Finding trousers that are not only office-appropriate, but also cycling-friendly has been one of the toughest things to find since starting The Discerning Cyclist over two years ago.
Some kecks look smart but don’t function too well. Some are poorly disguised performance wear. And some just don’t look good. Gah.
But normally, where there is a gap in the market, a smart entrepreneurial type will identify this and attempt to fill this hole. This is where we introduce Stefan Loble, the founder of New York-based Bluff Works.
Stefan used to live and work in the Big Apple, wearing “traditional office attire”. However, he found himself frustrated by the amount of time he was wasting simply maintaining his work clothes, which he had to wash and iron after every wear. It’s a job nobody likes. Nobody.
But instead of just putting a brave face on and putting up with it, Stefan decided to do something about it – like all good entrepreneurs do. And so he set out to design clothes that he could cycle to work in, look respectable in front of clients and then have a play in Central Park in; without the need to persistently do laundry and iron. And so Bluff Works was founded following a successful Kickstarter campaign.
First off the Bluff Works production line is the Wrinkle-Free Pants, available for $88.
Wrinkle-Free, Office Friendly Cycling Trousers
As you can probably guess by the name, the premise of these pants is that they are wrinkle-free. They will barely crease. And I’ve seriously tried. If you go out of your way to try and make them wrinkle, the best you’ll achieve is slightest hint of a line. Throw them in your bag, leave them in a heap… whatever, they’ll still be ready to go.
One line I particularly resonated with in the description on the Bluff website for these pants was this: “We make the ultimate wrinkle-free pants for work, play and travel that perform like a technical garment, but don’t look like one.”
Why aren’t all clothes designed to be like this?
The quality of these cycling pants is apparent from when you first put them on. The material is fluid, meaning you can immediately tell that these will offer you all the flexibility you need for the movements of cycling.
They are also exceptionally light and breathable, again a feature that lends itself wonderfully to an active lifestyle. The last thing you want is to feel hot and clammy when you roll into work, and, on that front at least, the Bluff Pants will sort you out.
I opted to go for these pants in ‘Light Khaki’, but they are also available in Velvet Brown, Classic Grey, Charcoal and now Navy Blue.
One minor criticism I would have of these pants though, is that although the quantity and functionality of the pockets is bordering on perfect (as I’ll look at next), the thinness of the material does make it quite clear what is in your pockets. Making phones, wallets, keys, or whatever you carry about with you, quite easily distinguishable when walking through town. This is a problem with a lot of trousers, but with Bluff Works, I genuinely think they could counter this in future versions with possibly a padded top to the pocket.
The good side of the pockets is that they are deep. There is a hidden zip pocket behind the left front pocket big enough for a phone. There is a hidden loop in the right side pocket for your keys, as well as mini pocket at the bottom of the same pocket which is ideal for keeping small change in place – so no needless chinking while walking. As well as all that, there is another two rear pockets, one of which has a zip. Perfect.
Normally I’m quite partial to a slim fitting trouser. Not the painted on style of skinny jeans, but a good straight fit. These Bluff’s don’t ‘fit’ into my typical sizing/style preference, but I think they’re great nonetheless. If you do prefer a slimmer fit though, like myself, that can easily be sorted, with each set of pants available in 1” increments. So if you want that slimmer fit or even a wide one, simply order appropriately.
The wider fit also introduced me to a feature of being a cyclist that has so far managed to escape me: the art of tucking your trousers into a sock. NOW I feel like a proper cyclist.
These pants are great. They look and feel great on the bike. They look smart in the office. Functionality and style combined.