As I mentioned in my first post, I work in the fine arts industry, which presents unique wardrobe challenges. As far as I can figure out, anything goes as long as it is not basic or expected. Little black dresses are out if not accompanied by wild jewelry or glasses visible from a block away. Since my closet mainly holds staples in neutral colors, every opening I work brings a new “what do I wear” crisis.
Above is one of my successes. I was co-hosting a casual performance art event on a February night. The temperature hovered right around freezing. I threw a drape-y cardigan and long necklace in my panniers and put on skinny jeans, a long sleeved wool undershirt, a black belt, wool socks and black leather boots. For outerwear I had a lightly lined soft shell jacket, lobster gloves, and a fleece balaclava (plus my trusty helmet).
Style Pros/Cons: I got lots of complements that night and have no fashion regrets!
This outfit could easily be dressed up for an office situation. All it would take is to switch out the jeans for dark chinos or dress pants and wear dressier boots. I love the Icebreaker merino wool undershirt I got for Christmas (thanks Mom and Dad)! It performs well while I’m biking and serves as a great base layer upon arrival, all without looking like performance clothing.
Biking Pros/Cons: Merino is awesome! A thin wool undershirt and soft shell jacket were the perfect combination for this trip. The outfit was practically perfect, except… Skinny jeans are not appropriate biking attire for Minnesota winters. Since I was only going 3 miles and it wasn’t much below freezing, I braved the resulting cold, wind-chapped thighs, knowing they’d warm up quickly when I got there.
Had the trip been slightly colder or slightly longer, I would’ve put a layer of synthetic long underwear underneath and taken it off once I arrived. Had it been much colder or much longer, I would’ve worn windproof, lined snow-pants and changed into my jeans at the gallery. Again, I have no regrets, but I’d hate to suggest that you should tackle winter biking in jeans in the upper Midwest. You’ll be significantly more comfortable if all of your outer layers are windproof and all of your inner layers are wicking.