Monday, July 26, 2010

on floor-length skirts

Mini historical reminder: From the 1800s (when the bicycle was invented) into the early 1900s, women wore nothing but long skirts on bicycles.

Nowadays, thanks to the valiant efforts of many women over the past century, we have significantly more options. (Is this a good time to say that I am eternally grateful with every fibre of my being to all the women who made this happen? Because it's really, really important to me. I like being a person, thanks.)

Perhaps it's because of all these other options that you don't often see long skirts on bicycles anymore. Or maybe because you tend to see floor-length skirts in only one of three categories: (1) boho-style hippy ladies who don't really care much about fashion, (2) formal gowns, and (3) summer maxidresses.

Number 3 -- maxidresses -- is what led me to this post. My skin is extremely fair (and if you ever use the word 'pasty' in front of me you will risk a punch in the nose as I like it this way and put considerable effort into maintaining it) so more coverage means less surface area to slather with sunscreen. Although I'm known to wear full-length pants even on the warmest days of summer, this year I'm experimenting with maxidresses (or, um, 'a' maxidress) as a seasonal alternative.

I don't think I need to remind anybody that my bike is not a step-through (#@$%!) and has no skirtguard. (Skirtguards aren't even standard on all of the old-school European bicycles and still seems to be considered somewhat quaint.) Supposedly a skirtgaurd would keep long skirts or coats out of the back wheel/brakes, so their itself existence did cause me to stop and think about how I would avoid such a scenario. And how I would pedal at all without getting tangled up.


Solution: bunch up the fabric above my knee and fasten with a hair elastic.

Despite that fact that the highest point of leg I'm showing is still far beneath the bottom of most summer shorts, somehow it still felt as if I was "showing some skin". Weird pyschological effect: rational brain overrided by illusion of long slit in dress.

Verict: worked like a charm! It stayed put while riding, I undid-redid it in seconds when I got where I was going, and the dark fabric didn't wrinkle much.

Coincidentally, TorontoVerve just posted a bike+maxidress photo yesterday.

The rest of yesterday afternoon (the day of this experiment) included novel-reading on the beautiful grounds of City Hall with good friends (and you know they're good friends when you can just hang out silently without having to talk) and writing on this seriously sweet (yet unbelievably empty) patio above the Starbucks at the entrance to Granville Island.

Ah, summer. I love you so much.

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