watts and a wardrobe

In all the notebooks I'm scrawling into on any given day, the random, disjointed thoughts are broken up by half completed designs for garments I'm going to get around to making. Once I finish my ride, do the laundry, run to the grocery store, clean my bike, edit that blog post, I was going to get to it. You know, eventually.
While I continue to prioritize the riding, in the beginning, I used to have mixed feelings about it. I wanted the bike to make me a waif-ish climber, but despite what Rapha ads might promise, the opposite happened. Though pedaling for hours might gift some women with narrow hips and gazelle-like physiques, the kilometers built me up into what would be considered, by Japanese standards, to be similar to a brick shithouse. It makes sense - for every Contador, there is a Cavendish - but I can't say I was elated at this discovery. I'd be lying if I said that the projected restriction of my already limited wardrobe wasn't a part of that disappointment. [Skirt below made and embroidered by me, tan lines from last year. Someone in NYC will hate me a little for this so...um...sorry?]

Growing quads, glutes, and calves made it easier, though, to convince myself that my abnormal proportions had exiled me from shopping like a normal person.The voluntary disqualification from consumerism also stemmed from the fact that I never liked to blindly throw myself into trends. Scallop-edged shorts that make me look both blubbery and like a pedophile's wet dream are in? No thanks, I'll pass. The temptation to conform lingers, but I'm still vain enough to refuse to wear anything that makes me look worse. I'm also, unfortunately, funny about clothes in the same way I am funny about bikes: I can't bring myself to buy anything that isn't [reasonably] well-crafted. It's unfair to compare stock welds to those that now grace Fireflys, but the exposed zippers and cheap, hurried seams of everything offered at Forever 21, Zara, and H&M ensure that I'll never go into bankruptcy via fast fashion. Learning how to use a sewing machine and an appreciation for impeccable tailoring have resulted in a perversion of the Diderot effect: I can't, in good conscience, buy anything that I could make - with my limited skills - better, and so I end up refusing to buy anything at all. [And yes, those ridiculous tan lines help, too.]
Unconsciously - and perhaps to my bank account's detriment - I've somehow grown into my cycling body. I like knowing that I'm stronger than women with smaller legs and nonexistent calves. On doing the usual personal physical assessment that every woman does at least once three times a day, I caught myself wishing that my glutes were bigger. Quad separation seemed like a reasonable goal, too. With that, I looked at my closet, sighed, and went shopping.

Unfortunately, self-acceptance doesn't mean that the world automatically embraces your proportions and starts producing things that fit just right and are incredibly flattering. And because I refuse to trade watts for a wardrobe, I dusted off some French curves, pulled out drafting paper and ironed out rolls of muslin. Since then, I've been working on a couple of projects, post-ride, when my legs don't work so good. Because what girl doesn't want to [try to] be [as Zoolander put it] really, really, really, ridiculously good-looking, tan-lines and all?

[I'll be posting progress updates and completed projects that hopefully don't make me look like a vertically challenged blob. Keep those fingers crossed for me!]