Photo Marie Claire
How To Style Biker Shorts 2022. Photo Marie Claire

Whether you like it or not, the biker shorts trend is here to stay.

The biker short trend popped up on runways a couple of years ago, then started picking up steam with fashion girls in 2020. And while many people thought that this once-controversial trend would be a flash in the pan, it’s proven to have some serious staying power. As we move into summer 2021, biker shorts have become mainstream.

Alongside slip dresses, leather blazers, and bucket hats, biker shorts have returned from the '90s and it looks like they'll be sticking around for 2021 and beyond. If you think about it, the popularity of the comfy, mid-thigh length shorts actually makes perfect sense. Biker shorts are basically just super cropped leggings that you can wear in warmer weather and style in so many different ways, meaning you can enjoy all the comfort of not wearing real pants and still turn it into a fashion moment.

How comfortable are biker shorts?

One reason biker shorts have become so popular is their impressive versatility. Invented in the 1970s and popularized in the 1980s, biker shorts were originally designed to be high performance workout gear. However, style-setters from the ‘80s, ‘90s, and today have shown us that biker shorts can also look fantastic outside of a gym setting. These cute and comfortable shorts can add style to any type of look, whether you’re going casual or going out.

The versatility of bike shorts is probably their best quality, but it’s also what makes them unapproachable to many people.

Before we jump into specific styling options, we have one general tip for people who are new to the biker short trend: start with a pair that has a bit of length. Longer biker shorts are more fashion forward at the moment and also tend to pair well with more top and shoe options.

READ MORE: How to Sew an Up-to-date Biker Short - Women’s Bike Short Trends in 2021

Are Biker Shorts Necessary?

While you don’t need bike shorts to ride a bike, you won’t see many cyclists – least of all racers – opting against them. It’s worth trying a pair. Many riders find it’s a lot more pleasant to pedal with bike shorts than without.

Biker Shorts With or Without Underwear?

Don’t wear underwear with bike shorts. There are a few important reasons for this.

First, the purpose of a chamois is to provide a smooth surface that prevents friction. Adding underwear undoes that entirely.

Second, chamois are designed to trap harmful bacteria. Cotton underwear, by contrast, doesn’t do this so well.

Third, chafing, heat, and humidity from cotton undies make for a much warmer, soggier environment. That creates ripe conditions to develop saddle sores caused by chafing, which can lead to microtears in your skin.

Have we convinced you to go commando yet?

Triathlons: Can You Wear Bike Shorts Running, Swimming?

Photo gearjunkie
Photo gearjunkie

You can complete a triathlon in bike shorts, but they’ll get soggy pretty quickly. You’re better off in triathlon-specific shorts that offer a super-thin chamois pad that’s more of a microfiber patch. It still avoids friction but doesn’t provide much padding.

The only exception is for longer triathlons, like half and full Ironman distance events. Those events often provide a changing tent. And switching from a swimsuit to a nice pair of bike shorts, and then to your favorite running shorts, leads to a much more pleasant day.

How to style biker shorts 2022?

With a Sweatshirt

Photo rslan
Photo rslan

Coupling a loose sweatshirt with form-fitting bottoms, such as a pair of biker shorts, has the ability make the loungewear staple look less sloppy. Whether you prefer a hoodie, quarter-zip, pullover, or cropped sweatshirt, the body-conforming bottoms will offset your top's lax fit. Add minimalist jewelry like hoop earrings, a single chain necklace, or a simple bangle give things an elevated twist.

With Heels or Boots

Photo Pinterest
Photo Pinterest

If you think sneakers would be the most appropriate footwear for a bike shorts outfit, think again. Throwing on the unexpected shoe choice, such as a pair of heels or chunky boots, is an easy way to make your sporty bottoms feel fancier and more fashion-forward. Go the sleek route by color coordinating your pumps, knee-high boots, or chunky Dr. Martens with your shorts, then choose a more formal shirt, or a basic that can easily be dressed up, to wear up top.

READ MORE: 6 Worst Fashion Disaster In History

With an Oversized T-Shirt

Oversized tees are a look all their own, so go ahead and rock your favorite with a pair of bike shorts and sneakers. The final result is a super comfortable outfit that takes less than five minutes to throw on (an ideal option if you're on a time crunch). Looking for something that feels special? Mix prints to create an even bigger statement.

With a Sports Bra

This pairing is probably a no-brainer, but fitness enthusiasts aren't the only ones sporting the combo. For a fashion-forward twist, add a blazer overtop and some strappy heels, or opt for a bomber jacket and clean sneakers combo with high socks. Also, don't sweat it — we won't tell if you don't actually intend on working out in this ensemble.

Photo aloyoga
Photo aloyoga

With a Blazer

How can you level up your bike shorts from athletic to office-appropriate? Add a blazer. Whether you prefer a tailored fit or an oversized jacket, blazers give the look a professional, sophisticated feel you can build off of with accessories. And if your outfit is looking a little too monochromatic for your liking, this structured jacket can serve as a pop of color.

