You may have noticed the tumbleweeds drifting around here in the last few weeks since I took up a second job. This has meant that time online has been slashed, but on the other hand, I have had plenty of opportunity to consider Furs, Flowers and Lace, its origins and its direction.
If you have been following since the blog first began on Livejournal.com you will recall that it started out as an experiment and a catalogue of what did and didn’t work for me as a new cyclist in London. “Furs, flowers and lace” is something of a mission statement, a commitment towards my personal style and maintaining it against the odds as I learned to leave my travelcard at home and set out on two wheels.
There is a common misconception that city cyclists are red light jumping tarmac warriors armed with lycra shorts, Specialized helmets and clip in pedals. When I bought my first bicycle I got a builder-style HiVis vest, a couple of pairs of canvas trainers and aired out an assortment of vests, tees and comfortable trousers that hadn’t seen daylight for many a year. It was probably the most practical I’ve ever been on my bicycle, but as it turns out, the accepted practical way isn’t always the best way to do something, and it certainly isn’t the only way. So after a month or so of pony tails and hareem pants i put away my so-called cycling gear and slipped on a pair of ballet pumps instead.
This picture unfortunately lives on to document my ‘conventional cyclist’ phase, and you’ll notice the yellow vest that was hastily removed as soon as I saw the camera.
You’ve probably gathered that colourful or not, no number of Babycham trainers and Accessorize handbags could console the fact that I’m just not a tee and jeans sort of girl. And it turns out that you don’t need to be.
- The first step in identifying your cycle-chic personality is to simply step away from the stereotypes. As a new cyclist, if you don’t usually wear trainers, there’s no reason why you should change your wardrobe along with your mode of transport. When you’re on the road you need to make sure that you’re comfortable so that you’re not wasting energy in clothing that restricts you .
- Become an expert in shopping for the purpose: recognise that certain fabrics are more breathable and that certain cuts are less practical. Avoid synthetics and thin paper-like cottons. Avoid mini skirts, taylored skirts and maxi skirts. Invest in shorts to wear under your dress in summer when thick tights are a no-go.
- Do your research! Hi-Vis needn’t be garish! I got a pink vest from ebay, and traded in my helmet for a Bern Muse EPS. There’s a lot more choice in the UK for savvy cyclists, and now I’ve even traded my Bern for a patriotic Union Jack Nutcase. Upgrading to something more you needn’t be expensive either, just keep your ear to the ground for discounts and bargains.
- Sensible heels are still sensible on wheels! I have branded these the Comfort Heel and what you need to look out for is a good chunky mid-height heel that may have a strap to keep it secure of your foot if it’s not a perfect fit. These shoes are guaranteed to be chic, sturdy on your pedals and you won’t have to worry about carrying flats or compromising an outfit.
- Stick to your guns. My style is classic with a twist, so sensible heels are perfect when teamed with reflective spats, these are by Two N Fro. Plus Cath Kidston stocks some cycle-perfect zipped oilcloth bags and rucksacks that will keep the rain off the contents of your handbag.