Iva Jean’s fashionable, bike-friendly clothes for ladies are designed to encourage riding everywhere, all the time.

The Daily Blouse is a bit longer in the back with a pleat for a bit of extra room, and a size zipper for easy on-and-off.

So brilliant. The Reveal Skirt is a good-looking, slim-fitting garment that makes biking a breeze.

A zip in the back is the trick.

The Daily Blouse.

The Reveal Skirt.

The Two-way Reflective Vest makes high-visibility look cool.

Two-way Reflective Vest.

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Kickstarting: Finally, Stylish Cycling Fashions For Ladies

Iva Jean addresses a big-time hole in the marketplace—good-looking, bike-friendly clothes for gals.

Biking in trousers is simple. Biking in shorts is no problem. Biking in slim-fitting skirts? It ain’t easy. I’m only slightly ashamed to admit that I’ve sported spandex under a nice dress that was hiked up to my waist in order to make my way around San Francisco on two wheels, and let me tell ya—it’s not a good look. Ann DeOtte Kaufman became an avid urban rider after a move from Michigan to Seattle but wasn’t impressed with the chasm between the function and fashion of cycle-specific clothing. So last year she founded Iva Jean—named after her crafty grandmother—to make good-looking garments for women who already love to bike, and those who haven’t yet hopped on but just might.

After kicking off the collection with a truly lovely, so-much-better-than-a-plastic-poncho-from-Walgreen’s Rain Cape, she’s turned to Kickstarter to fund 2013’s spring line, featuring a tailored Daily Blouse, Two-way Reflective Vest, and the showstopping Reveal Skirt.

"I had assumed that creating a final design would be pretty straightforward—a pencil skirt with a zipper in the back," Kaufman tells Co.Design. "Easy." Perhaps more than any of the other items, which all go through similarly extensive in-studio and real-world trials with two designers and seamstresses, the engineering on this one took some serious persistence to perfect. Preliminary fit measurements determined the length, where it would hit on the waist, the side entrance, and darting at the back, but it also became clear that the planned seven-inch pleat just didn’t allow for enough movement, with far too much stress on the seam. An iterative series of alterations followed, until finally the "reveal" was extended from top to bottom with an added zipper and angled pleat to keep the lines sleek and clean. "I couldn’t keep the smile off my face during testing," Kaufman says. "We had nailed it."

The Kickstarter campaign is already a success, and Kaufman’s got even bigger plans for the future of Iva Jean. "I’m dying to tackle the perfect cycling pant," she says. "Or better yet, the perfect city pant. I’d love something that looks and feels like an everyday trouser, but acts like a performance pant. Can you imagine—water-resistant, breathable, moisture-wicking, four-way stretch, higher rise, abrasion resistant?! That’s next, and I can hardly wait." Lots of ladies out there, myself included, are no doubt equally excited.

Click here to contribute to the Iva Jean Kickstarter.

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  • Cyclist

    I love this idea! Fabulous designs. And there is a hole in the market. Unfortunately the starving looking model that doesn't look like she could ride 3 miles makes me feel like the brand is not actually in touch with the market they are trying to serve. With whom are you trying to resonate?

  • rr

    That "starving" model has great calves and looks like she honestly puts some hours in riding.  Sometimes expending more energy than you're taking in makes you fit.  I know that's hard to believe in America, but it's true.

  • jukidu

    Yep. I do it all the time. As long as the sole of the shoe is rubberised, you're fine. The ball of the foot is all that sits on the pedal, and when you're at a stop, you can put your foot down with an extra point of contact, giving you a bit more support.

  • BarbChamberlain

    I bike in heels & street clothes pretty much every day. City riding doesn't demand full kit and clipped-in shoes--it's stop and go with traffic lights.

    I've been craving Iva Jean's bike cape for a while and since I recently moved to Seattle my need for that kind of item went up. I just gave these new designs a shoutout on my blog (http://bikestylespokane.com/20....

    This kind of savvy design needs support to broaden the appeal of biking. It's certainly possible to bike in all kinds of regular clothes but a straight skirt is particularly challenging and if you like that look, it requires a creative design solution. 
    Manufacturers of bike clothing aren't designing stylish streetwear appropriate for business meetings and manufacturers of women's fashion aren't designing bike-friendly clothing. It's entrepreneurs like Iva Jean who will fill this niche and it's a growing one.