i’m skirting the issue

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mostly, i work at home. my day job does not require me to go anywhere, ever.
therefore, i do not have to dress for the office any more. i own some lovely office attire from those days when i did have to dress for the corporate environment. these days, comfortable loungwear defines 90% of what i actually wear. this is made more graphic by the fact that i need about 2 feet of hanging space in my closet and a good 5 feet of dresser space for folded items.

i do get out some to teach classes, and for that, i need some presentable clothes. a quick assesment of my current “work” wardrobe reveals that it is in a laughable state (that said, my students can stop laughing now . . . ).

besides suffering from the blight of serving a rather backseat role in my life, my work “wardrobe” has to accomodate my preference to commute by bicycle, drenched with sweat in summer, but expected to look (and smell) somewhat presentable whenever i arrive at wherever i am going. there isn’t much out there that really fits the bill.

this isn’t the same as the clothing i need for road cycling; that is, clothing which is technically appropriate for riding a racing bike. road cycling is generally considered somewhat sexier than bike commuting, though truly i think it could be the other way around. and to be entirely realistic, we are just comparing one kind of dorkiness with another . . . hahahaha!
but i digress. road cycling culture tends to the sleek and trim, as evidenced by this

(my road bike). and though it takes some searching, there are some really cute duds to be had. the look is trim and fitted, yet comfortable and flexible. however, you cannot wear these clothes for any other purpose. the pants have a big, diaper-like pad under the butt, the shoes have no heel and are nearly impossible to walk in (i know, i said sleek and trim—it all becomes tranformed when you get ON the bike).
what i need for commuting is clothing with all the same qualities, but which transition to the retail venue in which i work—casually pretty, comfortable, lightweight, clothes with wicking properties that are preferably seamless, but don’t look it.

obviously this is a tall order, but does it have to be totally unrealistic?? and now that it is spring, it has all come to a crisis point, because i hate shoppping for clothes.

those who know me, know all too well, that i am failing miserably at keeping this part of my life pulled together, especially now that it is the end of winter; i’ve been wearing so much fleece lately, you’d think the polartec factory threw up on me.
we are all aware that reasonably-priced, athletic fleece separates with wicking properties, come in all of four colors: black, red, bright yellow, and a small amount of gray (better known as “graphite”—eye roll). not very attractive. and certainly not the kind of clothes i get excited about. i can’t wait to pack them away at this time of year.

i’m yearning for fun, sporty, flirty clothes to go with this:

my italian cruiser (do i hear crooning?). trendy, but with hidden depths of fortitude. never leaves me flat. i even have a bag i made that goes with it. i know that sounds like i’m getting way too involved with a bicycle, but actually, i made this bag last summer because i like this stitch pattern, and the colors of the yarn. THEN i realized it matched my bike and i was twice as happy with it! it fits right into the basket and has become my little knitting class bag. ok, so it doesn’t take much to twirl my top; i keep telling you—it’s the small things . . .

so why do i disgrace this fine example of italian design by wearing fleece separates? what DO i do about the summer clothing issue?

(and what the hell has all this got to do with knitting anyway, you ask?)

i’ll tell you what—i had a brainstorm this week!

STOP that!
i didn’t start any fires, or hurt anybody . . . so, i get a little excited about knitting, so what??!!

i was thinking about the upcoming weather and mulling over my strategy for dressing for the heat (yes, i know it doesn’t seem like it, but once in a blue moon, i DO actually plan my wardrobe). i love pants and wear them a LOT. but they are not very airy to ride in when it is 85° or higher. what would be airy, fresh, and fun?

