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Should I worry about how clothing is perceived on to the wearer?

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    Should I worry about how clothing is perceived on to the wearer?

    So I am thinking about purchasing a cycling kit. For those of you who don't know, a cycling kit is when you buy the jersey and bib shorts together. This allows you to be all matchy-matchy, which is a thing in cycling.

    The kit I am looking at has a good reputation for quality however the perception of the kit/company by some in the cycling community is people who wear the kit are a) pretentious b) care more about looks than riding c) wear the kit to flaunt their purchase

    This leaves me kind of torn. One the one hand I'm a decent cyclist and for the most part can hold my own. On the other hand there is all of that other stuff going on in my head. Thoughts? Should I just but the kit and wear what I like and to hell with whatever the race/ride community thinks? Or am I way over thinking this?

    #2
    Originally posted by DocDave View Post
    Should I just but the kit and wear what I like and to hell with whatever the race/ride community thinks? Or am I way over thinking this?
    Seems like you've answered your own. Wear what's comfortable, fits, and works well for you. If that's Gucci gear, then it's Gucci gear.
    https://www.professorhorseyhead.com

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      #3
      I think the bigger question is what does “some in the cycling community” mean? One guy on Facebook, who cares, part of the community in location you never visit, who cares, or the group you are part of and might stop inviting you because you wear that stuff, probably a big deal.
      My second thought is are you going to worry about what people think and so the sport stops being enjoy able. That would probably be a bad purchase.
      I try to imitate professionals in things I really care about help my mindset.

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        #4
        I mean, I think the healthiest thing to do is to buy what you want and not care what other people think. That said, I'd be lying if I said I didn't care what other people think, and personally, it absolutely would affect my decision on something like this (especially if I was going to be in my own head the whole time I'm wearing it). So, do as I say and not as I do?

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          #5
          Even though many will say “buy what you want and who cares what others think”, I don’t necessarily think that is good or even logical advice. It’s very natural to care about how others will perceive you.

          I agree with the comments above. If you’re going to be worried about wearing the kit you mentioned I doubt you’ll be able to enjoy cycling in it. I know little to nothing about cycling apparel, but I would imagine there is a similar quality brand out there that doesn’t carry the same stigmas as the one you referenced.

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            #6
            Originally posted by armedferret View Post

            Seems like you've answered your own. Wear what's comfortable, fits, and works well for you. If that's Gucci gear, then it's Gucci gear.
            This. My Dad rides about 75 miles a week on bike trails (i.e. he's far from a hyper-competitive cyclist) and does so on a brand new Pinarello Dogma because he loves it and can comfortably afford it.

            Unless you're deep in the cycling community and think the kit will cause major issues with those you ride with, then rock whatever you want!

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              #7
              Good feedback folks. And you're right. Wear what feels good and the heck with it! Haters gonna hate, as the saying goes. Now I just have to wait for the gear go go on sale.

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                #8
                I'd say buy what you want, but if you are going to constantly feel self-conscious wearing that particular kit, is it really what you want? Like, is there another brand that's just as comfortable, good looking and functional that doesn't carry the baggage this particular brand does? Also, when you get all kitted out...don't be the guy I met on a trail once...it's a two lane trail with one lane in each direction. I'm commuting into work on my hybrid (it's a 10 miles one way commute so I'm in wicking performance gear but other than padded short liners I don't do much in the way of biking specific gear). He's on a high end road bike and all kitted out in a bib and bike jersey, riding in his left hand (my right hand) lane parallel with and talking to another cyclist, so this being the USA he is going the wrong way in the lane he's in. So I'm in the east bound lane and he's supposed to be in the West bound lane, and as we get to about 20 feet from each other I say something like "heads up" because I'm starting to worry he's not going to look where he's going and run into me...and he starts swearing at me like I did something wrong. So buy what you want but don't assume it gives you absolute right of way on the trails.
                “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” – Mark Twain

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                  #9
                  Ever since humans invented clothing we've used it to send messages; this entire website is at its heart about using clothing to influence others' perception of us (as stylish, attractive, trustworthy, successful, etc.).

                  As other comments have noted, you will need to be comfortable with the message you're sending with your choice of clothing and how that will affect how you're treated. It may not be as direct as a slogan printed on a hat or shirt, but the effect is real and so is the effort needed to dispel the image you've chosen to create. That effort could quickly become exhausting, even if it's effective.

