The Quest for the Perfect Pants for Biking to Work: Phase I
The saga continues….
As I described in an earlier post, I’ve been searching for quite a while for a decent pair of pants that will work for professional settings and truly give me riding comfort.
I have purchased exactly one pair so far, and it happens to be one that’s no longer available so the quest has to continue. I’m hoping your feedback will help me narrow the choices I’ve found in my mousing around shopping online.
Here’s what I found in my first foray into the Interwebz, which took place fall 2010 (yes, I’ve really been searching that long) and which I updated recently.
The one nice-looking pair of cycling-specific women’s pants for office wear I’ve found, made by Outlier in New York City, costs $180. Gulp.
Call me cheap (I prefer “thrifty” in homage to my Depression-era parents), but I’ve never paid that much for a single pair of pants. I have a hard time paying that much for a whole suit when I know it will go on sale eventually.
I need to justify a clothing investment like that. Do I wear them every day? Back up to where I said I’m a woman and this is a fashion dilemma.
Same pair of pants every day ain’t gonna happen, although I know I’d wear a good pair of pants in a color like black or charcoal gray more than once a week during cold weather and they sound like well-made clothing that would last a long time. So actually, if I divide the price by the number of times I’d wear them, the cost per wearing comes down to something I can manage as long as I remember to think of it that way.
But then I’d have to buy online. How will I know whether I look good in these pants? A really narrow cut like this one mostly looks awesome on size 00 women, and I’ve got a bit more cush in my tush.
And did I mention they cost $180?
Also, hello again, Outlier? For me to know if I want Static Grey or Slate Grey you have to Show. The. Actual. Colors. What happened to the color swatches you showed for a brief time earlier in 2011? You show some of the colors but if you offer two shades of grey, you have to show both of them.
They do use my magic words–“comfort” and “style”–in the description…. And I wouldn’t criticize if I didn’t care so much about you ㋛.
Swrve makes knickers for women, but no trousers. (They make men’s pants, of course–biking being one of the few realms in which men have far more fashion choices and color options than women.)
And seriously, knickers? It’s nice to keep your knees warm when the temperature drops but I don’t want to look like a misplaced golfer once I’m in the office in my plus-fours. We have actual winters here. I have to wear boots. Can you say Dork Fest?
BikePortland had an article in the search results and I got all excited. It’s Portland, right? Should be plenty of bike-stylish options there, right?
They linked to the Sheila Moon site (“infuses cycling apparel with a twist of fashion”), which offers knickers in several fabrics. There’s that golfer thing again and it doesn’t change my mind just because they say knickerbockers are big with the velocouture crowd, whoever they are. I can also get stretchy yoga pants. Not so good with the suit/tie-couture crowd.
The BikePortland piece also points to Ibex, which has a slightly more promising line—at least there are the “global wool pants” that look more like trousers ($195, though–more than the Outlier and sportier in design). Icebreaker has some pants that might work too (for a mere $100).
The real test almost every product I’ve found fails is the “does it look like workout clothing?” test. Visible logos, great big seams, sizing that runs S/M/L instead of true women’s clothing sizes, descriptions that include “comfortable for yoga”—these aren’t going to pass for boardroom wear.
At least, I don’t think so when I can’t see the product clearly–often a problem with dark fabrics unless you’ve got really great photography and zoom.
Now I’d love to just head to Nordstrom’s, buy some great-looking slacks, and call it good. But let’s get real, ladies. As my friend Allyson said when I described this dilemma, “Nobody wants to divide the good china.”
Design and construction of certain seams are critical to stylish biking comfort. Compare a pair of cycling shorts to regular walking shorts and you’ll note a key difference mid-you.
That’s why great women’s professional clothing doesn’t equal “great women’s professional clothing I can wear comfortably riding a bike.”
And that’s why the quest continues.
- It’s Pants Week. Share My Obsession.
- The Quest: A Google Search Story about Bike Style
- Women’s Clothing for Biking that Doesn’t Look Like It’s for Biking: What to Wear, What to Wear
- Wearing Real Clothes: A Radical Political Statement
- Possibly Perfect Pants: Outlier Women’s Daily Riding Pant
- Do you own any of the pants I’ve listed here? What do you think of them for riding?
- Do you have other brands/styles to suggest?