I have a confession to make. There's this girl. Woman, actually. Japan-born and based in London, with style so sharp it actually makes my heart ache. If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you might recognize her.
What I didn't realize myself until recently is, I've been style-stalking Karina T. Jones for years. Not just at the Tweed Run, but in Paris and London during fashion week, where I used to shoot street style in my past life as a trend forecaster. A dip into the archives revealed Karina in her many vintage guises through the years. I didn't even know she rode a bike back then!
Imagine my delight to discover her on two wheels at the London Tweed Run. She really nailed it with her 2014 look. I finally got the guts to gush openly over her style via email. Lucky for us, she obliged to a short Q&A on her Top Bike Pretty tips.
1. BP: The Tweed Run happens once a year (in London), but we know you bike pretty year-round, and often with a similarly vintage flair. What is your thought process when putting an outfit together, and what inspired your 2014 look?
KTJ: I have 3 bikes, a Barker's 1950s sit up and beg-type bike, a 1980s Mercian with drop bars, and a fixed-gear bike, so it depends which one I'm riding that day. Recently, the Mercian is my favorite. I tend to go for a more vintage look with my Barker's, and more modern and practical with the other two bikes. My outfit for the 2014 Tweed Run (above) was a combination of everything I love: 1920s hair, beret, strong colour, a bit of tweed and finally Westwood.
2. BP: As a professional stylist, you handle fashion-forward apparel all the time. Do you have any opinions on the burgeoning realm of cycle-specific apparel? And how do you adapt your wardrobe to fit your needs on the bike, if at all?
KTJ: I'm actually not that aware of new cycle-wear, and I don't own much cycle apparel. I just wear whatever I like. But sometimes skirts or wide-legged trousers are a bit tricky!
3. BP: Let's be real: your finger waves were perfect. How did you achieve such a sublime rendition of this notoriously difficult hairstyle?
KTJ: I always had a thing for finger waves. As you may know there are numerous tutorial videos on youtube. But the problem is that it's never done on themselves! It's always either on a model or a mannequin head. If you can't do it yourself what good is that?! But I finally found one. It's done really fast but if you watch very closely you can really learn how to place your fingers, how to move the comb and where to put pressure.
My advice is to use lots and lots of gel that doesn't dry too quickly. It gives you more time to get the waves right. And just practice. Don't be scared of really going over the top.
4. BP: What's the most dramatic outfit you've ever cycled in? How did you accommodate any excesses of fabric or form on the bike, and did you encounter any difficulty on the journey?
KTJ: I cycle pretty much every day, everywhere, unless I have lots to carry or when it's raining. But Tweed Run is definitely when I make extra effort to get dressed up. Also Halloween. I cycled around East London as a Zombie Dorothy, that got a lot of attention. But I like it because the reaction is always so positive in London.
5. BP: Finally, do you have any other insider tips gleaned from years of cycling stylishly in London and abroad?
KTJ: I really love cycling, you can go at your own pace, stop whenever you want. You get to know London in a more intimate way. I don't really have any cycling essentials but I hate it when I get the chain oil on my trousers, so maybe a trouser strap, lights and D-locks. Very minimal. Outfit-wise, anything goes! I like to keep the options open and free. There is one thing I can't wear when I cycle though: platform heels!
We agree. Platform heels* and wide-leg trousers doth not an easy Bike Pretty look make. Thanks for the insight, Karina! Remember the KTJ formula:
- 1920s hair
- strong colour
- a bit of tweed
- and finally Westwood
Shop her look below.
Striped Scarf by ModCloth / Penny Farthing brooch / Parisian Beret / Jantine Van Peski X MUUSE structured jacket / Best of Boston belt by Modcloth / No Matter Putt pants by Modcloth / Vivienne Westwood Pirate Boot / Hollandia dutch-style bike / MAC Russian Red / Crochet gloves / Pearl Drop Earrings
*Note from the editor--I've totally seen Kelly bike across London in platform heels, looking fab the whole way. Even more incredibly, she hadn't yet swapped out her pedals so she was riding on egg-beaters too!