Reflective Thoughts for Fall

And….. it’s Fall! The temperatures have dropped, with a frost advisory overnight last night and chilly temps for the bike ride to work – overnight lows in the upper 30s! Besides digging out the warm bike gloves and the ear pads for my Nutcase helment, I’m happy to bring out my fabulous Dashing Tweeds reflective coat.

I love this coat so much – reflective tweed, OMG, which I bought in London in 2017 AND I think I did a really good job making this McCalls 7667 coat. It fits so well! I finished in this past February, wore it to New York, then haven’t had much chance to wear it again, let alone bike in it. So it’s very exciting to me.

On a slightly warmer day last week, I wore the dusty rose reflective duster I made from Simplicity 8055. I still can’t believe how perfectly the twill matched the red reflective fabric! It’s flat lined, so it has a bit of weight, but it’s not a *warm* jacket, nor is it meant to be. Perfect for over a long sleeved top when the weather peaks in the 60s. And how cool are the reflective “bubbles” on the cuffs?!?

I’ve also worn the reflective brocade Simplicity 8418 bomber jacket I mentioned last week. Lined with flannel-backed satin, it’s warm, even though it’s short. I don’t have any good recent pictures of it reflecting, so here’s two views from when I finished in March.

I need to focus more on reflective outerwear. I think that more should be done to encourage driver awareness, rather than focusing solely on what people walking and riding bikes wear, but I still want to make sure I am visible while I am out in the short, dark winter days. Since I refuse to just through a hi viz safety vest over my regular outfit, I focus instead on what “normal” looking clothes and accessories I can wear that are reflective and lighter colored. I’ve learned a few things along the way, so here are some tips and easy products to help.

Think about where you are going to most be seen while you are walking and biking.  Focus on your back, where you can’t see who is behind you – back, waist, hips, arms, shoulders, feet. Yes, 360* visibility is important, but you can *see* the cars in the front, whereas you can’t from behind you. So make that more visible.

  • Add reflective trim to cuffs, waists, ankles
  • Wear reflective belts – I’ve replaced the belt on my winter coat with one from Vespertine NYC. You can also order reflective grosgrain ribbon to sew or iron onto a webbing belt.
  • Consider painting shoes with reflective paint. Albedo 100 makes a spray paint in two versions – a non-permanent one for textiles, and a permanent one for wood and metal and so on. I tried the textile one on a pair of sneakers many years ago, and am considering doing the side walls of my winter boots.
  • Add reflective trim to gloves – the iron-on Dritz trim should work for this.
  • If you knit, consider reflective yarn for hats and gloves and socks. Red Heart seems to be the go-to brand for this – not the best quality but totally fun!
  • I am currently obsessed with Finnish company Moiko on Instagram – boy do I want their reflective floral heart mittens!!!!
  • Add a fun reflective button from Reflective Society – I know, I said focus on the back, and this is something to wear on the front, but I love her buttons so much! Check out the reflective lace pockets on the jeans, though – hm, total idea….
  • Also in the reflective accessory line, check out Firefly Reflectors. I love my reflective tassels and the adorable soft reflectors, but also check out their stickers and pins. So. Much. Fun. I hadn’t seen their new soft tassels yet – I think one of those will find its way to me this winter… (OMG, this one has *eyes*!!! I need this.)

So there are a handful of ideas to get you started. It’s much easier to be fashionable and visible than you might think, especially if you aren’t a seamstress like me. There’s always a shop on Etsy or elsewhere on the Internet to help you find the perfect reflective pieces, so you are stylish and seen. Warm, well, I can’t help you much there….

A bunch of my reflective accessories reflecting – even shoe laces!