Anjou Chic: Style Tips for your Next Vintage Ride

Everyone’s favorite French ACE* is just around the corner: come Saturday, some 3,000 cyclists will disembark in Saumur for the 4th annual Anjou Vélo Vintage.

Here’s some helpful tips to bear in mind before you hop on that Eurostar/TGV out to western France.  And if you’re not going this year, pay attention – you never know where you’ll be come 2015.  France is always a good idea.

1. Plan for inclement weather.
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Forecasts promise some scary clouds & lightning bolts, so it’s best to make like Melissa last year:  bring a light cardigan to cover up that cute ’50s-y match set.  And don’t think you can get away without hosiery.

Match your socks to your look, but not too matchy: mimic the motif, not the colorway.  And don’t forget your raincoat!
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2. Don’t be afraid to (subtly) match your friends.  

Note the white: gloves / hosiery / panniers / kitten heel pumps here. Well done ladies.
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3. Do match your lipstick to your beret

What’s that pithy Bill Blass quote – “When in doubt, wear red” ?  He’s right.
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4. Make your bike carry the load.   

Jenni here has a sturdy Carradice bag on her rear rack, an excellent choice for touring.  But remember – this was shot in 2013, before the ultimate bike bag arrived on the market.
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Whatever you opt for, it’s a good idea to put the weight of your wine stuff on your bike frame.

If you want something more Jane Birkin-esque, go for a basket + bungee cord combo.  Never fails to charm.
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But remember the more practical choice for your non-ACE riding. (#shamelesspromotion) (Ed. note: How cute is this lady?!?)

5. Bring an umbrella.

If it’s not raining, you can block the sun with it.  If it is raining, you’ll be glad you have it. Remember, #inclementweather.
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6. What did we say about red berets? 

For a more mature look, go beyond the lipstick and match it to your ’60s-esque kitten-heel pumps.  Sophisticated, indeed.
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7. Wear your repro-vintage vs. your actual vintage. 

It may not be immediately obvious, but then again that’s the point.  The weather may just be crazy.  You may just get sweaty.  And rained on.
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So your nice organza fit ‘n’ flare is probably not the best choice for an ACE event.

My above look is vaguely ’50s, but the dress is actually Ralph Lauren rayon, circa 1990s.  The waxed-linen jacket is Peter Jensen (#samplesalescore).

The brogues are actually vintage Salvatore Ferragamo, and they got soaked in the end.

8. Bring your camera.  

Because life really is like a Wes Anderson film from time to time.
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And HAVE FUN!  Don’t drink too much crémant.  Or do.

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*Anachronistic Cycling Event. Apologies if you’re a regular BP reader and tired of this corny acronym. But we’re here to educate people.

Beret Baguette Street Style, Paris

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Winning.

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Winning.

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Winnnnn-ning: presenting another prime example of the Gallic grace with scarves, and proof that hats really do add a unique dash of panache.

There is no helmet cleverly lurking beneath this one, but then again Paris on a Sunday is a relatively calm time for a stroll on two wheels.

I especially like her adorable choice of footwear.  The modest heel height, brogue-y details, and low-vamp strap channel that sensible-chic look of 1920s styles that is so elusive to find today.  Why contemporary designers and manufacturers are so focused on getting us women into 4″+ heel heights is a conundrum I have yet to crack.

Note how her monochrome hosiery-shoe scheme subtly elongates the leg.

The on-brand frame name is a nice touch, too.  As they say, très élégante.  And delightfully effortless.

Tweed Run Street Style: The Importance of Argyle

Lest one forgets: hosiery.  It’s important.

And never more so than at the London Tweed Run.

With few patterns more emblematic of the British Isles than argyle, it’s no surprise this historical favourite of Scottish highlanders made a strong showing at the 2013 ride.

Enjoy these stylish folk as we count down the days to the Saturday ride (T-2!!).

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There’s a Bike in It: 5 Tenets of Bike Pretty, as seen in recent press

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Karlie Kloss & Liu Wen for Coach, S/S 14 ad campaign, New York.

