Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bending Over In Front of Strangers: Cycling Fashion Tips

Call me a metro-sexual-cyclist, admitingly; I know who Stacy and Clinton are.  I wish they rode bikes or at least could magically appear as a pop up when people try to buy day-glo yellow and green tree frog jerseys online.  I wish TLC could do an episode of What Not To Wear about cyclists.  How cool would it be to nominate “that guy” who showed up on the last group ride?  Man, what I wouldn’t give to have Stacy and Clinton put them through the 360 degreee mirror of shame, throw out their entire cycling wardrobe, show them some examples of stylish looking cyclists and let them loose with a bankroll to spend. 

I only want you to look good on your bike.  Stacy and Clinton would say look the part, get clothes that fit and dress it up, pure and simple.  You don’t wear dusty fuzzy slippers to church, sweat stained clothes to a job interview or ripped jeans to your grandma’s.  Granted a group ride is no where as formal as a job interview, but I can't think of another sport where you spend most of your time bending over in front of strangers.  I shouldn’t be able to see the Grand Canyon through your threadbare shorts.  No one at the pre-ride chat should ever have to smell a week old funk from your trunks, even if you rode to the start of the ride.  Maybe there should be a shelf life sticker on cycling clothes, like: the specialness of this pro team jersey will sour upon the dismantling of the team.  Or, there could be warning labels such as: WARNING, this oversized yellow jersey may appear “comfortable,” but it will make you look like Big Bird. 

Look the part.  Riding with the racers, look like a racer, but don’t be a poseur wearing sponsor clothing if you’re not a sponsored rider.  Riding with the clubbers, skip the logos and find something that fits snug and matches.  Yellow and Black only match on Taxi’s.  Quit embarrassing Jimmy Page and save the Led Zeppelin jersey for the trainer.  Going to the coffee shop?  Wear what people wear at coffee shops, like uh, maybe, something not spandex.  No one sipping mocha wants to see how big your swizzle stick and beans are. 

Dress it up.  Realize that cycling fashion and cycling clothes have a shelf life.  Sorry to break it to ya, the purple jersey you got to match your anodized parts in 1992 is sooo 1992.  Not even the pros look good in yellow jerseys.  This year’s cycling shoes don’t come with laces.  Fabric should be thick enough so your hinder hairs don’t corkscrew through.  Jackets shouldn’t annoyingly flag flap in the wind or poof into an incredible hulk of a pup tent. 

If you forget every thing I just said, please remember this one simple last thought.  When you get dressed for your next group ride, ask yourself, “What would I wear if someone’s face was two feet from my ass?” 

For ideas check out the Velo Vogue Blog here.

1 comment:

cincycling said...

okay, i'll admit i'm a little cool to the whole velo vogue thing, but i get you: i've been known to wear a coordinated kit to ride the trainer, right down to the team cycling cap.

of course, i'm also a guy who just last year got rid of a 15-year old PI jersey not because of the permastink (which was very real), but because the back was sunfaded gray, while the belly was still blue. man, that jersey was comfy, and neutral: perfect for my unattached riding.

i do have a bit of a reaction to guys wearing full pro kits, but i have the same reaction to grown men wearing lebron james jerseys. wear your own team's colors, or find something neutral.

i know he's not fashionable right now, but i love the account of Floyd Landis's first-ever road race (as told in LA's War): he threw on some godawful combination of shorts and shirt, added knee-high socks to round out the fred look, and TOLD the field before the race that he was going to win. and did, of course.

be careful of assuming anything about a rider's capabilities from the quality/compatibility of his or her kit. or something like that. --shannon