Revisiting Bike Fashion Options

I recently realized that I haven’t done much with women’s bike fashion outside of my own sewing projects (and admittedly I’ve gotten a bit away from making *everything* reflective and/or bike friendly). I haven’t done much non-commute biking a far too long, either, so it’s been a bit off my radar. I thought that maybe I’d be inspired to both bike and refocus my sewing if I found some great resources out there, so naturally I poked around on the Internet a bit. However, I found what I sort of suspected – there isn’t much going on.

Well that’s disappointing.

It’s not like there isn’t anything going on, of course. Here is my round up of options for the stylist city cyclist.

Resolute Bay

Resolute Bay recently released their women’s cycling jeans. Naturally I love the reflective details! (Resolute Bay is working on a really cool reflective jacket too – for men.) But man, these jeans look tight on the model – how are normal sized women supposed to feel about that? Maybe I’m feeling overly sensitive after realizing how much weight I gained this summer (oops, not biking enough) but I can’t get excited about tight jeans.

Ligne 8

Ligne 8 is still around and has added more pieces since I looked last time, including “cycling gear,” which seem to be geared towards the road bike crowd – jerseys, padded shorts, bibs. I love the “urban” collection of A-line skirts, basic shirts, and several non-jeans pants.   I wish I could afford to order some of these pieces to see what they feel and wear like, but alas, they are out of my price range. That is – I’d rather spend the money on fabric! Still, it’s a nice collection of wardrobe basics for the woman (or man) who likes to look classic and classy on the bike and at the destination.

Reid Miller Apparel

I met Reid Miller in DC a few years ago and backed her cycling jeans on Kickstarter, which are my favorite cycling jeans. Reid has been busy with her company and blogging about the the sustainable manufacturing journey she has been on over the last two years.  I’ve read her updates with interest as she examines fast fashion and it’s negative impact on the garment industry in the United States. You can still order her Riding Jeans, and she is relaunching the Riding Jacket this fall, but if nothing else, I recommend reading some of her blog posts.

Here I am in August 2015, trying on the Reid Miller jacket and jeans

The Willary

The Willary is a new company that has gained many fans among the women I follow on social media. The company’s tagline is “A wardrobe that works” and each piece of the Core Wardrobe is made of stain resistant, stretch fabrics in classic shapes. I love the dress, the Core Dress, which to me is one of those perfect travel pieces (I live in this fantasy that I travel alot and need things that work for every destination, haha!). It’s short and doesn’t seem quite bike-friendly enough, but that’s no reason to not like it! I do like the way they have approached different body shapes, as explained in their video. I hope they have the opportunity to expand their collection; I’ll be keeping an eye on it.

The Willary Core Dress (Image from The Willary website)



REI seems to have redone their Novara brand because the cycling clothing has moved away from the casual, everyday clothing I used to like and now only seems to have “biking” clothing. That’s disappointing, and makes me like the pieces I still have, like my Whittier Dress from 2014 (!!!).

When this dress was new – THREE years ago!

Anything Else?

There must be more out there for the everyday person who happens to ride a bike and not want to wear spandex. I do like T Athleta and Title Nine , but most of their things are still pretty sporty for my tastes. Terry Bicycles often has some non-spandex options. And since I don’t wear jeans often, cycling jeans aren’t what I’m looking for. So help me out and introduce me to collections I have missed!

2015 in Review: More Sewing, Less Biking

Hard to believe 2015 is already almost over! Christmas was barely over when every news agency and social media platform started trumpeting reviews of the year – hey, we still have a week! Nevertheless, I was curious to see what my nine best Instagram photos were:

Instagram 2015 Best Nine: Ironically, three are old photos I posted for a sewing challenge! (Top left, top right, bottom left)

Instagram 2015 Best Nine: Ironically, three are old photos I posted for a sewing challenge! (Top left, top right, bottom left)

Looking over 2015, I realized that I did indeed do waaaay more sewing than biking. I made 18 garments this year! Two pieces were for other people, but regardless, that is more than I made in 2012-2014 total (I made a total of 15 things in those three years)! That also doesn’t include the American Girl Doll things for my niece, plus two attempts at reflective bucket bags. Guess I was indeed madly sewing away. No wonder I’ve gotten so out of shape – I really haven’t done much biking beyond my daily commutes and errand running.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As with most sewing, there are things I love and things I don’t. My favorites are the Liberty of London blouse I just finished and wore to Christmas dinner with the in-laws; the Bike word skirt; the color-blocked dress; the hummingbird blouse; the culottes; and the “antique” floral blouse. I love the way the reflective trim turned out in that.

