Oct 152011
 
Water off a Duck's Back

Not sure what to wear out on the bike? Don’t fancy lycra? We investigate the options available in the women’s cycle clothing market.

There is good news for all those women who want to avoid being clad in lycra and instead want something a little bit different and with a sense of style. There is a growing base of designers and manufacturers catering for you and providing both fashion and functionality in women’s cycle clothing.

It’s nice to look good

One such company is Water off a Duck’s Back, which makes women’s cycling coats and jackets, and is a Going Going Bike webstore partner. Founder Antonia Maybury set up her company after being disappointed at the range of cycling gear available for women that combined comfort, practicality and style.

Antonia told us that a growing number of women wanted clothing that they could wear on the bike, but also felt happy to wear out normally. This theme is central to her design ethos when making women’s cycle clothing.

“Cycling today is no longer purely the remit of the female bicycle enthusiast. It is now becoming more popular with people using their bicycles as a mode of transport.  This new type of women cyclist is different from your Lycra clad sporty type. These cyclists, whilst wanting to arrive safe and sound at their destination, also want to look good/normal while they are doing it.”

Why does it matter? For the same reason that you buy attractive clothes to wear during the day – it’s nice to look good, Antonia told us.

“When you hop onto a bike this highly honed fashion sense is not all of a sudden stripped away from you.  It still exists, it just has no outlet.”

So don’t despair! There is cycle clothing out there that can be stylish and comfortable for women. To assist you with your selections we’ve put together some practical clothing tips for whatever cycling you get up to (with a few fashionable recommendations along the way).

Commute

What to wear whilst commuting is a bugbear for many cyclists. Particularly if your office doesn’t offer good changing facilities. The thought of going into the first meeting of the day flushed and sweaty, following a ride in the heat, or soaked to the bone, after a wet winter ride, is enough to put even the most enthusiastic cyclists off.

However, some of the new women’s cycling manufacturers are making clothes which can be combined with office-wear so that you don’t have to dress too differently for the daily work commute. For example, normal working attire can be protected from the rain with a good cycling jacket. Rapha’s women’s cycling range features an array of tailored women’s cycling jackets with a sportier outlook.

For a more formal, smart look, we are also big fans of these waterproof coats from Waters off a Duck’s Back which provides both style and practicality. The hidden reflective panels are a brilliant touch that any cyclist will be grateful for.

If you are looking for an alternative cycling raincoat design and look, then look no further than these colourful designs from Cambridge Raincoat Co.

Leisure

For leisure cycling rides or trips, your lifestyle and sense of fashion can come into play even more than on the commute to work. Because you are able to choose the pace you ride and the conditions you cycle in you can wear whatever you fancy, whether it’s your favourite skirt, pair of shorts, or dress. It’s completely up to you.

Up top, we prefer to wear something a bit looser fitting to keep the glow down. American brand Terry has a fantastic range of casual skirts, shorts and dresses that have been made with cycling and style in mind.

There is also a growing number of designers/clothing manufacturers, such as Nona Vardano, that are producing fashionable bike friendly clothing which takes advantage of new technical innovations in material to produce designs that look good as well as being super comfortable.

For instance, this Daily Riding Pantfrom US firm Outlier may seems to us to be just the thing to blur the lines between work and play. The fabric used in the trouser is waterproof, can shed dirt and also dries fast. Three quarter length trousers/capris are also a great alternative to the lycra. This option from Swrve looks good to us, with its ultra-cool urban feel.

The Outlier Daily Riding Pant

Sport

For those of you who enjoy going out on longer rides, for fitness or competition, it is no longer a case of having to stick with lycra. Fashion is never far away in this segment of the women’s’ cycle clothing market. Stella McCartney’s take on active cycling wear is a case in point. Specialist women’s cycle clothing retailer Minx-Girl.com also does a good range of more fashion centric shorts.

Women’s cycling shorts don’t have to be skin tight either. Baggy shorts, like these from American brand Zoic, come with built in padding and are increasingly popular among women riders. These shorts don’t confine themselves to a boring design print either.

Other good brands which make specific women’s cycle clothing in the sport arena are Pearl Izumi, Sugoi, Icebreaker and Altura.

Zebra print cycling jersey by Stella McCartney

Accessories

On-bike accessories provide an added sense of style that will brighten up even the most mundane outfit, whatever type of cycling you are up to.

Wearing a helmet is very much an issue of personal choice (where fit is paramount) but this doesn’t mean you have to wear something plain. Pushbike Honey have a number of imaginative graphic detailing on the helmets they supply. Check them out on our webstore.

Cycling gloves don’t have to be dull either, check the attitude in these Bow Peep gloves from Ana Nichoola for instance.  Panniers or a colourful rucksack are good opportunities to brighten up your bike. We like this pannier from Pushbike Honey.

We shouldn’t ignore the opportunity for some bling jewellery, cycle inspired of course, while this ingenious handbag called the Bike Klutch can snap into place on a belt or on the top tube of your bicycle. Finally, we think the Little Yellow Bag with a lock holster from Fabric Horse is really cute too.

Ana Nichoola Bow Peep Gloves (image used courtesy of 2wheelchick blog)

 

See also

Buying a bike that fits a woman

Beginners guide to commuting by bike

 

  3 Responses to “Style and substance in women’s cycle clothing”

  1. And if you do like the traditional style cycle jersey, but with an innovative and fun look, check these out.  Lots of choice for the ladies.  Even more designs coming to the UK soon!
     

  2. Another great site is Minx Girl. Cool, sytlish and practical clothing & accessories for ladies wot bike :-) http://www.minx-girl.com/

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