It must be easy to look good on a motorcycle, right?
Well, that’s what Hollywood tells us.
Biker chicks in movies pull off their helmets, shake their hair in slow motion, and look around for a photographer from Vogue.
That always makes me laugh like a damn hyena.
Because in the real world, looking good on a motorbike takes a little more work.
Actually, a lot more work…
To look good on a motorcycle, it helps if you have a strategy. Start by tackling the helmet hair and motorcycle makeup challenges. Then you can move on to choosing safety gear that offers protection AND style. Finish by adding some color and personality to your look, and you’re ready to ride in style.
Going out on a motorbike is not like going to the mall.
Not even close.
Motorcycles offer a unique set of style challenges.
On a motorcycle, there are some dark fashion forces at work.
You have to know how to deal with them if you want to look stylish on a motorcycle.
So what’s the problem, exactly?
5 Obstacles to Looking Good on a Motorcycle
Let’s take a closer look at just what we’re dealing with here.
1. Motorcycle gear is about safety – not fashion.
Yep, that means it’s practical, but often ugly.
Monkey-butt ugly, in fact.
It’s hard to look good (or even female) when you’re covered head to toe in bulky safety gear. But if they start filming another Mad Max movie in your town, you’re in luck.
Get ready to mingle with the stars.
You’re already dressed as an extra.
2. You’re wearing 25 layers of clothes.
Because you’re out in all kinds of weather on a motorcycle, you must wear layers.
You’re more or less a deep-dish lasagne in human form.
Sadly, that’s not as tasty as it sounds.
3. Helmet hair is a fact of life.
Helmet hair is a major challenge to your overall style.
Take off your helmet at the end of a ride, and watch as the local children run away screaming in terror.
4. Your makeup’s being tested in a howling wind tunnel (that may also be boiling hot).
Most makeup was not created with motorcycle challenges in mind.
Liquid foundation was never mean to be quite THIS liquid.
And mascara looks like a 4 year old’s finger painting after 100 miles in the rain.
5. Big jewellery and high heels are not an option.
You know the kinds of accessories you turn to in your daily life?
Like long earrings, a few bracelets, or a pair of pretty heels?
Don’t even think about it!
They’re all off the table here.
On a motorcycle, they’re wildly impractical.
And sometimes even dangerous.
Get your flowing scarf caught in a moving wheel, and you’re headed for disaster.
Phew! That’s a lot of style challenges, right?
But don’t give up, and reach for your car keys instead.
You just need to try some of my sneaky little tricks.
8 Simple Ways to Look Good on a Motorcycle
Let’s start at the top.
1. Your motorcycle helmet
Your helmet is probably the most vital piece of safety gear you wear.
What could be more important than protecting your head?
(And if you need a little help to choose a motorcycle helmet, I walk you through the options here.)
Because your helmet does such an essential job, it needs to meet a strict set of safety standards. But that doesn’t mean it has to be ugly!
There are two ways to make a motorcycle helmet more attractive:
a) Add some accessories
b) Just get a gorgeous helmet.
If you want to go with option (a) and accessorise your helmet, you have plenty of choice.
For example, you can attach any of these to the outside:
- Clip on cat ears
- Bright pigtails
- Sparkly decals
- Visor stickers, and even
- Little coloured bows.
Any of these add a touch of femininity, and even whimsy.
Personally, I love the cat ears.
But I’m already a crazy cat woman.
I don’t need to prove it any further, believe me.
Now, motorcycle helmet accessories might sound like too much work to you.
So go with option (b), and just choose a road legal helmet you love.
Plenty of motorcycle helmets are flat-out gorgeous – while still being practical.
I have my eye on a stunning full-face Shoei helmet at the moment.
It’s scarlet, with a light scattering of gold flake.
It makes me smile just to look at it.
It’s a really high quality, comfortable helmet that just happens to be movie star glamorous.
Not only will you look good on a motorcycle wearing one of those…
You could also forgive a helmet this pretty for leaving you with helmet hair.
Speaking of which…
2. Dealing with helmet hair
The sad truth about helmet hair is that you can’t avoid it.
You can only fix it – quickly – before the birds fly in, and start nesting in those lovely tangles.
But here’s the good news: it IS pretty easy to fix, and takes only minutes.
I’ve written a guide to fixing helmet hair, packed with practical tips – right here.
Oh, and while we’re on the subject of hair, if you want to take a selfie, do it before helmet hair strikes (try this).
So once you’ve shaken the birds’ eggs out of your hair, what’s next?
3. Motorcycle helmet makeup
Ah yes, another challenge for the motorcycle woman who cares even the tiniest little bit about style.