It’s not that I didn’t do *any* biking – The Mechanic and I did the CASA River Ride in Shepherdstown, WV, again, and we did some mountain biking with friends.

I did participate in some bike events – BikeArlington’s Balaklava and Baklava sewing events; the Women’s Bicycle Forum during the National Bike Summit; a Ladies’ Night at Revolution Cycles; tested out Forest and Fin’s Bicycle Wrap Skirt; a bike rodeo for some elementary school children over the summer; and Reid Miller’s bicycle fashion trunk show.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So it was a busy bike-y year – just not not as much on-the-saddle, long-distance bike riding as previous years.

My goal for 2016 is to figure out how to balance these out a bit more. Of course, I’m already planning 5 or more sewing projects for the near future, so no sign of slowing down there! And The Mechanic and I are going to sell our road bikes and replace them with something more suitable to what our interests are. I’m currently thinking we need folding bikes, so we can take them with us when we travel. And there there may be plenty of travel in 2016, depending on how things shake out!

I always enjoy planning, especially for a new year. Expect to see a more formal 2016 Goals blog post next week. I can’t help it – planning, dreaming, scheming, creating… These are the best things! Balancing it all out so that it ALL happens is where I tend to get stuck.


In Which I Try on Reid Miller Apparel

Last week, Washington DC favorite bike shop Bicycle Space in Adams Morgan hosted an evening for Reid Miller Apparel, so we could go try on the pieces from her Kickstarter collection. Naturally, I was eager to go, and carefully plotted out my Capital Bikeshare route to Adams Morgan. I hadn’t been to the new location, and boy was it beautiful! Bicycle Space Adams MorganReid was there with her display set up right in front, when I arrived, already helping some women try on the tweed blazers.

I’m a sucker for tweed, I confess (raised on BBC murder mysteries. Jeremy Brett is still my god), and I love that Reid is using Harris Tweed for her tweed jacket.

Mmmm... Harris Tweed...

Mmmm… Harris Tweed…

Reid Miller 4

Don’t I look like I should be biking through fall leaves, on my way to pick apples and my Halloween pumpkin?

Even though wearing wool makes my skin itch like  you wouldn’t believe, I tried on everything – the tweed blazer, the merino wool waffle sweater, and the jeans. I love them all – but can only wear the jeans. So please take my comments with a grain of salt – if you love biking in wool, you will love these pieces! Reid Miller 10 Reid Miller 11The jacket is cut large so that it will fit over whatever bulky sweater and scarf you might be wearing, and the sleeves are long, to accommodate your wrists as you reach for the handlebars. I love the zipped pockets, especially the one in the center back. The waffle weave merino sweater is lovely – squishy textured wool in three lovely fall colors; I gravitated towards the burgundy, which coordinated quite well with the purple Danskos I was wearing. I love waffle weave anything, because I like the texture, and this was just thick and sturdy and clearly high quality wool. A classic that I’m sure you’ll return to again and again.

I love the jeans. The sizing and fit survey that Reid sent out earlier this year resulted in this, a pair of skinny jeans that are cut more generously for women with cycling thighs and calves. Several of us tried them on, and we all looked good in them, standing next to each other. The waist is high in the back, and dips slightly in the front – not enough to catch the pooch (not that any of us have that, right?), but not crazy high. The legs are really long, which I love – this means I don’t *have* to cuff the legs to make it less obvious that they are not long enough. The denim is stretchy yet somehow sturdy at the same time, and the fit, well, I was really in love with the fit. I have both the Ligne 8 jeans and the Levi’s Commuter jeans, and I like these better. They are not as tight-skinny as the Levi’s, which ironically I rarely wear while biking because they are too tight. They are stretchier denim than the Ligne 8, and the cut of the waist is more flattering than the Ligne 8s as well. There isn’t any reflective trim on them, but you know me – I almost always have something reflective on anyway, so no loss there.  Oh yes, the jeans also have a reinforced crotch. These jeans I just might wear so often that this feature becomes useful!

