The Closest I’ll Ever Get to “Cycle Chic”

I’m something of a cheapskate frugal when it comes to cycling clothes. Any clothes, actually. However, every now ant then I’m willing to pay more substantial fees for apparel  that is very, very good at what it does.  (Even then I expect to do so pretty much only when said goods are on sale.)  This Lululemon Athletica Run: Reflect pullover is one of those items.

It’s a size too large for me (or maybe two sizes, if I were wearing it as a <cough> fashion item), but I knew that I’d want to layer it, since single-season cycling gear holds minimal appeal for me.  In these pictures, I’m wearing three layers under the top.

This thing is beautifully cut. It’s so beautifully cut that one almost has to put it on to understand just how wonderful it is.  It’s designed for runners, with reflective features here and there, but it’s just right for cycling.  Mesh inserts flow down the arms and across the back; nice touches from a style standpoint, but also helpful for ventilation.

I’m not sure what color my top is; it might be what Lululemon calls “Light Flare”.  I think of it as “orange sherbet”, but it’s a very pink orange.  (As ever, the critical point for me is “Am I going to be screamingly visible?”.) The opening is lined in a slightly different shade of the top’s color; it’s so subtle that the feature might be missed, but I love that cheery, unnecessary touch. Someone really thought about this shirt!

The contrast color on my top is a little paler than the main one; on the yellow version, the contrast looks as if it’s darker.  Here’s the front, on the official model:

I love that this model has a “real” body, and is wearing a sports bra. It’s very unusual to see women’s clothing worn by someone with a human figure, and with undergarments appropriate to the clothing in question.

I’m going to use Lululemon‘s images to illustrate other features; they do a much better job than I could.

The front pocket extends from zipper to zipper; there’s an MP3 player pouch hidden on one side. I use it for my phone.  I can report that it swallows the phone without any real detrimental effect on the top’s appearance. Needless to say, loading up the pouch in a top made of lovely, light, stretchy material will make you look like a marsupial, but the style-challenged, like me, won’t mind.

The sleeves are extra-long. That’s probably meant to be fashionable, but I love the way they feel.  The cuffs have thumb-slits, so they can stand in for modified gloves, if necessary.  The cuffs turn down, too, to make mittens of a sort. That’s probably a great feature for runners, though less so for cyclists who may need to shift and brake.

The mesh inserts, which almost look purely decorative, show much better in Lululemon’s professional photos. The fabric is wonderful to wear; it silky and moves with my body as if tailor-made.

Naturally, there are channels for the earphones runners love to wear so that that they can be oblivious to their surroundings, but I like to think no self-respecting cyclist would use them. Not while cycling, at least.

This top is quite long on me, and covers my whole backside, rather than going halfway down the hip, as on the model.  I prefer to wear my cycling tops, in particular, long, and like the length of mine much better than the length on the model, who is probably substantially taller than I am.

Like excellent engineering in other arenas, well-designed clothing is a rarity, and a real pleasure when encountered.  I don’t need very many of these beautifully-drafted pieces, but I’m very glad I own this one.

6 replies on “The Closest I’ll Ever Get to “Cycle Chic””

I am surprised that you seem so gaga over a mass produced garment when we know perfectly well that you are the Da Vinci of design, as exemplified by your bag creations. You could totally rock-out tops for yourself and make a tidy sum if you chose to merchandise your new garmenteria line, Basil’s Best. Maybe I’m becoming a demanding reader who appreciates your home crafted items versus “cycle chic” assembly line stuff. And … I’m not crazy about the color either ;-)

Harry, you’re making me blush! Actually, I’d love to be making my own “garmenteria line” (love that name, too!). (Well, at least for my own use. I’m not sure anyone can make a decent living sewing anything, these days.) The really tricky part is sourcing the right materials. I need to make a pilgrimage to Portland or Seattle, North American homeland of recreational materials. It may happen, one day . . .

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