath and thought I managed to be both clever and chic.

Um, nope!

I realized only when I got this film photo back from the lab that the outline of the shorts was totally visible under the dress fabric.

*sigh*  The dress never behaved inappropriately on the bike, anyway.  Such is life, I suppose.

At this point, the garter-belt-pinned-to-dress idea is looking like the best.  I’m noting that for the future.  :)

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A Spring Saturday Bike Ride

Saturday morning, I met up with my friend Araidia for a brunch and thrift shop expedition. Of course, we biked, which was half the fun!

There are so many beautiful spring flowers in bloom, we each found one to match our helmets.

Araidia’s a purple Bern…

…and mine a pink Nutcase.

We chatted freely along the way, either riding side-by-side or dropping back into single-file when a car approached. The route and area were new to me, so Araidia led the way.  Since she took us along a very quite path, there were few cars and no stress.

We biked through a college campus…

parks…

…and neighborhood streets.

Our destination was the Albany Park neighborhood. Once there, we enjoyed a Swedish brunch at Tre Kronor and thrifting at Village Discount Outlet, where I scored two dresses and three skirts (including an Elie Tahari and a Ralph Lauren) for $37 and Araidia found the awesome pink bag in the photos.

Here is a short little video of our ride through Albany Park. (The song is Jenny Mayhem, “All the World.”)

I returned home five hours after I left, feeling very good about my day – and entitled to some cake and wine after biking nine miles. :)

Did you spend some quality time on your bike this weekend?

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Convert Your Skirt!

This morning, I met up with my friend Elizabeth at Heritage Bikes for a quick breakfast before continuing on to work.  Bikes and coffee and friends is a lovely way to start the day!

While there, I met Sarah, one of Elizabeth’s high school friends visiting from Berkeley.  She showed us her clever creation, a restrictive pencil skirt that she made bike-able by replacing the side seams with zippers and sewing in extra fabric.

The surprise pop of color is so fun!

At the office, you’re wearing a regular pencil skirt and then before getting on you bike at the end of the day, you unzip the sides and viola.  Here’s a short demonstration video.

Sarah has a website, Skirts on a Bike, where you can download instructions on how to convert your own skirt.  She plans to start selling kits complete with zippers and fabric in the future.

I have a few pencil skirts and dresses that I love but rarely wear due to not being able to ride my bike with them. I think it’s time to convert some skirts! :)

Has anyone else tried something like this?

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Made in Montreal Bike Dress

In a recent comment, LC of Naturally Cycling: Manchester made a great point, saying:

I have made a conscious decision of buying less but buying good quality and ethically made. So I would be happy to pay more for an item of clothing if I know (and it’s certified) that it’s made ethically, for example the workers are paid a fair living wage, the materials are of certified origins (i.e. organic cotton, fair trade etc).

If the price tag is high just because it’s ‘fashion’, then no, I am not willing to shell out so much money. But if it means workers have not been exploited then yes.

I totally agree with this philosophy.  Buying fewer things that are high quality and ethically made makes sense all around.  Although I sometimes slip up, I try to apply this reasoning to all my purchases.  (I sort of get a free pass at thrift stores, which is one reason thrifting is so fun.)

In this spirit, while visiting Marche Bonsecours in Montreal, I purchased a dress that was designed and made in the city.  The price was high compared to a mass market dress, but I was willing to pay more to support a local Montreal designer.  Plus, bicycle print!

The designer is Eve Lavoie.  I could not find much about her online, except this shop that sells her clothing.

Do you have a shopping philosophy?

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Wardrobe Malfunction: Tying my skirt

The other day, I wore a full pleated skirt to work, one I had worn while bicycling many times in the past with no problem.  I must have been riding Betty Foy and not Oma those previous times (like here), because this time the skirt kept ballooning up with wind and blowing back.  While the slightly leaned-forward positioning of Betty Foy causes the wind to push skirts down more securely against my thighs, Oma’s laid-back positioning can have the opposite effect.

For a while, I biked one-handed while using the other hand to hold down the skirt, but even that was not enough to tame it.  Eventually I pulled over, grabbed a ponytail holder from my bag, and tied up one side of my skirt, which worked, although it was wrinkled afterward.

Ta-da!

I was really annoyed by this situation at the time.  I know there are lots of people (both bicyclists and non-bicyclists) who think bicycling in a skirt is silly, and I probably looked like Exhibit No. 1 in support of their opinion out there, but I know that bicycling in a skirt is perfectly reasonable.   I do it all the time without incident and never have to worry about changing at my destination.

I should not care what others think, but I am cognizant of being a rarity out there and I want to represent well the idea of everyday bicycling.

In the end, the solution was easy enough – fast, effective and free – and I will simply make a mental note of this particular skirt’s limitations.

See also, Stapling my skirt.

P.S. Since we’ve been talking a lot about pricy specialty bicycling clothes lately, I’ll point out that this skirt, the pearl necklace, and the cashmere sweater all came from thrift stores.

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Bike Winter Fashion Show – Friday!

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

I’m in love with the Pashley Princess Britannia I was riding, courtesy of Boulevard Bikes. (I have a long and documented obsession with Pashleys.)

And I may have to buy this vintage 60’s tweed cape suit.  (As well as the blue velvet dress I chose as my evening look!)  Check out Lucite Box for some fabulous vintage clothing and housewares.

Me and Pashley by Martha Williams

You gotta check out the preview photos for all the lovely ladies at Bike Fancy. They look amazing! Such a fabulous collection of portraits.

Martha at Work

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.

More info on the Facebook page.

P.S. After Martha finished with my photos, she spotted this little girl bicycling in the park. Sweet!

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