Fashion and bike riding are probably two words not commonly heard positively together. When many hear the word biking, they tend to picture individuals clad in lycra jerseys splattered with logo throw up. However, fashion and biking actually have a history that dates back to the revolution of rational dress movement during the late 19th century. The rational dress movement, whose objective was to move away from the restrictive and impractical victorian-era dress to more functional and freeing garments was largely led by women cyclists. In fact, the invention of bloomers started during the 1890s when the standard modern bike grew immensely popular. The change in silhouette from dresses to pants, aided in changing definitions of femininity and women's wear in Western cultures.
By the turn of the 20th century, with proper cycling trousers becoming increasingly sought-after and pants becoming a necessity for women to wear in industrial jobs during the world wars, designers - from Coco Chanel to Yves Saint Laurent - began crafting new silhouettes that included women in more "masculine" fits. However, it was Claire Mccardel that truly revolutionized lifestyle bicycling wear in designing functional, affordable, and stylish women’s sportswear. By the 1960s, women's wear had decidedly become more casual and, as fashion has evolved throughout the years, the lines between masculine and feminine wear have become blurred. With the broadening of outfit choices, the invention of new materials, and a push towards a more sustainable culture, cycling and fashion have started to become more and more intertwined.
Our story begins on a deceivingly warm November day. I met up with my good friend Alyssa, a thrift shopping guru, casual bike rider, and receptionist at Dragontree Spa, to prepare for PeopleForBikes' debut at Denver Fashion Week. Our goal on this day was to hit as many thrift shops in Boulder as possible to find pieces for a fresh new fit that would allow for comfort on the bike without sacrificing chicness. In order to allow for ample time to shop and sift through clothes while still hitting as many thrift shops as possible.
Leaving the Pedego Bike shop - the start of this route - we quickly zipped away to our first stop: Crossroads!
We started our search in the jackets aisle.
I think traveling has opened up my eyes to what fashionable biking means. When I was traveling around Europe I saw a lot of people on bikes who seemed to have put effort into whatever they were wearing... at least with their outerwear which I think makes an outfit if you want it to look chic. I think that was the first experience I had seeing people try to look good on the bike rather than in a full biking outfit. - Alyssa
Ponchos or Topcoats? Which would fare better on the bike?
Wool is a great material that offers better breathability than cotton, while still keeping you warm.
After placing some items on hold, we made our way to Buffalo Exchange only a couple blocks down.
Sherpa biker jackets, jumpsuits, and snake skin blazers - oh my!
American singer-songwriter, Solange Knowles, famously biked to her wedding in a jumpsuit. A wonderful showcase of bicycling elegance.
Leaving Buffalo Exchange the weather than took a turn. What was once sunny and 60 F, quickly dropped at least 20 degrees. We quickly looked through Ares before making our way to Common Threads - a designer label reseller.
Green velvet pants - oof! - what a find!
I think having a cool pair of sneakers, can really spice up your fit. They're practical, yet if you are wearing something that is fun and colorful on your sneakers, I think you can automatically stop and notice someone on the street. - Alyssa
With the temperature dropping and time running short, we opted to hit one last thrift shop for the day - TRU Hospice. Hidden on the corner of 55th and Arapahoe, this thrift shop is full of gems for low prices. Plus, each purchase helps to benefit TRU Community Care - a Colorado-licensed, Medicare and Medicaid-certified, nonprofit health care organization serving the greater Boulder, Broomfield, Adams, Jefferson, and Weld Counties; with a focus on providing a continuum of care for members of our community living with advanced illness and loss.
A fancy dress blazer or a striking plum velvet jacket?
The key to thrifting is going in without a plan and being patient while you run through hangers upon hangers of clothes. You never know what gem you might find!
With bags packed full of copped finds, we made our way back into the heart of Boulder.
We finished our day at Fuji, warming up with a nice bowl of pho.
Go to https://ridespot.org/rides/137428 to view our debut!