Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The EB Christine Trench and that Being Visible Thing

A few months ago I got the Eddie Bauer Spring Preview catalog in the mailbox and quickly went looking for outerwear, in search of a light, car-coat length trench.  I wanted it specifically to wear on my bike rides during the spring and morning and evening when the temperature is cool. 

But would Audrey wear this trench?

This year's offering is the Christine Trench, which I believe returns from last season.  It's a fairly classic, single-breasted trench with minimal detail and no hood; exactly what I was looking for.  The catalog described it as having a cotton/nylon shell with polyester lining and fully lined and water-repellent.  It features a back gusset unbuttons for extra ease of movement and runs small, medium and large, with petite, tall and women's plus sizes as well. 
Made with real lemon juice - it says so on the box!
The trench comes in six colors, including "lemon drop".  Goody!  I wanted a yellow trench coat for added visibility but didn't want to resort to the usual "safety green" shade that screams "I'm a scared, nervous cyclist.  Please don't run over me!".   Lemon Drop is a subtle shade of yellow. Neither too pale nor too bright; it is indeed the exact shade of yellow of a Lemonhead hard candies (the actual candies not the box) one sometimes finds at the movies.  Knowing that retailers aren't running the risk of overstocking this season, I snapped one up for the non-sale price of $89.  The Eddie Bauer website indicates that the trench is now on sale for $59, and I'm a bit tempted to purchase another one in "geranium" (pinkish-red). 

I'd like to segue to the issue of visibility for a moment.  I'm a little reluctant after three years of bike commuting to admit that I'd buy an article of clothing for the purpose of being more visible on my bicycle.  I just don't see bicycling as inherently dangerous, no matter how often my mother frets for my safety.  Though I have a healthy respect for bike safety and my physical vulnerability on a bike, I think observing the rules of the road and defensive biking strategies  do more to keep me in one piece than electric colors and 20 blinkie lights.  On the other hand, my husband and I have both noticed too many cyclists pedaling at night in dark clothing and without the benefit of headlights or red blinkies - often going in the wrong direction in the bike lane.  We live in a "Dark Skies" community so that Lowell Observatory and local stargazers don't loose the nighttime sky scape so after dark often means pitch black.  Both while on bikes or in our car, we have been suddenly surprised by night cyclists who we couldn't even see despite the fact that we actively look for them.  Normally, I'd probably purchase a black or tan trench but out of consideration for my mother and perhaps the best intentioned nighttime drivers I selected Lemon Drop.

A vision sunshine panda shot.

Now back the the Christine Trench.  After reading a number of customer reviews I decided to order my coat in a petite medium.  Good choice for me.  The cut is a bit boxier than the on-line photos suggest so while I cut was slightly bigger than what I would prefer the shoulders are cut smaller than the rest of the jacket.  It would be nice to see next years version but fuller in the shoulders, with a more nipped at the waist.

The trench doesn't have any the interior pockets that I've grown used to with so many of my coats and jackets but the two exterior side pockets are wonderful.  Very deep and cut at an angle such that items can't easily fall out.  I never worried that either my mobile phone or my camera would be tossed out of my pocket if I went over a bump. 

So far, I've been pedaling on mostly clear days so I haven't had the chance to test it in the rain but the fabric feels like it would be fine in a light to moderate rain.   My last few rides though, I haven't even been thinking about precipitation but just enjoying the sun and indulging thoughts of warmer weather.  Pretty soon, my trip home will be punctuated by stops on the side of the road to more closely inspect high-country wildflowers and the antics of humming birds recklessly buzzing around me - but never flying into me because I am quite visible in my Lemon Drop colored trench.


Kara said...

It is so cute and springy. The fact that it keeps you visible is just a plus!

Julie said...

Awww! You look so nice! Great purchase and safety investment indeed.

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