As a Matching Set

2020 was the year of coordination, and it doesn't look like the trend is going anywhere anytime soon. But keep in mind, sweater sets don't have a monopoly over monochromatic styles: Athleisure is all over this trend with complementary sports bras, leggings, and, yes, even biker shorts sets. Brands like MissGuided, Lululemon, Alo Yoga, and Gymshark, among others, carry matching pieces that can be dressed up or down, depending on your mood.

Under a Skirt

Photo Med Pharm Res
Photo Med Pharm Res

Hiding a pair of biker shorts underneath a skirt or dress is a neat trick a lot of people know about, but don't take advantage of enough. The extra layer provides warmth in chilly temps and can help you feel less exposed in a flowy garment that can pick up and blow all over in windy conditions. Even if your shorts peek out a little bit, own it. So many nostalgic trends are coming back, and it's a great way to nail that '80s vibe.

With a Crop Top

Photo Med Pharm Res
Photo Med Pharm Res

Celebrities like Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski made the crop top and bike shorts combo an iconic pair. Amp up this sporty duo with sneakers and unbuttoned flannels in the fall, flip flops and oversized sunnies in the summer for a street style, or add a sports bra (and a mask) if you're headed to the gym.

With Puff Sleeves

Voluminous sleeves are still going strong, and if you're looking for a way to wear this whimsical trend in a way that's toned down and less over-the-top, bike shorts provide the perfect balance. The unexpected combo is what makes this outfit idea a head-turner, but at the same time, it's comfortable enough to wear from morning to night. There's no need to go super simple with accessories, either: Add chunky socks, layer necklaces, or top things off with a fun hat to ensure your look go well beyond the basics.

With a Button-Down

Photo Pinterest
Photo Pinterest

There's a reason this staple is a must-have in any wardrobe, and if you tend to pair a button-down with everything from jeans to midi skirts, you're sure to love this pairing, too. Whether you leave some or all buttons undone, tuck the top in, tie it at the waist, or let it hang loose as a shacket, the possibilities for how to style it are endless — and the final product is always flawless.

With a Cardigan

Another way to add a cozy and sexy contrast to the bike short's athletic aesthetic is to add a cardigan to your ensemble. An oversized sweater that falls past your knees instantly makes the final product feel more chill, but if you want a more fitted and skin-baring look, opt for a cropped cardigan and clasp the top button.

Cheap vs. Expensive: Which Bike Shorts to Buy

Now that you know all about bike shorts, it’s time to get yourself some. Sometimes, a pair of $40 bibs can fit as perfectly as a $400 pair. The difference is often found in the number of panels (more is generally better) as well as the quality of the construction, fabric, and chamois.

Admittedly, sometimes you pay a bit extra for branding and design. But for the most part, higher-end, pricier bike shorts are truly made better and will last longer.

If you’re new to cycling, a cheap pair will certainly get you started. But don’t shy away from trying some of the more expensive brands as you get more involved with the sport. A pair of Velocio bibs, for example, will cost a lot now but will last through years of heavy use.

Grab a pair now and get riding!

How to Wash and Dry Bike Shorts

The first rule of bike shorts is not to wear them more than once without washing them. After every ride, wash your bike shorts thoroughly. When doing laundry, make sure to put the shorts into the machine inside-out and that the chamois gets as much soap and water as possible.

Also, use a soap that won’t irritate your skin. Many cyclists find unscented, dye-free soap to be the best option. Since you’re pressing the fabric into your skin as you sit on the saddle, it’s ultra-important to avoid skin irritants. Otherwise, double-rinsing also helps avoid skin irritation.

As for drying, that’s your call. Most brands recommend line drying versus tossing the shorts in the dryer, but most shorts can withstand plenty of dryer cycles. Whatever drying method you employ, make sure that your shorts get hit with heat or UV sunlight to destroy bad bacteria that didn’t come out in the wash.

Lastly, make sure your chamois is 100 percent dry before wearing again. If not, you’re creating the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

What Are Bib Shorts?

Photo gearjunkie
Photo gearjunkie

Once you’ve accepted bike shorts into your life, consider upgrading to bib shorts – they’re a game-changer. Rather than relying on a waistband to keep your shorts firmly in place, bib shorts use a suspender/strap system to keep them hoisted where they belong. They’re more comfortable, less prone to slippage, and less likely to impede breathing or digestion.

How Do You Pee in Bib Shorts?

Ah, the eternal question. For men, it’s an easy answer: Most bibs have enough stretch to be pulled down just enough in the front. (Aim carefully!)

Unfortunately for women, most bib shorts require you to pause and remove your jersey first. But many companies, like Giro and Velocio, have developed zipper- and halter-style systems that make it easier to drop trou without ditching the jersey.

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