When it comes to wearing makeup with a motorcycle helmet, less is more.
You may need to simplify your daily routine.
(Leave the false eyelashes in the bathroom cabinet, for sure.)
Don’t be tempted to apply 12 layers of products, in the desperate hope that some of them will still be in place after your ride. The fact is, they probably won’t: makeup in a helmet is likely to slip and melt – especially in the rain, or on a hot day.
You don’t want to look like Zombie Barbie when you take off your helmet.
To avoid being part of your own horror movie, you might want to check out my guide to motorcycle helmet makeup.
4. The motorcycle jacket
A great motorcycle jacket can really help you look good on a motorcycle.
It’s usually the first thing people notice.
A beautiful leather jacket compensates for the ugly safety gear you can’t avoid.
(Yeah, I’m talking about you, boots and gloves – more on this in a minute…)
A leather jacket looks better than a textile jacket, every day of the week.
But it’s not only classy.
It’s also really effective as proper safety gear.
A good quality leather motorcycle jacket will have back, shoulder and elbow protection. It offers a thick and reliable layer of protection between you, and the road. And the wind, come to that.
Some jackets also feature a zip-out thermal liner that you can leave in or take out, depending on the temperature.
That gives you yet another layer of comfort. A gorgeous leather jacket also looks great with jeans when you go away on a motorcycle weekend.
You can wear it to a bar or restaurant (especially once you’ve fixed the helmet hair)!
It’s practical AND beautiful.
Definitely worth the investment.
5. Add some color or sparkle
You may have already noticed that most motorcycle safety gear comes in one color only…
And sure, that has its advantages: it’s slimming, and goes with anything.
But head-to-toe black gets pretty boring, pretty damn fast.
Do something about it: add a touch of color to all that monochrome black.
There are a million ways to pull this off.
Here are some ideas:
- A bright scarf that protects your neck and adds a flash of color
- A long necklace you can tuck inside your jacket until you reach your destination
- A soft pink lip color that brightens your face
- Small, sparkly stud earrings that won’t catch in your helmet, or
- A colorful t-shirt that will be visible once you peel off all the outer layers.
And that reminds me…
6. The right t-shirt
Motorcycle t-shirts are a simple but powerful way to add some style to your overall look.
And here’s some breaking news…
You DON’T have to wear a motorcycle t-shirt that features a skull bleeding out of its eye sockets. Ugly motorcycle t-shirts should be illegal!
I’m on a mission for some time to save the world from ugly motorcycle t-shirts. There’s really no excuse for some of the nasty, trashy designs out there!
The right motorcycle t-shirt can be feminine, and reflect your personal style.
7. Motorcycle jeans
It’s tempting to just wear your favorite jeans out on the bike, isn’t it?
They’re soft, they’re comfortable, and they fit in all the right places.
Sure, they look good, but what if you fall off?
If they’re not motorcycle jeans, they’ll offer very little protection for your legs.
And they’ll split open in a heartbeat.
(Yep, I found that out the hard way – scraping road gravel out of my knee was not the most fun I’ve ever had.)
You have two safety options here: proper motorcycle jeans, or leather motorbike pants. Done right, both options can work as safety gear, but also remind people that, yes, there’s a woman in there!
Neither will be quite as comfortable your favorite jeans, it’s true.
But it IS possible to find a pair that fit well, and help you look good on a motorcycle.
So it pays to keep looking until you find The Ones.
Try on as many as you can.
You’ll know you’ve found The Ones as soon as you do up the zipper and look in the mirror.
The fit will be snug, but comfortable.
You’ll be able to sit on a bike for hours without being cut in half, or having the dreaded muffin top spilling out over the waistband.
And if you think leather pants are a step too far, think about this:
When else could you get to wear leather pants in the daytime?
This is your chance.
They’re sexy, stylish, and look casually elegant with a pretty motorcycle t-shirt.
Yes, they’re a little expensive.
But in this scenario, they count as safety gear, not fashion!
(I’d get out the credit card if I were you…)
8. Cinderella’s ugly sisters: boots and gloves
There’s no makeover possible for these ugly sisters, I’m afraid.
Motorcycle boots and gloves are plain, and purely practical.
Turn off the light, and they’re still ugly.
Their only saving grace is that they’ll protect your extremities, and keep them warm. They’re non-negotiable, essential safety items.
But don’t waste your time trying to pretty them up.
Focus on the parts of your motorcycle outfit that CAN be improved.
And we’ve covered all of that now, right?
So there you have it.
A simple guide to how to look good on a motorcycle.
Which tip will you use first?
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