SKIRTS, that’s what! i experimented with skirts last year, but the skirts i already own don’t fit over the saddle so well, and the fabric is kinda solid.

i decided that the perfect thing, since i’m on a lace oddyssey anyway, would be to come up with a design or two for skirts from my new favorite yarn. not all lacy, but definitely AIRY—something to let the breeze through, if you get my drift. something that is fitted around the girdle area, but flares just enough to go over the seat. no “full skirt” look; i don’t want a lot of weight.

something like this (see how happy she is to be wearing it!), but even airier. there is a zig-zag crochet skirt in last year’s interweave chrochet that inspires me too

maybe not so stripey, but i like the general idea. and not crochet (too heavy). but see the flare—i like that. i don’t like too much skirt. i might have to raise the flare so it starts a little higher (you know, cuz of the bike saddle).

i know i can buy skirts . . . but not these ones.
i’m very aware tht weight might be an issue in these garments, and that is giving me a small bit of pause (we’ve all heard the skirt-related disaster stories). the yarn has some nylon in it, and if the first one seems to heavy, then maybe i will look for something all nylon. that might not be a bad idea . . . sorta like have regualar cycling clothes on, but NOT. anyone know of some nice light nylon yarn?

hmm. any input, dear readers? anyone tried skirts before? please weigh in!

10 thoughts on “i’m skirting the issue

  1. oh Anne, I just absolutely think those skirts are adorable. I said it yesterday and after I seen your yarn choices, I fell in LOVE with it. The only thing I would be worried about it the springability..oh now, you KNOW what I mean by that, it isn’t my fault I have my own language, it just happens! Do skirts hang well? Do they retain shape? Being a new knitter I just have all these little questions floating around….can you say SKIRT CLASS? oh THAT would be fun!

  2. The problem with knit skirts is they can sometimes be heavy and stretch so my suggestion would to do it about two inches(or more) shorter then you normally would and let it hang in the closet for a couple of days…. Furthermore cotton sags horrorably when it gets wet so I dunno what that would mean for humid weather(I dunno is it humid in ohio??) also if I were to make a summer skirt(if for some odd reason san francisco decided to have a summer…) I would make it out of linen…. Also another thing to consider is are you a sweater? Do you sweat a lot? If so you might want to have a cotton with a higher acrylic/nylon content cause cotton is very absorbent and I have for like the butt of your skirt to be wet from your bike ride(not a cute look)… You could designa a lace skirt and build a lil shell out of a light weight faberic and layer…

  3. What a cute bike!
    About the skirt idea — I’m just thinking that it would be hard to maintain your ‘modesty’ when biking in a short skirt and hard to not get tangled up when biking in a longer skirt. Hmmm. I’m also wondering how good the ‘seat’ of skirt would look after biking — might leave an unattractive stretched out area unless the yarn were REALLY stretchy/boingy (like maybe that Cascade Fixation or something like that). Sorry, I guess I’m just being a downer.

  4. I just read Brooklynne’s comment and I really like the idea of a 2-layer skirt. You could knit the bottom layer to be a tight, stretchy, absorbant material and the top layer could be looser with a pretty lacy look. Maybe the top layer could just button on so you could take it off while biking and put it back on when you arrived. Then it would cover any weird stretched out saggy parts of the under layer.

  5. HAHA Oh Anne, maybe you outta rethink this whole skirt idea. I am getting a mental picture of the saggy butt part that persnicketyknitter and brooklynne have pointed out and THAT would be funny. But ya know what, I bet you could design a gorgeous 2 layered skirt like Brooklynne suggested. Oh and I bet it would look sooo cute.

  6. ok anne, i know you want to knit a skirt – PLEASE do so, so we can see what to do. But in the meantime — buy a skort, it will be breezy, short and modest ENOUGH.

  7. anne,

    I miss spinning with you on Saturdays, but love reading your blog. I’ve recently started riding my bike to the office on days when it’s not raining and don’t have appts. that will take me out of the office. I have the same problems you’ve mentionned…. arriving sweaty and trying to figure out what to wear while riding that will be presentable the rest of the day. So far packing a change of clothes has been by answer. (That and a lot of talcum powder to cover up the umm.. odor.) Have to tell you that as pretty as the skirts look, they look and sound very impractical. What about a nice scarf or shawl to tie around your waist sarong style to pretty up the outfit?

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