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The other night I had a dream. I was a teacher, Dylan Moran was my boyfriend and my parents were a travelling folk music duo. Somehow from this madness an epiphany emerged. I began to examine my fashion personality.
1. No one wears clogs: This is a gross misconception. It transpires that the Dutch are a very well shod people without need to resort to clumpy wooden shoes.
2. Former warlords like their bling: While sitting in on a session of the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague, I caught a glimpse of Charles Taylor, currently on trial for crimes against humanity. It would with appear hobnobbing the supermodels was beneficial to his fashion sense – Taylor likes his suits sharp. He’s also a man with a passion for accessorising – gold cufflinks, gold pen … it’d sicken you.
No, it’s not some dirty blog entry, you filthy-minded smut hounds. Rather, it’s a topic that is, literally, close to every woman’s chest – boobs, and the supporting of them.
From the day we girls have our first bra fitted, we are told how important it is to wear the right size bra. And yet so few of us do. I know that I’ve been guilty of breaking this cardinal rule more than once. It’s because Life gets in the way of keeping an eye on your chest size. I mean, we’ve all heard that one should be fitted every six months for optimum bra sizing. But let’s be honest, how many of us do. The simple fact is that if you get fitted and invest in some good quality bras, they should see you right past the six month best before date. That of course is assuming you don’t lose or gain significant amounts of weight. I myself haven’t been fitted for about a year, but I did have the cop on to buy some really good bras the last time I was fitted, and they’re still doing the job admirably.
I did not ever imagine I would have such difficulty in writing a piece for the blog. This is my fourth attempt and its been as arduous a task as childbirth*. I decided I would write about Cycle Chic. I’ve recently become the proud owner of a new bike and I figured (quite arrogantly) that this was a sufficient credential for me to write on this topic. Ha! As if. It’s akin to me assuming I’d be a whiz at dental surgery simply because I brush my teeth every day.
I had heard of the concept of Cycle Chic, but had done little to explore the topic, until this opportunity presented itself. And almost immediately I was awed at the sheer scale of what I’d undertook. Cycle Chic is MASSIVE! IT’S EVERYWHERE! How have I not realised this until now?
A quick go on the google box brings up two amazing blogs that trade solely on Cycle Chic, the first being http://www.copenhagencyclechic.com/. This was started by the man who is rumoured to have developed the phrase “Cycle Chic”, and has been described as “The Sartorialist on two wheels” by the Guardian – heady praise indeed. A quick peek at the site and you’ll be greeted by photos of lots of really cool, fashionable people, on really cool, fashionable bikes, looking fabulously cool and gorgeous. It’s enough to make you sick. In a good way, of course.
The second blog worth mentioning is http://londoncyclechic.blogspot.com/. This blog appears to be a bit more fashion based. The blog entry for 16 March is solely about a range of gorgeously cute helmets and this leads me neatly to my next section.
After viewing just these two blogs, I realised just how out of my depth I was as a commentator of Cycle Chic. So after much faffing around, and some very, VERY bad writing, I decided to get very egotistical and just talk about Cycle Chic as it relates to me.
I started using my bike again about two years ago when I was living in Dublin. I’d grown weary of public transport, and yet was far too impatient to walk anywhere. So I decided to take my old bicycle out of the shed in my parent’s garden and get back in the saddle, so to speak. I had no pride in the bike, it was merely an object to take me into work and home again. And because of the lack of consideration for how my bike looked (it was a rusty piece of crap), I therefore had absolutely no consideration for how I looked while on it. Even now I shudder when I remember the state of me. Like many other Irish cyclists, I wore cycling clothes while on my bike and changed once I got to work. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this option and I’m certainly not trying to put down people who choose to do this. My problem lies solely with myself and how truly terrible my cycling clothes were. Grubby old tracksuit bottoms tucked into socks (so they wouldn’t catch in the gears – the horror, THE HORROR!), an old t-shirt and a rainjacket. Throw in the obligatory hi-vis vest and awful, AWFUL helmet and you’ve got a sight for sore eyes.
But things have recently changed for me. I’ve gotten a new bike. A shiny, happy, sexy beast of a bike – the mere fact that it’s mine, makes me cooler. And since getting this bike, I’ve started to pay a lot more attention to how I dress when I’m cycling. And I’ve become aware of Cycle Chic, fairly succinctly defined (by Wikipedia, who else) as the culture of cycling in fashionable clothes.
It appears that I am way behind the times, and that cycle chic has already gained a niche in Ireland. November 2009 saw the second Cycle Chic fashion show in Cork City, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a third in 2010. The website for the 2009 show still lists all of last year’s exhibitors and a quick look through some of the websites left me coveting a few choice pieces.
