But today, I’m grateful! My height has made me super creative with my outfits. I would like to think it put me ahead of the fashion curve, too, because I’ve seen a lot of my early alterations come into style over the years — like cutting thumb holes in stretchy long sleeve shirts so my wrists were covered or making what would now be called “DIY Raw Frayed Hem Jeans”, a.k.a. cutting the hems off bottoms that otherwise fit me, but stopped at an awkward length.
Growing up (literally) has taught me that we all have our unique style obstacles, whether we’re tall or short, bony or curvy – or anywhere in between! As a fashion-conscious cyclist, I’m excited to share my best tips on how to create your own commuter clothing style. Racking up the Strava miles, I’ve learned that one of the most important outfit accessories is confidence – and that one of the best ways to gain confidence along your commute is to honor your beautiful bicycling body by loving every piece you put on it.
Without further ado, here are my top 5 tips for confidence-boosting (and affordable!) commuter clothing:
1. LAYERS, LAYERS, LAYERS
I pack light layers year round; even on a hot day, it can cool down quite a bit if you’re riding into the evening, and we all know some stores are just plain aggressive with their AC. Some of my go-tos include:
Soak up the sweat with base layers designed to help keep your outer layer dry. I wear a tank top and a pair of slip shorts under my skirt or dress (which are lighter than sports tights, and also protect against sneak peaks when the wind blows).
Keep warm with fleece-lined tights and leggings for the fall and winter months. If you have long arms, I recommend arm warmers to cover the wrist gap on a long sleeved top when I reach for my handle bars. Leg warmers are great because they help keep my boots up and add personality. Sometimes if it’s extra chilly, I’ll double up and pull one pair above the other to peek out over my boots. Scarves are also stylish, easy to pack, and multipurpose. They block the wind, the movement attracts attention (making you a safer cyclist), and can add both a pop of color and welcome warmth on a cold night ride.
Storing them is easy in my Po Campo Uptown Bike trunk bag!
2. DON’T BE AFRAID TO ROCK SKIRTS AND DRESSES
Although not the most aerodynamic outfit, I love biking in skirts and dresses. They’re freeing and functional – I can pedal without worrying about heavy material restricting movement in my thighs and kneecaps. When I’m meeting clients at different locations in the city or going on a social ride. Being able to say #YesIBikedInThis is a major confidence booster.
Cute boots and flowy dresses are like PB & J – they’re just meant to be. Tip: make sure to tuck your dress or skirt forward so the fabric doesn’t get caught in your back wheel.
Knots can be your best friend; sometimes I tie a quick knot in my longer dresses or skirts with a hair tie or just the fabric. Tucking pieces into your base layer shorts also does the trick well.
3. PLAN AHEAD
How far are you traveling over the course of the day, and what does that mean for how comfortable and warm/cooled off you’ll need to be?
When you arrive, where will you be able to stash your bike lights, water bottle, helmet, and layers? Locker, desk, purse?
When you’re about to go shopping for commuter clothing, how do you want to go about it? Thrifting, boutique stores, online, eco-conscious, classic, eclectic — as you develop your own commuter clothing style, notice what makes you happiest on the road and at the checkout counter.
4. WHO DOESN’T LOVE GREAT BAGS AND SHOES?
A keystone of my commuter clothing style is the accessories that allow me to move seamlessly throughout my day!
Bags: I rely on my beloved Po Campo Uptown Bike Trunk Bag or pannier to save me from the dreaded aching back that comes from lugging around a backpack on a bike all day. This way I let my bike, whether it be my personal KHS Flite 150 or a set of Relay Bike Share wheels, take the weight for me. Planning ahead helps me decide what bags I want to carry. I always have my phone charger and lights becasue sometimes bike life takes me on an extended adventure. One cool thing about my Po Campo Trunk bag is that I can attach my lights directly to the outside of my bag.
(Psssst… If you want 10% off your first order with Po Campo, I have an insider code for you! Just enter TImberleyJ-10-17 at the checkout!)
Shoes: I ride clipless and bring an extra pair of shoes if it’s absolutely necessary. I wear simple but stylish ballet flats, gladiator sandals, boots, or Chucks — I like to keep my shoes light and low key, since sometimes I’ll change them out and stash them in my Po Campo or pannier as I commute from a client meeting or networking event to dinner with friends.
5. EMBRACE WHY YOU RIDE
Personally, after playing basketball for many years and running countless miles, I love bicycling because it’s lifestyle fitness that’s low-impact on my knees. Cycling places keeps me organically active – I don’t have to schedule time to work out; it’s built right into my day! Plus, riding outside is a great brain break, between the physical movement, fresh air, and feelings of freedom and confidence that come from feeling the wind whipping my face as I make my way around town.
Great legs never go out of style – am I right, ladies?
YOU CAN DO IT!
You don’t need anything fancy or expensive to put together cute commuter clothes. At first it might seem like you’re carrying a lot around, but with experience it gets easier to streamline and adjust your gear as necessary. Riding is so exhilarating, you’ll find ways to make it work! And remember: tall or short, new or experienced, the most important outfit accessory is confidence.
This post originally appeared on the Po Campo Blog – Timberley is the Po Campo Community Manager and a brand ambassador for their fabulous bike-friendly bags and activewear. Remember: you can enter TImberleyJ-10-17 for 10% off your first Po Campo order!