Lacy cycling kit anyone? Adele Mitchell wrestles with her inner fashion police.
Lace on your cycling gear? Cue snorts of derision. After all it is now widely acknowledged that women are serious cyclists too and we must therefore ride in neutral colours and plain fabrics that reflect this. After all, we have campaigned long and hard! Our time has come! We are rising up in a wave of contrast zip style-consciousness!
But hold on a minute. For pedalling over the horizon, in a womanly bubble of La Dolce Vita, comes Italian women’s cycling brand Veela. Anyone who has ever shopped in an Italian market or glanced at a Dolce & Gabana ad will know that Italian women tend to like lace: it’s on everything from thongs to ball gowns. Now Veela have put it on their cycling gear too.
The Veela range is unashamedly lace: it’s Like A Virgin on two wheels. There’s lace on the neckline, there’s lace on the pocket, there’s lace on the back and side panels, there’s lace on the shorts and there’s lace on the waistbands. The website is a feast of lace cycling gear set against beautiful Italian scenery and Pinarello bicycles, featuring super-attractive female cyclists, fake pink nails and bronzed flesh. Frankly they look as if they’ve having the time of their lives – no doubt waiting for Alfonzo and the lads to arrive, ahead of an evening of olives, Chianti and snogging as the sun sets over the Tuscan hills.
Here in rainy old Blightly I’m tempted to fold my fashion arms like one of Les Dawson’s old ladies and tut – but that would be quite the wrong thing to do because actually what we have here is choice. For while the trend in cycling gear may be taking us towards a look that is often pared down to the point of being androgynous it doesn’t mean everyone will want to wear it – and nor should we be made to feel we have to. If a bit of lace floats your boat, then why not go ahead and ride in it?
So, what’s it like to wear?
First of all, and perhaps despite appearances, this range focuses on performance. It turns out that the lace isn’t lace at all: in fact its two stretch mesh made to look like lace. It is soft and breathable – just as well considering there’s a lot of it around the underarm area. The brand also makes much of their research into wicking fabrics that offer maximum softness, stretch and comfort. The chamois features a high-end Cytech Elastic Interface suitable for up to five hours of riding. Worth noting here too that the pad has a bacteriostatic treatment – designed to inhibit the growth of bacteria while preserving the existing bacterial flora on the skin (and we all know how important that is!)
In short, both top and shorts are super soft and comfortable to wear with lots of stretch, freedom of movement and no elastic pressure.
The shorts’ panel design ‘enhances and streamlines the female figure’ and I felt that they were both sporty looking and flattering. The crossover waistband is designed to avoid constraining the abdominal area – though I’m not sure it would be a match for a more wayward waistline that’s determined to flop over the top. If you prefer a low waist (and want to channel your inner Italian goddess) you can turn the waistband down and show off the lace panel.
The top is extremely soft and stretchy, and the mesh (lace!) is positioned to allow greater ventilation. On this top the lace is on the side panels, which means there’s a side view of your bra band. To be honest the only lace garments I own came in a three pack of pants from M&S, so it did feel a bit like I was riding in my underwear.
There’s a small zip up waterproof pocket at the back, and a large ‘invisible’ pocket, accessed from the side, which is really roomy. The front pocket is an excuse for a bit more lace and somewhere to keep your phone.
To sum up – really well designed performance sportswear, which is reflected in the price, but the lace mesh detail will divide opinion for ever more.
Tempted? Each item is limited to just 200 pieces in each colour so be quick!
Price: Jersey: £96.99 Shorts: £99.99
Stockist: Bling Bike Kit
Veela is a legend, she is a nymph who lives in the meadows, oceans, trees and clouds.
She is a beautiful creature who merges with nature, able to transform and assume different forms. Endowed with grace, determination and extraordinary intelligence, gifts she uses to conquer the travellers she meets.
This product has been thought, designed and engineered in Italy. Functionality and innovation as a result of the collaboration between Veela R&D Lab, the Politecnico of Turn and the best Italian textile manufacturers.
All details have been evaluated and tested by professionals.
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The Joys and Pitfalls of Wearing Bib Shorts
Review: Rapha Women’s Classic Bib Short