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Momentum Mag reviews the Café du Cycliste Bernadette City Chinos.
Café du Cycliste Bernadette City Chinos
FIND IT AT cafeducycliste.com
Bernadette are Café du Cycliste’s city chino trousers, designed with a classic straight cut and constructed from a premium Italian fabric specifically chosen for its stretch, breathability, and all-round comfort. Features include off set seams in the seat section to prevent chaffing and discomfort, enough stretch to allow for a full range of movement, and a selection of pockets for all essentials. Available in six sizes and one color, blue. Fabric is made of 68% Cotton | 29% Polyester | 3% Elastane.
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The Bernadette city chino is a bold take on the style of trousers you’re likely to find on the shelves of Zara, Club Monaco, or H&M. The main difference being that the cut and fabric are both designed for durability and comfort. While reflective taping at the cuffs and on a large flap hidden in an additional zippered rear pocket are there to add visibility at night, the striking blue color certainly stands out on its own.
My only wish is for more colors. The statement blue is head-turning, but a more neutral black or dark grey would be great additions and would probably become my daily trousers.
Cycling-specific wardrobe staples (t-shirts, khakis, jeans) are extremely popular in the fashion world right now. While most brands will add a reflective stripe or two and raise the waistband to make it cycling-friendly, a few companies are going a step further. Café du Cycliste, whose main focus is stylish cycling wear that harkens Jean Paul Gaultier, has been updating their City line with a particular sense of style that also embraces durability. Whether you walk or ride to get around, active motion tends to quickly wear certain parts of jeans and trousers. The seat seams, a point where four separate seams converge, is often the weakest point on any pair of trousers and the place where I see the most wear. Bernadette’s off set seat seams add a piece of fabric at this junction that works as a gusset and helps create a fit that is slim, comfortable, and durable.
By color choice alone, the Bernadette is a trouser designed to be noticed. The cut is slim and straight, with a slight taper at the ankle. The slim fit is complemented by a slight stretch to the fabric that allows for unrestricted movement, whether you need to quickly climb a set of stairs or ride a bike. The hidden flip-out patch in the zippered rear pocket is large and made of highly reflective material. As someone who has lights and reflectors on their bicycle, this feature is overkill and has remained hidden every time I’ve worn the trousers. Same can be said of the cuff reflective tape that is visible when rolled up.
As stated above, the blue color selected by Café du Cycliste for these chinos is bold. It evokes summers on the water, whether its an evening strolling a boardwalk or a day spent on the deck of a sailboat. The bold color fit in with my wardrobe surprisingly well. Paired with a white shirt the trousers look dressy or instantly feel more casual when worn with a light t-shirt or sweater, similar to but not quite as versatile as denim.
The fabric is both the best part of the trousers and my only minor complaint. The positives: the cotton/ poly mix is light, breathes well, moves extremely well, and holds its shape even after a day of sitting at a desk mixed with a few rides for errands. After days of wear and multiple long bike rides in the trousers there has been no sign of wear. My only complaint is that the polyester in the fabric adds a slight sheen to the trousers. With washing, the sheen has faded a little and the trousers don’t look plasticy, but in comparison to the other chinos in my wardrobe, it is noticeable. However, this is the known trade-off when it comes to adding stretch and durability.
Overall, the Bernadette city chino is a well-made, surprisingly versatile, and downright handsome pair of trousers. The bike-friendly features are a nice mix of the visible though arguably unnecessary reflective elements and the subtle but more essential fit and durability enhancing cut, gusset construction, and fabric.