In the kit-crazed world of triathlon, we are sometimes judged by our fashion sense as well as our sporting ability, often by the more elite (and more than a little vain) among us. But many style rules exist for a purpose - not only do they prevent us from becoming fodder for ridicule, they also help make us faster, safer, more efficient and more comfortable. Follow these guidelines to look sharp and perform well.
Show some leg by cutting off the bottoms of your wetsuit
The Fashion: Hacking the bottoms off your wetsuit legs to reveal intimidatingly muscular calves screams that you're ready to rocket through the swim at the start of a triathlon.
The Function: Trimming your wetsuit won't affect your buoyancy, but it could enhance the speed at which you remove your wetsuit in the transition.
Wear a second swim hat over your goggle straps
The Fashion: Look around at the start of a triathlon and you'll struggle to find many goggle straps on view.
The Function: Wearing two swim hats won't just help keep in the heat when you're in cold water, it will also keep your goggles firmly on your face in the rough-and-tumble of an open-water swim.
Look shiny and sharp, not chapped and cracked
The Fashion: Legs slathered in warming lubricant look glossy and toned - and will part company from your wetsuit lickety-split. Once you're on your bike, your slick legs will make you appear fast and powerful, even if you're not.
The Function: Besides keeping your legs warm, the deep-heating effect of embrocation soothes muscles and stimulates circulation on those bitterly cold days.
Form-fitting, not ill-fitting
The Fashion: Your tri-suit should never be loose or long on your arms or thighs. It should fit your body very snugly, like a second skin.
The Function: High-tech, ergonomically cut triathlon clothing is designed to breathe, wick moisture away from your skin and feel comfortable against your body. The one-piece provides comfort round your midsection and keeps your shorts from drooping, so your chamois stays in place. If it doesn't, it's not serving its purpose and since you've paid good money, that just won't do.
The small stuff
Align your tyre hot patch - the label - with the valve stem
The Fashion: Aligning your tyre's label with your wheel's valve stem proves you pay attention to detail. Skip this step and you may as well be walking round with your flies open.
The Function: The valve and label act as a reference point so you can easily locate the debris that punctured your tube. When you need to quickly fix your flat in a race you'll save seconds not having to look for the valve stem.
Wear sunglasses over, not under, your helmet straps
The Fashion: Be honest: if you spend upwards of £50 on eyewear you'll definitely want to keep the logos visible.
The Function: Tucking the arms of your sunglasses under your helmet straps can push the earpieces into the sides of your head, creating unwanted pressure. Wearing your shades over your straps lets you quickly and easily pop them off or prop them up on your helmet if they become fogged or splattered with sweat. Just remember you're wearing them before you rip off your helmet in transition two.