My absolute number one must have include this incredibly cute helmet from www.cyclechic.co.uk
There are also lots of other sites with fantastic clothes for cycling in, cute baskets and bicycle accessories, not to mention amazing bikes. Definitely worth checking out.
As for me, this will certainly not be my last entry about Cycle Chic. I’ve unleashed a fashion monster with this topic so be sure to stay tuned to the blog for more.
* (a slight exaggeration)
So there I was … totally minding my own business. Not hurting anyone, not getting in anyone’s face, just having a mosey through Dunnes. The way you do. Like when you go to get milk, you just can’t resist having a look around the rest of the place. Usually I stick to the Homewares section and mentally decorate the house I don’t have. And I had just recently recovered from a Penny’s binge which had left me fairly well sustained for the Christmas period, so I’d no business wandering around the clothes section. Jen wrote about her Penny’s binge not that long ago, and perhaps it was the reading of that post that was the catalyst for my Dunnes expedition. When I read her piece it took me right back to the feelings I experienced during my Penny’s binge. The dizzying joy on finding an amazing piece (such as the jacket below, which I thought was very Sg. Peppers but everyone around me insists is Cheryl Cole, sigh); the gut-wrenching fear when you think of what your bank balance will look like, post binge; the moral arguments you have with yourself when you think about why the clothes are so cheap, and finally the justification you reach for buying a gold sequined skirt that you know you’ll only wear twice before it falls apart. In essence, you run the gamut of human emotion and it leaves you elated, shaky and infinitely poorer afterwards. Perhaps its interesting that we’re using the word ‘binge’ with all the negative connotations it conjurs up, as opposed to the infinitely more joyful word, ‘spree’.
Anyway, I am totally digressing here. The point is, I’d just had a binge. I was done for the year. My next binge wasn’t scheduled to take place until February 2010 and I was in town to buy Christmas presents for people I love and hold in good regard. But that was all shunted aside when I saw the purple high heels. And then the dress, which I will dub my Jackie-O dress from here on in. And then the stripey bolero, which I wasn’t sure if I loved or hated at first, but after I bought it, decided I had to love it. Ok, so I didn’t buy as much as I did during my Penny’s binge, but the feelings were all there. Because, when I analyse both binges I realise something – it wasn’t about the clothes. It wasn’t about the shoes. It was about the rush. The rush that comes from buying something that looks so amazing for so little. For example, my best purchase of the year might turn out to be the black silky romper suit was acquired during the Dunnes binge for …. wait for it … ONE EURO! I don’t even know if I’ll ever wear it (possibly because I know I’ll look totally ridiculous) but who the hell cares!! It only cost ONE EURO!!
Today is indeed an auspicious day in the history of fashion – twenty years ago today the Berlin Wall came tumbling down thereby freeing up trade barriers and allowing the mass importation of blue jeans to the economically ravaged countries of the eastern bloc who had been sobbing out loud for fashionable western denim.
Ok, there’s more than a slight chance I’m trivialising one of the most momentous events of recent times for the sake of fashion but it provided a topical intro into my chosen subject – jeans.
Jeans, jeans …. how I love you so. Is there a more overlooked piece of statement fashion in the entire world than the humble pair of jeans?? Never a piece to be included in haute couture collections, 94.6% of women say it is the most relied on piece of clothing in their wardrobe*. It is the modern day corset, coveted for its shape shifting abilities – the right pair of jeans can transform a woman from average schlub to tight thighed and bummed goddess.
The search for the perfect pair of jeans can be holy grailish in nature – minute differences in shape, length and colour, that are all but invisible to the naked eye but which the wearer can instinctively feel can mean that out of 40 pairs of jeans tried on, only perhaps 2 or 3 pairs will make the final cut.
As a student, jeans constitute an incredibly important part of my daily attire. However, I’ve recently found myself in the unbelieveable position of having only two pairs of jeans in my wardrobe. The reason for this – all my other pairs slowly, but surely, succumbed to the phenomenon of crotch wear-out. While it sounds somewhat dodgy to the unaware, it is a well known curse of jeans. I have yet to meet a girl who has not lost a favourite pair of jeans to crotch wear-out, or who has found a way to prevent it. In fact, I’m still holding onto one of my favourite pairs (a pair of 2007 Seven for all Mankind, 80% off in the sale) in the hope that some magic gadget will one day appear that will enable me to seamless sew up the raggedy rips in the inside seam. I’m staying optimistic that JML, purveyours of the incredible Bobble-Off, will be the wizards who will fix this problem.
* a made up statistic.