How to Bike to Work (and still look dressy)?

Send me your bike fashion questions

Are you wondering how to bike to work (or school, or to meet friends, or on a date) and still look dressed up?

I’ll be tackling your cycle chic dilemmas in a guest post for the ModCloth blog. So let me know what your fashion pain points are.

Shoes too slick for the pedals? Helmet hair leaving you flat? Or maybe you’re tired of hitting you elbow on the toilet paper dispenser while trying to change in the tiny bathroom stall at the office?

I want to hear from you. Send me your questions and let’s get our bike pretty rolling.

Must Read Links

Happy Friday! Here’s a list of what I’ve been obsessing over and just can’t bear to keep from you any longer.

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♦ When I started this blog over a year ago, I felt really lucky to find a name that summed up my version of cycle chic. (It was also a play on San Francisco Bike Party’s rallying cry.) But since then, I’ve learned how culturally loaded the term pretty is. As this writer explains, pretty is a set of skills. Via Bitchtopia

 ATTENTION: Bikes are cool again. I’m sure you already knew that, but here are the stats to back it up. ‘Cause nothing says cool like a bunch of transportation studies. Via Triple Pundit

 “I said I was surprised to hear her say she didn’t know how to run a business… ‘Weren’t you making a lot of money?’” New Yorker profiles are always such a delight, but this portrait of Eileen Fisher is just beyond beyond. You can practically visualize the writer’s mind being blown out in chunks as she examines a successful business run almost entirely by women. In the September 23, 2013 issue of the New Yorker (behind the pay wall)

♦ Must watch: The Grand Budapest Hotel, trailer for the new Wes Anderson movie. Squeeee!!!! Via YouTube

♦ Got a Halloween costume yet? No? Me, either. Give up now because this family already won at Halloween, life. Via reddit

♦ I have a no-food policy for Bike Pretty. It’s not that I hate food (quite the opposite!) but there are so many other blogs, cooks, writers, and Instagram accounts that do it better. But I feel terrible keeping this yeasted waffle recipe from you any longer. I make it almost every weekend. Best homemade waffles ever & perfect for lazy people. Via Smitten Kitchen

3 Tips To Bike To Work


Last week I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Renee Marchol of the blog Smarty Girl Leadership Training. Renee is in the middle of a 45 day bike to work challenge. She called me up to discuss the challenges (and solutions) for riders as they start commuting to work by bike. Here’s an excerpt:

What tips do you have for grooming hair for the office or after work events when you commute by bike?

Consider your hair type and adjust accordingly. For fine hair, using a powder shampoo can boost volume. It works proactively by absorbing sweat and oil. It takes only a tussle with the fingertips to reactivate the dry shampoo mid-day. A friend who lives in Europe introduced this solution to Melissa since hairstyling as a rider is a daily habit for Bike Pretty…


Get the rest of tips – and read the entire interview – at Renee’s blog: 3 Ways to Bike Pretty to Work Starting in September: An Interview with Melissa

Must Read Links

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Happy Friday the Thirteenth! Forget about trying to work today. It will probably go terribly awry. Save yourself the trouble and check out these links instead.

Sweet Georgia Brown takes on Cycle Chic shame and ponders if fashion can be feminist.

♕ “I love being wealthy. I do. I can buy things for my parents, I can give to homeless people in the street. I can take a cab. I can have a bike in Paris, London and New York.” An interview with Artist-Designer Andre Walker on how luxury brands are selling a scam (but it doesn’t have to be that way).

✪ This profile of Baltimore Bike Party perfectly sums up bike party culture.

✂ Is biking the next surfing? I mean, can Rapha turn bike culture into a lifestyle brand (like Quiksilver) and sell a whole bunch of jeans in the process?

✺ On principle, I detest art made out of re-purposed bike parts. But the Ballroom Luminoso project is so gorgeous, I have to make an exception.

❀ Sally of Already Pretty swears by washing her face with Grapeseed oil instead of soap. Turns out that a whole bunch of people are treating their acne by swapping commercial cleansers for organic oils.

☞ The adorable Rachel P. takes on Helmet Hair and wins. Check out her how-to on

⚉ The New York Times’ video series On the Street with Bill Cunningham never fails to charm. Here he covers the power of pajama pants, then takes us on a (bike) ride through New York history. If he can’t get you to crack a smile, then you probably don’t have human feelings. I’m sorry.

Bike In A Skirt: What To Wear Under There

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Let me apologize. I may have flashed you at some point.

I didn’t mean to. Honestly, all I was trying to do was stop by Sephora on my way home from the office.

You see, I dress for my destination. I don’t alter my outfit just because I’m riding a bike. If I want to wear a dress with an A-line skirt (like this one), I wear it. Since I am appropriately dressed for 99.9% of the moments in that day, I just round up.

But my bike’s not a step-through. (I would love to own one but I don’t have the storage space.) So there are these awkward moments when I swing my leg over my top tube, right before I get on the saddle and pedal away.

Let me be clear, I’m not trying to flash you. I take precautions. Like when I’m getting on, I’ll lean my bike towards me so that I don’t have to lift my leg as high. But stray breezes happen. A skirt can have a mind of its own.

So when I’m riding a bike and wearing a skirt or dress – i.e. most days – I rely on my trusty Dignity Protectors.

Here are three options for dignity protectors to wear when you bike in a skirt:

1. Spankie Low Rise Padded Bike Short

bike fashion, bike style, bike riding, bike riding girl, bikepretty, bike in a skirt, bike shorts, low rise, short bike shortsI hate the dorky length of most bike shorts. The Low-Rise Spankie solves this with a minimal three inch inseam. It’s still gives plenty of butt-cheek coverage (and I have plenty of butt-cheek) but it doesn’t show under short skirts. The padding is great if you’re a new rider, or if you’re going far. I also wear them for spin class, but the crotch pillow is overkill for my daily riding. Fortunately, they also come without padding. More colors are available here. Pro tip: padded shorts are best worn without panties.

2. American Apparel Mesh Bloomer
bike fashion, bike style, bike riding, bike riding girl, bikepretty, bike in a skirt, bloomer, bloomers, mesh, lace shorts, american apparelBring back the bloomer! I wear these lace-trimmed shorts the most. The mesh is thin and breathable. And it’s really comfy to have a dignity protector that is loose-fitting. Like magic, these don’t add any bulk to your silhouette. Wear them under a skirt and over your undies. The lace trim is so cute that you won’t mind it peeking out. Black provides the best coverage. Beige is great for wearing with light-colored sundresses.

3. Shapewear Leggings with Lace Detail

bike fashion, bike style, bike riding, bike riding girl, bikepretty, bike in a skirt, leggings, lace, shapewearWhen I search for new dignity protector styles, I try to think outside the box. Shapewear and inexpensive stretch pants open up a lot of possibilities. Like these nylon/spandex leggings on Ultimate Outlet. The smooth fabric lets skirts slide freely. And the lace inset is super pretty. Leave them as-is, or hem them to a shorter length.

And finally, I don’t give a flying carbon fork about what you choose to wear under your skirt. If you want to bare it all, go for it. But if you’re not riding because you’re worried about a wardrobe malfunction, try picking out a pair of dignity protectors and enjoy the sweet freedom of riding a bike.