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Two-tired attire


Recently, I was sitting with the family at our favorite downtown coffee haunt, and my wife nodded over toward my daughter.

“Doesn’t she look cute?” my beaming spouse asked. “She looks so scene.”

My wife tends to speak in italics when she’s using a term either so hip or polysyllabic that there’s no chance in heck I’ll have a clue what she’s talking about. In this case, it was the former.

Regardless, I looked my daughter up and down, and, since her outfit wasn’t that other S-word (you know, the one that ends with L-U-T-T-Y), I nodded sagely in agreement.

“Yes,” I agreed. “Very scene indeed.”

Furtively, I clumsily tapped out a quick Google search on my cellphone under the table and learned “scene” was a fashion trend that … aw, who am I fooling? I stopped reading after “trend.” Or maybe “fashion.”

In the back of my suddenly disinterested mind, however, I seemed to recall stumbling upon an article about another fashion trend that didn’t make my eyes roll back in my head.

And the more I thought about it, the more I recalled other articles and blogs and, especially, PR releases — and what’s not to believe about any of those founts of knowledge? — touting the coming of a full-on avalanche of stylish cycling apparel.

Most bike-specific clothing is not particularly appealing.

It tends to fall in two categories: skinny jeans and flannel shirts for the hipster fixed-gear crowd, or sleek and motley — think garish, multi-hued jerseys and second-skin shorts that make it easy to tell the wearer’s sex and give a hint about his religion — for the racer/wanna-be types.

I generally steer clear of both, though each has its place. Except the skinny jeans.

Anyhoo, if the hype is to be believed, there suddenly are all sorts of options for fashion-conscious cyclists who want appropriate clothes that don’t scream, “YEAH, I RODE MY BIKE HERE!”

I’ve seen pants that look like “normal” jeans but stretch (like those super-hot Pajama Jeans, I guess, for daylight hours) and khakis with roll-up pant legs that feature reflective bits inside the cuffs.

Levis has jumped on the bikewagon with its (curiously named) Commuter line — “Form. Function. Cycling.”

There are shirts — short sleeve, long sleeve, dress, business casual, pearl-button cowboy hipster — that appear to be made of run-of-the-mill cotton but feature reflective threads that light up in the glare of oncoming headlights.

And don’t get me started on the shoes. Bike kicks used to be purpose-built rachet-and-Velcro numbers that, thanks to cleats bolted to the sole, clacked like tap shoes on hard surfaces. Now it’s possible to find killer Italian leather brogues with cleat-compatible carbon-fiber soles.

One company even makes a helmet that looks like a hat! (From what I’ve seen, it’s a rather ugly, unflattering hat, but a hat —and a helmet! In one fabulous headcovering! — nonetheless).

It would appear I could outfit myself head to toe with attractive, stylish apparel that miraculously functions like the finest technical sportswear on the bike.

So though I’ll never make the scene scene, maybe there’s garment hope for me yet.


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