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How to wear bike shorts without looking like you’re racing in the Tour de France

Words by Alyce Greer

Illustration by Twylamae

Tips and tricks.

In this week’s episode of Items of Clothing We Definitely Didn’t Think We’d Ever Wear Again, we’re looking at bike shorts – the athlete’s wardrobe staple. Somehow, bike shorts have clawed their way out of the activewear drawer and onto the streets of fashion weeks all around the globe, and onto the legs of Kim Kardashian, Hailey Baldwin, Kendall Jenner, and us – the fashion slaves of the world.

Like all trends, it’s wise to weigh up whether this is a trend you’ll actually be partaking in. Does the trend align with your personal style? Does it suit you? Are you styling it in the most flattering way possible?

This last one is especially important when it comes to bike shorts, the most intimidating of all athleisure clothing items. Before you jump right into this trend, we’ve summed up a bunch of styling tips to help you look more Kim, less Tour de France participant. 

Get the length right

Thankfully, bike shorts of all lengths are trending, so you have the generous option of choosing the style that suits your shape best. Avoid anything too super short though, and go for a pair that sits somewhere near the mid-thigh and knee.

Choose your vibe

Are you going for full-blown Yeezy vibes? Pair your bike shorts with reflective bombers, crop tops, scrunchy socks and dad sneakers. Or, are you going more Parisian fashion goddess? Button up a man-style structured blazer over your bike shorts, and add a pair of slingbacks.

When in doubt, go oversized

If you’re planning to experiment with this trend, there’s one non-negotiable you need to have in your wardrobe: an XXXXL t-shirt. The bike shorts and oversized tee combo is the most foolproof method of pulling it off, and will look like you didn’t try too hard – even though you probably stood in the mirror for an hour deciding if it was working for you.

Balance it with structure

Athleisure is the obvious way of wearing bike shorts, but if you’re looking for a way to make them more elevated, play around with structure. One stalk of street style pics from international fashion weeks everywhere will prove the most farshun way to interpret bike shorts is with check blazers that are a bit too big, longline structured jackets, structured tops and heeled boots – generally of the white variety. 

Shoes are key

Speaking of shoes, these are very important and will change your entire look (not always in a good way). Depending on what else you’re wearing, the best choices here are chunky sneakers, dainty slingbacks, kitten heels, mules, pool slides and boots.

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