When it comes to buying clothing and accessories for stylish city cycling, I love Ann DeOtte’s less-is-more philosophy.
“While we shouldn’t have to buy a lot of gear to ride,” says the founder of Seattle-based cycling apparel company Iva Jean, “the items that we do should be fashionable and functional, working on and off our bikes.”
It reminds me of the oft-quoted “secret” to the seemingly effortless style of Parisian women: Invest in a few timeless, well-cut and beautifully made garments, then accessorize!
Click here to support DeOtte’s Kickstarter for Iva Jean!
DeOtte, who introduced her Iva Jean Rain Cape in 2011, is among the growing cadre of entrepreneurs seeking to inspire more women to ride bikes for transportation and fun. DeOtte gave up her car in favor of bicycling to work and around town in 2007. It is her passion and her discoveries about freedom of movement, visibility and comfort on a bicycle that inform the thoughtful details and features of her exciting new line for 2013.
Within the four-piece collection, designed and produced in Seattle, a stand-out is the Reveal Skirt. Like DeOtte, I love the feminine qualities and versatility of a tailored black, straight skirt. But, as we all know, the narrow line makes pedaling difficult. Constructed of 4-way stretch fabric, the Reveal Skirt incorporates a back zipper that opens to liberate a panel of extra fabric for comfort and ease on a bike. Once you reach your destination – office, cocktail party – close the zipper, and voilà, the straight skirt is back. An invisible side zipper and darts reinforce the tailored look. There’s also a hidden pocket at the waist for a credit card, key or ID.
Pair the skirt with the Iva Jean organic cotton Daily Blouse (below), with its roomy fit, plus a back pleat for comfort when reaching toward the handlebars.
The versatile Two-Way Reflective Vest (below) for cycling safety after dark is fully reversible. It comes in one size and can be styled to flatter the body using a simple, pull-cord system.
The new Rain Cape, water-resistant in its first iteration, is now made of waterproof fabric. For rain protection on the bike, place hands through interior loops. Other key features include a high collar and an adjustable billed hood for use with or without a helmet.
With these basics in your closet, you’ll be set with pretty and fuss-free cycling pieces to complement your wardrobe, no matter where the road takes you. Kickstarter funding will help DeOtte develop and produce the 2013 collection.
Photos: Kyle Johnson