Vespertine uses 3M Scotchlite reflective material to make reflective brooches (blossoms) and bracelets, but at between £16 and £29 they are expensive and unlikely to make too much of a safety impact.
Based in New York, Vespertine aims to create high fashion high-vis and reflective items for women who cycle, calling their items 'haute réflecture', but their range of small pinnable brooches and bracelets pack neither the fashion punch or the expansive reflective properties of their larger items.
The key problem is that the blossoms are so small that when you pin them where you would usually wear a brooch – approximately in a buttonhole position – they're hard to see on the bike. Even in a fairly upright riding position your arms get in the way of them being seen. And there is a reason why reflectives usually go on your back and sides, not the front. Wearing one blossom, even the larger one, did not seem to make me more noticeable to the majority of passing drivers.
In Vespertine's publicity materials the model is shown with upwards of 20 blossoms, which is probably what would be needed to make a significant impact on your visibility. They can also attach to hair, but I found that the clip wasn't particularly effective at keeping them in place in my long straight hair; it's intended primarily as a clothes clip. A pin gives another option to secure the blossom, and as an addition to a rucksack or messenger bag the blossoms may be better placed to catch a driver's eye.
The brooches themselves are between 2.5in and 4.5in diameter, with a choice of a clip and a pin on the back of each. The petals are cut from the 3M Scotchlite material which isn't a particularly luxurious material when seen close up and unhemmed. At £16 for the smallest blossom they are pretty pricy, mainly because all the items are handmade in New York. Handmade, however, mostly means glue-gunned together and not stitched, and because of this they were not very robust – the largest blossom was pulled apart by a toddler who had taken a fancy to the shininess before I could get to her.
Vespertine also makes a £29 bracelet which fares better in the 'usefulness' stakes, as adding a reflective to your wrist is likely to catch headlights and alert drivers to a signal to turn. Again the bracelet is glued together and a large Vespertine label is inexpertly glued onto the back. Together with the single skin material which when turned over has the Scotchlite printing on it, the bracelet also does not live up to its hefty price tag. The bracelet comes in one size, 8 inches long. I can imagine wearing it in the summer when I don't want to wear 'cycle kit' but might be coming back in the dark.
Not pretty enough to be standalone accessories nor versatile enough to act as your only reflective in the dark, these are expensive trinkets which may make an interesting stocking filler but don't rely on them as your only means of being visible to drivers.
Nice ideas, but not well made or effective enough to justify the prices.
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Make and model: Vespertine Blossom Clip/Pin Grande
Size tested: Quick Silver
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Attach this beautiful Vespertine Flower clip & pin to bags, jackets or headbands and amaze your friends and on-coming traffic when it glows in the evening sun (a.k.a. Flashes and Headlights).
These are aimed at women who want to add a bit of panache to their clothes for cycling. It falls a little flat for me.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Hand Made in NYC entirely from 3M Scotchlite™ material.
Glue not stitching mean that this product is not as tough as it could be. The material is not well suited to 'jewellery'.
If caught in lights, these blossoms reflect well, but that's a big if.
Did not pass the toddler test.
Very light to wear.
Clips and pins worked appropriately.
Very expensive trinkets.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
When the lights caught the product, the reflection was as expected from Scotchlite reflective material.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The idea of reflective jewellery.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Poor construction quality.
Did you enjoy using the product? No.
Would you consider buying the product? No.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
May appeal as a stocking filler.
Age: 36 Height: 5'7 Weight: size 16
I usually ride: Trek 7.5 WSD My best bike is: Turquoise Cruiser
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Novice
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, general fitness riding, Leisure