Summer Commuter Clothing Choices: What’s so Wrong about Shorts and a T-Shirt??

The past couple of years, various blogs and news articles have been written about women riding around in “regular clothes.” Often, these regular clothes have included skirts, dresses, heels, and who knows what else.

While these may be regular clothes for some (and I do have a dress code at my office that requires professional wear, sigh), heels and dresses don’t tend to be a successful combination for me when I’m on my bike.

  • I tried to ride in a skirt, and I felt silly.
  • I rode in heels, and found it impractical.
  • I don’t like wearing dresses or skirts when I’m not at the office. It’s just not me.
  • I prefer to ride a diamond frame as my main commuter.
I am not commuting in this dress or these heels. Ever.

Now, just because I’m not throwing on a skirt and heels doesn’t mean that I hop into a superhero team kit, either.

There is a whole array of clothing that falls in between full-on businesswear and roadie bike wear. It’s true! It’s what I like to call  my commuting clothes.

For the summer months, commuting in the heat and humidity of Washington, D.C., calls for the following wardrobe staples:

  • Shorts;
  • T-shirt;
  • A pony tail; and
  • Sidi’s or my commuter Keen’s. Yes, I love my SPD’s.
T-shirt and shorts. That’s right.

You heard right. No dresses, skirts, or hair flowing freely in the breeze. T-shirt and shorts, people!

I like how I look and feel in a t-shirt and shorts, though it may not be cycle chic or uber-sporty. I feel confident, pedal easily, can decide to ride a a few extra miles in the morning or afternoon heat without fretting about sweating up my nice business clothes, and don’t have to worry about how I’m going to straddle my diamond frame bike.

Another day, another commute in t-shirt and shorts.

When I get to the office, I towel off, throw on my j-o-b clothes, put on my makeup, and start my day.

Some may prefer to meld their work and commuting clothes, but during the summer that does not work for me. I’m keeping my commute clothes for commuting and my work clothes for just that- work. It keeps the wear and tear on my professional wardrobe minimal, the dry cleaning bills low, and my cycling comfort level high.

And what’s not to like about that?

Back to work already? Hope everybody has a great week!


  1. Work? Ugh!

    I doubt I’d ever ride in dressy work clothes. I am pretty sure that the inside of the thighs of my work slacks would wear out prematurely for one thing. And I leave the dresses for Saturday nights. 🙂

    It’s t-shirts and mountain bike shorts for me.

    We are lucky to have showers where I work so clean up is a breeze.

    One hang up with the new job I am considering is no one seems to know if the place has bike parking and showers. Get with the program, people!


  2. I’m all for shorts and a t-shirt! Way more comfortable than wearing work clothes, although I will wear work clothes if I’m just going to the Metro station. Even then, I’m wearing a shirt, slacks, and comfortable shoes.


  3. Nice article. I agree. If you read Bicycle Quarterly, perhaps you saw Jan’s article about how the whole “cycle-chic” thing wasn’t all that practical for your average American commuter. I do often wear my normal work clothes for my commute, but it’s short and my workplace is exceedingly casual. When it’s really nasty though, it’s shorts and t-shirts and showering at the office. I think your look is a good balance between the uber-sporty and cycle-chic, both of which can be off-putting to those outside the fold. And you look great!


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