“Wait, what’s that in the corner there?  It looks like a wheel…the wheel of a bicycle! Mere inches away from a seriously pulchritudinous situation…”

This happened so frequently during my recent life *ahem* perusals of the early Spring magazines that my natural bike pretty antennae went into high alert mode.  I starting keeping a mental note of the bike pretty-ness of it all, figuring I’d share once I had a sizeable list en tête, or when a truly “ah-ha!” moment struck me. Well.  Lucky for you guys, that moment arrived last Friday, returning on the London overground with a flat tire, a tired boyfriend, & no patch kit (grrrr) after a trip to the deep east to watch dogs run around in circles (don’t ask).

Let’s be real: it’s not often that I find myself on public transportation.  So it was with palpable delight that I found myself rewarded for my flat tire with a shot of retired Olympic track cyclist Victoria Pendleton on the front page of the London Evening Standard, a copy of which lay discarded on an adjacent seat.  Grinning ear-to-ear atop an upright bicycle in a white lace dress, matching brogues and boater hat – e.g., epitomizing the bike pretty ethos if ever - Victoria seemed to be saying “….WEEEE, BIKES!!” er, “Kelly, get to it.”

And when you start hearing voices when you read the newspaper an Olympic champion stares back at you in fashion-earnest, one sculpted track-cyclist leg revealed and ready to kick your butt, you do what your gut tells you. So. 

5 Tenets of Bike Pretty, as seen in recent International press:

1. Don’t be afraid to Cycle in a Maxi-dress.  Via Olympic Champion Victoria Pendleton, on the cover of the London Evening Standard, 21 March 2014.

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A promotion for UK charity Sport Relief, the shoot aimed to recreate the bicycle scene from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), with a bit of a role reversal.

Pendleton plays both Katherine Ross and Paul Newman in one as she tows Evening Standard proprietor Evgeny Lebedev through a lush English idyll.  And in a maxi-dress, no less, one lacking the functional thigh-high slit of Ross’ original.  Skills, people.  BP skills, to be precise.

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Photos: Rupert Peace.  Want Pendleton’s outfit credits? Scroll to the bottom here.

2. Never underestimate the power of a versatile Printed TrenchVia leggy all-American model Karlie Kloss in Coach’s S/S 14 ad campaign.

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Like Miu Miu and Sonia Rykiel before them (#respect), Coach boosted their spring campaign by putting Kloss on a bike.  She’s basically perfection in a reptile-print wisp of a trench, the styling incorporating a signature-yet-subtle bike pretty coordination move matching the eyewear frames to the bicycle [frame], and bag.  Win win, Reed Krakoff.  Way to leave on a high note.

The Bonnie Cashin era excluded (gah, double-kisslock pockets!), I had heretofore never been much of a Coach fan.  This shot of Karlie wiped any suburban mall-bred memory of khaki C-logo jacquard from the proverbial slate, however, and I found myself scoping out the latest bags (#dangerous) and imagining outfits in my head around several styles.

Converted, for sure.

3. DUDE, definitely Bike in Heels.  It’s so much easier than walking.  Via Coach (again!), and their rather brilliant #coachfromabove social media campaign, featuring their recent footwear collections.

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Clockwise from upper left: Coach S/S 14 | Coach’s F/W 14 Ophelia heel via @jenpinkston of The Effortless Chic | Coach’s Marah flat  | Coach via Andy of Style Scrapbook

Hmm, the marketing team over at Coach must include a Bike Pretty fan (or several), amirite? Or maybe they’re tapping into the bike pretty inclinations of an ever-increasing number of stylish NYers, braving the streets on wheels via the Citi bike program…or maybe both.

Either way, their footwear campaign shots, surreptitiously planted on the website amongst customer-generated media of fans sharing shots of their Coach footwear from above, feature the label’s more practical yet pretty styles perched on pedals.  Pretty preening footwear perched on pedals. Say that three times fast.

Scoping the #coachfromabove hashtag also led to this lovely post on the same topic…and this fun if gratuitous shot below. What, there’s bikes in it, ok?  Via Style Scrapbook.  Trip to Amsterdam, anyone?

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4. Ride a Bike in Paris. At least once in your life.  Via Vogue Paris, February 2014, Sur les Quais editorial, styling: Claire Dhelens, photography: Lachlan Bailey. 

