As we were reminded in Copenhagen, daily cycling is a just a normal part of city living for many Europeans. In the US, we complain about bad bike lanes and trigger-happy motorists, but the real problem is more likely the limited clothing selection. It's not helping, anyway.
Companies like Outlier, a maker of eco-friendly and stain-resistant apparel, are doing an elegant job of trying to change that, crafting undeniably attractive clothes for women and men that are engineered for cycling, even though they don't look like it.
Outlier's latest creation--which is still in a kind of testing stage--is the Pivot Sleeve Shirt: "a buttondown shirt cut to fit the body better and open up a range of motion constrained by traditional shirt construction." The grail was to make a proper-looking dress shirt that doesn't untuck the second you straddle your bike, and allowing free movement of the arms and shoulders.
The first generation of Outlier's patent-pending Pivot Sleeve Shirt is still available ($120), and the "second iteration" is currently in pre-order (available in white, gray, and blue), and will be shipping in February, 2010. Thankfully not made from some space-age, stretchy, outdoorsy material, the Pivot Sleeve Shirt is cut from two-ply Egyptian cotton, woven in Italy (though organic would be preferable). Outlier went to Gambert Shirt Corp in Newark, New Jersey for the sewing. "This family owned company has been making nothing but dress shirts for over 75 years and they are true masters of the craft."
Outlier states it well: "Your clothing should work as well on a bicycle as it does on the subway or in a car, without shouting to the world "I'm a cyclist."" That seems to be precisely what the Pivot Sleeve is doing. Pick one up and test it out on your next Tweed Ride.
More Cycling in Style
Cycling Chic: Five Fashions Fit for Urban Biking
Bike Fashion Show in NYC: Chic Urban Cycling Style (Video)
Bike to Work Without Looking Like You Did (Planet Green)