There are only a few days left for Reid’s Kickstarter campaign. The garments are expensive, but will last for years of bicycle riding. The jeans are made in El Paso, TX, where my brother and sister-in-law live, which was another reason I backed them (not that either work in the garment industry, but still, it helps their city’s economy); the sweaters in Los Angeles, and the jacket in San Jose, Costa Rica (I can only imagine what they must think of the heavy tweed!). I have my fingers crossed for the continued success of Reid Miller and her apparel line! It’s nice to have one more woman thinking of things women might want when they ride their bicycles, and then try to bring them to the market. I heard whispers of Spring garments and hope to see those out soon too. I wish her well, and look forward to biking around this fall in my Reid Miller jeans!

Good luck, Reid!

Twinsies! Good luck, Reid!



ICYMI: Reid Miller Apparel on Kickstarter

There’s another bike fashion line in town! Reid Miller Apparel has recently launched on Kickstarter, and Reid will be in Washington, DC, in a few weeks to showcase her line. I’m excited about this line because I met Reid at the National Forum on Women & Bicycling this past March and we talked about the fit of women’s clothing. She conducted a survey on women’s bicycling clothing this spring, complete with detailed measurements, because she knows that the average woman isn’t actually shaped like a fashion model – you can read her thoughts on this here. I don’t know how many responses she got from her measurements, but I hope mine skewed the average on the fuller size. Skinny jeans for not skinny legs? Yes please!

Reid has created three pieces of clothing for her first collection, basics that many women will want in their wardrobe as classics for years to come – jeans, a crew neck sweater, and a tweed blazer – and pieces that can be worn together and stand on their own.

Although I don’t need another pair of bicycle jeans, I want to try these on because I know how much research she’s done on fit and sizing, and has designed skinny jeans that aren’t cut for skinny women (Levi’s Commuter Jeans, I’m looking at you). Also, I really like the stitch detailing on the back pockets. The jeans have a high waist in the back and a reinforced crotch, and are a nice classic dark denim. RMA-112 RMA-113 (1)The sweater looks lovely – except that I can’t wear wool (and before you ask, *yes* I have tried on cashmere and *yes* I have tried on merino and *yes* I’m old enough to know that wearing wool drives me nuts because it is SO ITCHY and I can feel it through linings). I know what many people who bike love wearing wool because it is natural, moisture-wicking and doesn’t hold the stink the way many tech fabrics do. And I love that she chose to go with a waffle weave for some texture. I’m all about texture. Actually, I really love that burgundy color and could see myself wearing that a lot. RMA-070 (3) RMA-081 (4)The most gorgeous piece, however, is the tweed blazer. I have such a weakness for tweed blazers! This one will last forever, because it is made with Harris Tweed, the king of tweeds. Only woven in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, this fabric is worth it’s weight in gold. Smart to create a blazer out of this. Even smarter, though, are some of the bike-friendly details in the coat: longer sleeves, center back box pleat for movement, extra buttons in front to snuggle against the cold and wind, zip pockets in the front, and I especially love the center back pocket – brilliant! RMA-047 (2)I want to try this on as well, because I want to see how it’s lined. Luckily I will soon get a chance to! Reid is doing a trunk show at Bicycle Space, one of the best bike shops in Washington, DC. I haven’t been to the Adams Morgan location yet, which is where the trunk show will be, so I’ll get to cross off another thing from my to-do list. That will be on Thursday, August 13, from 7-9pm, so if you are in the area, come join us! If not, look for a write-up afterwards.