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                    #10
                    Very true about buying something I will be comfortable in. Even from a non-cycling perspective I have bought clothing in the past I thought I'd like. But of course I wasn't comfortable in the clothing and ended up not wearing it. The same thing applies to cycling gear.

                    The challenge with cycling gear, at least for me, is finding gear that isn't covered in logos.

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                      #11
                      As a longtime cycling enthusiast and casual observer of roadie culture, I love this question. Here's my take... The reason colorful matchy-matchy kits are a thing in cycling is because showing off and smack talking and otherwise aping European pro riders is also a thing. Sporting a flashy outfit is just another way to get in the head of your opponents. So if you want to play that game, go for it. I think, in general, if you back up the garish kit with your performance on the bike, you can wear anything you damn well please. But I would advise against wearing anything in truly bad taste, like a team kit for a team you don't belong to or what have you. You know, pretty much stick to The Rules.

                      I know what you mean about the logos. That's kind of thing with a lot of sportswear. You could check out Rapha (or Rapha-knock offs). I like that more subdued esthetic. But I'm also slow and retrogrouchy, so I stick to black shorts and earth-toned tops.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by tankerjohn View Post
                        I think, in general, if you back up the garish kit with your performance on the bike, you can wear anything you damn well please.
                        And I guess that's what worries me. I'm decent on the bike. By no means junk, but at the same time I can hold my own. That's not to say I don't get passed by some guy who doesn't look like he isn't working while I"m struggle to maintain decent watts output. Anyway...

                        I am concerned about wearing a kit, some guy thinking that I think I'm all that, and then blowing by me. If that makes any sense. I know. The world of cycling is ridiculous.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by DocDave View Post
                          Very true about buying something I will be comfortable in. Even from a non-cycling perspective I have bought clothing in the past I thought I'd like. But of course I wasn't comfortable in the clothing and ended up not wearing it. The same thing applies to cycling gear.

                          The challenge with cycling gear, at least for me, is finding gear that isn't covered in logos.
                          I'm not a cyclist but have always been fascinated (astounded, might be a better word) by the styling of the kits. Somehow I came across this brand, which seems far less obnoxious: https://www.giro.com/c/mens-bike-apparel

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by DocDave View Post
                            And I guess that's what worries me. I'm decent on the bike. By no means junk, but at the same time I can hold my own. That's not to say I don't get passed by some guy who doesn't look like he isn't working while I"m struggle to maintain decent watts output. Anyway...

                            I am concerned about wearing a kit, some guy thinking that I think I'm all that, and then blowing by me. If that makes any sense. I know. The world of cycling is ridiculous.
                            Okay, so I think you should step back and evaluate your goals in cycling and how this kit would help or detract from what you want to do. Are you working/training/trying to go faster? Does the kit help? Well, if its better made or fits more comfortably than your current cycling clothes, than yes, it should. I wouldn't discount the psychological effect either. Look fast = feel fast = BE fast. There's a strong motivational factor to not being the guy with the fancy kit getting dropped. On the otherhand, if you aren't training for speed and just want to go out and ride your own pace for fun and/or exercise without being hassled by douche bags who think every roadsign is the winning sprint of the Tour de France, then maybe the go-fast kit doesn't help. Find another quality brand with a more restrained aesthetic. If your cycling goals are more social in nature, than you should absolutely assess whether this particular kit will help you fit in or stand out in your tribe, depending on how you want to relate to your peers. Do you want to wear what everyone else is wearing or be the guy who cuts against the grain? With this kit, or any other cycling gear, if you like the fit and feel good wearing it, than wear it with confidence and don't worry. Haters are gonna hate; that's just a fact of life. And if you're still worried about a random guy blowing by you...well, he (or she!) was going to blow by you anyway, even if you were wearing board shorts and a t-shirt. Are you even ever going to see that guy again? You do you.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Thanks for the link JohnR


                              tankerjohn Ah cycling goals. That's a loaded question. On the one had training and riding faster is always a goal. On the other hand, getting out on the bike and just enjoying a nice ride is great too. The whole kit deal is something I think that other cyclists deal with too. Going on the bike forums you can always come across threads where people are talking about kits that fit, styles the like, etc.

                              I guess the important thing, as we've stated on the thread here, is to get something that I like and am comfortable in. Otherwise the kit won't get worn and the money will be wasted.

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