For starters, they make summertime layering look sound (and not at all insane)
The revival of the bike short trend garnered mixed reactions at first and, we’ll admit, we understand why. “Leggings are not pants!!!” had long been our sartorial war cry, so to see their shorter, skimpier cousin rise to popularity ruffled some feathers. Bottoms that let it all hang out? Deliberately? Say it ain’t so. But here we are with a roundup of fresh ways to werq those teeny-tiny shorts and get past that hesitation. They aren’t nearly as tricky as one would think, we promise.
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As doubters-turned-fashion experimenters-turned believers, what we learned is that in this summer heat, bike shorts are what tip the scale in favor of anyone with a desire to do a little layering. A breezy pair that fits just right (won’t cling or constrain) actually provides that wiggle room.
Take for example the off-duty street style snaps featuring the late Princess Diana that resurfaced along with the bike short trend. Something as casual as a fluffy, graphic printed sweatshirt looked cozy but cool, comfy but summer-friendly with a pair of cycling shorts. And what only sealed the deal of this Princess Di-approved trend were the modern-day high-fashion iterations of Chanel, Jacquemus, Fendi and MSGM that proved cycling shorts sans actual cycling and a bit of imagination make the one unconventional fashion trend worth trying this summer.
Monochromatic and Easy on the Eyes
There’s a lot more to layering than striking a balance visually. Granted that leg-revealing bike shorts give you the liberty to wear more on top, summertime layering is also a study in fabrication. Coming up with a combination of lightweight and breathable clothing is key. That said, pieces made of linen, cotton and other natural fibers are your friends. Anything made of synthetic fibers like polyester, acrylic and nylon, though, are not.
You can also take things in a different direction like Sef here, who opted for a warm neutral head-to-toe look in lieu of all-black, all-white or all-gray. Off-white shades like eggshell, sand and latte are great options; all the more if you find bike shorts in those same refreshing neutral colors.
A loose-fitted polo that skims the hemline of your bike shorts is a look that says: “t-shirt dressing, but with a bit more freedom.” We’re all for bike shorts acting as a figurative safety net this way with concerns about underwear cameos completely out of the way. Like Kate, you can play around with proportion. Showing this much leg suggests you can complete your look with chunky mid-calf socks and lace-up trainers.
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One Season to the Next
Oh, the wonders of a transition piece. Easing out of one season and slipping into the next can be made leagues easier by basic wardrobe staples. Think: a knit jumper or a pair of denim trousers. No surprise here that bike shorts can do just the trick, too.
Taking cues from BJ now, bike shorts can be dressed up for chillier weather with a classic cotton tee, a hoodie and then finally a trench or car coat. Along the same line, stockings can be worn underneath bike shorts for coverage if needed––a style tip we picked up from Gizele Oliveira.
When the Weather Agrees with Something like Leather
An understated pair of bike shorts can be part of a much more elaborate look if styled like Lauren here. Spandex, meet leather.
It certainly helps that this Nanushka top has a lot of personality: an interesting silhouette, tie-around detailing that’s unique to the blouse and a streamlined finish by way of accessory choices. All the right elements to take athleisure next-level. Explore other equally luxurious-looking textures that tick the same boxes that the top below does and you can’t go wrong.
Same Silhouette, Different Fabric
If it’s a hard pass for you on any and all body-hugging Lycra, that’s fine, too. As this trend moves along anyway, expect to see different variations of the popular short silhouette. (We’ve already ’em in animal prints and metallics.)
On Pam, a version in white denim that looks more like cutoffs than activewear bottoms a cyclist would take for a spin. A chance to show off those gams just the same without the super-snug fit or thin fabric.
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Of all the things in fashion better left in the ‘80s, the bike short trend we now know isn’t one of them. Don’t knock it till you try it!
Art Alexandra Lara