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“I own the île Saint-Louis.” Photo: Lachlan Bailey.

Admittedly, this is not exactly a BP tenet.  But certainly something to add to the bucket list, if you haven’t done so already.  As a longtime resident and now frequent visitor to the city of lights, I can say with conviction that cycling in Paris is a wonder.  Riding around London, I often fantasize about her lorry*-less streets, and manageable number of buses to circumvent.

Really, it feels just like this.  And at BP HQ we love a bike in editorial, so had to share these shots from Vogue Paris’ February 2014 issue.

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“Don’t mess with my dog. Or my wheels.”  Photo: Lachlan Bailey.

5. Embrace Bike-Commuting and its unique style challenges.  Via everyday London commuter Jess Bowie in The New Review magazine’s Cycling Issue, 23 March 2014.
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Photo: Immo Klink.

Despite its late-to-the-game title, writer Simon Usborn’s “The Rise of the Female Cyclist” piece in last weekend’s issue of The New Review magazine (The Independent on Sunday) proved an inclusive read, chock-full of insightful quotes by Caz Nicklin of Cycle Chic fame, London Mayor Boris Johnson “[we need to] de-Lycrafy the bicycle” and this food for thought from everyday commuter Jess Bowie, 29, pictured above;

“I’m loathe to say it but often women care more about how they look, so might think cycling will make them a bit more disheveled.  But if more of us do it, and female commuters look out the bus window and see women like them on bikes, it would definitely help.” 

Which is a pretty good segway: don’t miss Melissa’s upcoming post on ModCloth about stylish bike-commuting.  Watch this space!

…and Happy Weekend!  I’m off to stylishly lean against my handlebars like so SPIN London. See you soon!

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S/S 14 campaign, Golden Goose Deluxe Brand® Venezia (I know: Geese? Venice? Whaat? Alas). 

*Lorry = British parlance for what is referred to in American English as a semi-truck.

London Bike Fashion

The top five cities for bike fashion are New York, San Francisco, Melbourne, and Sydney, with London at the head of the peloton pack.

London Bike Fashion

How do I know? Because this blog receives more visitors from London than any other city.

I’m not the least bit surprised that Londoners are so adept at cycle chic. It’s the home of Bike Pretty contributor Kelly and the original Tweed Run. And when I visited the fashion capital, I could barely turn a corner without bumping into some stylishly-clad hipster on two wheels.

London Bike Fashion

As the Northern Hemisphere* creeps into the warm seasons, get inspired by these street style shots I took while in London last Summer. I even put together a few style guides so you can get the look in your hometown.

London Bike Fashion ⬆︎ Doesn’t this remind you of this?

Get the look:London Bike Fashion

Kelly Brook Black Lace Bow Front Longline Bra | Davines Momo Anti- Frizz Fluid |
MINKPINK ‘Cah Ching’ Sunglasses | Kate Spade New York ‘Polka Dot’ Reusable Shopping Tote | Desigual Dress from ZalandoMartone Cycling Co. Women’s Mercer Bike | Even&Odd Ballet Pumps Silver | DKNY ‘Lace Curves’ Shaping Brief

London Bike Fashion
London Bike Fashion

London Bike FashionGet the look:

London Bike Fashion for SpringMarni Top | Desigual Mirror Paulina | Ray-Ban Large Metal Aviator | Aerie Mia Eyelet Pushup Bra | bareMinerals Lasting Line Long-Wearing Eyeliner | Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Protect SPF 30 | Josie Maran Magic Marker Lip & Cheek Stain | Spankie Low Rise PADDED Bike Short | Jason Wu + Melissa Shoes | Bobbin Bicycles Birdie Hybrid Bike | Forever New Alyssa Aztec Jacquard Skirt

London Bike Fashion
London Bike Fashion
Get the look:
The London Look: Cycle Chic

Desigual clothes from Zalando | Giro Surface Urban Helmet | Pashley Princess Sovereign | Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Platform Plus | McQ Alexander McQueen Razor Blade Leather Triple-Wrap Bracelet

*Shout out to my readers in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane! You’re all in the top ten Bike Pretty Cities.