If wearing leggings beyond the gym weren’t controversial enough, what about their cropped counterpart – the bike short? Since last summer, bike shorts have been a bit of a thing (at least according to fashion girls), but given their likely passing popularity, I wasn’t quite ready to commit to the trend. Fast forward a few seasons and a few runways later, it appears the bike short trend is going strong.
So, how to style the bike short?
First, let’s be sure we know what we’re talking about here. Yes (despite your surprise), I’m talking about what you’re thinking – those just above-the-knee length shiny spandex shorts that cyclists wear, but generally without the patterns, colors or crotch reinforcement. In other words, your basic cycling short. And, as hard as it is to believe, they can be chic if styled correctly.
Second, let’s talk about choosing the right pair of bike shorts. The key is to find a pair that hits the thigh at the right place, about an inch or two above the knee and is tight and high-waisted enough to offer some waistline and tushy support – you know, like a great pair of spanks (see suggested links below). Too short, i.e. mid-thigh, and they won’t appear intentional and too long, i.e. below the knee, and you’ll look like you’re on the way to yoga.
Third, what does one wear with said bike shorts? I urge that whatever top you choose, choose one that covers your crotch and is slightly oversized (too exposed and too tight is no bueno (ever) – literally, words to live by). So, try a boxy blazer, crisp white oversized button down or flowy blouse to create a fashion-conscious look. Although I acknowledge that wearing a pair of bike shorts with a crop top can be très chic, it is exceedingly difficult to pull off without appearing too sporty or sl*tty, and no one wants that or at least I won’t play a role in encouraging it. As for shoes, depending on the look you’re trying to create (day-friendly, evening appropriate, etc. etc.), a great pair of heeled sandals, interesting point-toe flats or cool sneakers can all work and the length of the shorts will go a long way to showcase a great pair of footwear.
Finally, let’s talk about how I styled my bike shorts. For a recent night of dinner followed by dancing (with a disco theme), I decided to give my new pair of black bike shorts a try (figuring the spandex would be conducive to both eating and dancing). On top, I opted for a black mid length plunge top with long kimono sleeves and belted waist for an all black look. The belt helps to create a nice defined waistline and the length keeps things from being exposed. To turn up the night factor, I carried a bejeweled silver box clutch from Minza Khan (use code: MICHELLE20 for 20% off), wore clear heels with a jewel toe from Schutz and donned oversized tortoise acrylic hoop earrings.