If you don’t need to wait for my thoughts after seeing these pieces in person, get thee to the Kickstarter and pick your prize! There are a range of options (I want the handkerchief just because I like the design), from smaller support amounts to all three pieces at once. The Kickstarter page also has information about the production of each piece, her production timeline, and stretch goals. I’d really love to see what she has up her sleeve for the Spring 2016 line, so let’s help her get there! RMA-090 (1)All photos courtesy of Reid Miller


ICYMI: March Mostly Clothing

March was full of clothing-related stuff, or so it seemed to me, but we did squeeze in some bike advocacy, to protest proposed cuts to the bike/walk programs. I haven’t really gone to anything like this before and was proud of The Mechanic and I for literally standing up for what we believe in, as we stood in support of all three speakers supporting our cause.  The Mechanic took some great video of my reflective pants but I haven’t had time to edit that to share. Soon.

It had been a long time since our bikes were out on the town together! A little advocacy brought them out.

It had been a long time since our bikes were out on the town together! A little advocacy brought them out.

In other news, here is what else happened in March:

Reid Miller is a woman I met at the National Forum on Women & Bicycling, someone who also is interested in changing the apparel market for women’s bike clothes. She is currently conducting a survey of measurements, to create more realistic sizes of women’s clothing. Although you might not necessarily look at the numbers, I urge you to take her survey and add your measurements to mine. Share this survey far and wide – the more women-who-bike that take this survey, the better representation there will be!

– Speaking of bike clothing, did you see this Bike League Tweet about Fiks:Reflective? What do you think about this quote? “Safety sells to mothers and then sits in the bottom of a drawer.” I agree with making reflective safety gear cool and hip and desirable, and enjoy their tee shirts and wheel stripes. I’d get the wheel stripes before I’d wear the tee shirts, but I love what they are trying to do. Bike League Tweet

– Another Kickstarter bike product caught my eye, thanks to a feature on the VeloJoy website: the Lux Bicycle Pedal. This is a strap designed with fashion in mind; in fact, the quilting on it was inspired by Chanel. Can’t go wrong there! I love this Kickstarter product because I love my Power Grips but they are getting worn out, and when/if I get Fauntleroy repainted, he’ll need something fancier. My birthday isn’t that far away – maybe I can talk The Mechanic into Kickstarting me a pair!

Lux Bicycle Pedal (image from website)

Lux Bicycle Pedal (image from website)

– I did some biking around on Capital Bikeshare bikes. Seriously, I love these bikes. They are pretty much everywhere, easy to use (especially if you have an annual membership. If you want one, get it before May 1, when the membership goes up to $85 a year. Still a bargain though!), seem indestructible (although I know they are not), and best of all – you don’t have to do any maintenance on them! Although that seems like a work pitch, I really love those CaBi bikes. And speaking of work, here’s a blog post I wrote for the work blog about my commute. Does the photo look familiar?!

On a CaBi bike near Northside Social in Clarendon

On a CaBi bike near Northside Social in Clarendon

– During our REI outting, we studied the new Ghost bikes. I pretty much love these bikes because they are German, a variant on my favorite color combination, and matte. Technical details, who cares?!? A woman’s bike that isn’t pink! Or perhaps women’s mountain bikes don’t have the pink-affliction that other genres do; I haven’t looked at enough. The Mechanic is familiar with these bikes, and we were excited to see them in person. So was Edgar. He likes them because he matches.

Now it’s April, and a busy month awaits. So too does Springtime weather, at least, we all hope it does! I’m looking forward to wearing skirts and dresses again. I can’t wait to try out my new Bikie Girl Bloomers, but I may also consider restocking my selection of Jockey Skimmies Slipshorts. Jockey has come out with a few variations, and the wicking ones are on my list for summer. Skirts are cool but wicking Slipshorts has got to be cooler!

Perfect for preserving modesty!

Perfect for preserving modesty! (image from website)

And looking ahead – if you are in Arlington (VA, not TX!), there are two women-specific events coming up that I encourage you to check out. One is next week, the BikeArlington Zen Around the City Yoga & Biking for Women event on Tuesday, April 7th. The one they hosted two years ago was a huge success, so make sure to check out this one! And I noticed that the Revolution Cycles shop in Clarendon had a sign out for a Ladies’ Night on April 15th. I’ll probably go to this, and see which non-biking friend I can drag with me. RSVP soon and see you there!

Really guys? Pink and purple? This is why I love the orange and teal Ghost bike.

Really guys? Pink and purple? This is why I love the orange and teal Ghost bike.