It’s Tough To Be Fashionable or It’s Fashionable To Be Tough 

by Kristin Leary

Since I began motorcycling, I’ve constantly been amazed with the diverse types of women involved in motorcycling. They are young, old, thin, not-so-thin, white, black, short, tall, professional business women and professional moms. But even more interesting is the clothing they choose to wear!

Most people would agree that it’s difficult to be fashionable when it’s 38 degrees and you’re wearing all the clothing you brought along, or when it’s pouring rain and you’ve got on canary yellow rain gear, or especially when you’re on a long tour and haven’t showered for days. However, things are different when it’s 95 and sunny. Fashion takes on a new meaning for many female bikers.

I recall my first experience at Sturgis. As many of you know all too well, Sturgis in August is hot as hell. Forewarned, I packed along what I thought would be appropriate clothing – neon running shorts and a swim suit top. It took me about 15 minutes to realize that 1. my very bright colors stood out in this very “black” crowd, and 2. I was overdressed for this event.exit14

Women were making bold fashion statements everywhere. I saw it all: tassels on nipples, bodyweb suits (a bodysuit attacked by scissors, until mostly flesh is visible), studded dog collars attached to leather boob rings…and the women who didn’t think it was necessary to wear a top at all when the tattoos on their breasts would be sufficient. Cosmo and Glamour magazines would have been impressed by the amount of flesh exposed. I know most of the men were.

Some women say they feel a lot of pressure to be fashionable motorcyclists. I’ve often wondered where this “pressure” comes from. Does it come from their male counterparts wanting them to be a stylish biker chick? Is it from seeing gorgeous models in motorcycling magazines and wanting to look like them? Or is it from going to events like Sturgis where women “one-up” each other? This question will remain one of the world’s great mysteries.

I respect individuality and preferences that are different from mine. But where exactly is the line that distinguishes the ‘wild’ from the ‘wacko’? I wonder if these fashionable biker chicks actually consider themselves motorcyclists? Is it the statement they want to make with tassels and tattoos on their weekend away from their office job, or is it because of their love for the open road? I’d hope it’s the latter.

And just in case you’re wondering what I wear to Sturgis now, I must admit that I’ve become a conservative conformist….I don any type of black clothing I can find. My neon outfit is reserved strictly for the beach.


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