We might have the Kardashian-Jenners to thank for their comeback, but fashion bike shorts (the ones you wear for style rather than a workout) are now a part of mainstream consciousness. They’re comfortable, first of all, having long been worn to reduce thigh chafing in hot weather. Not to mention they’re versatile like leggings and affordable, playing well with everything from oversized T-shirts to going-out tops. Stylist Alison Deyette considers them a wardrobe basic and a way to show off some curves when strategically paired with other stylish pieces. When we asked her how to wear them she said “I particularly like bike shorts paired with a button down top and an oversized blazer.” adding that “they also make a great addition under a sheer dress when just wearing underwear seems too revealing.” We spoke to Deyette and 4 other stylish bike short-wearing women about the best pairs and how to wear them.
The most flattering bike shorts
According to the women we talked to, the most flattering bike shorts are high-waisted and mid-length. Deyette looks for pairs “that hit mid-thigh or a touch longer” and told us to watch out for “fabrics that are too thin,” which often end up “showing panty lines or lumps and bumps.” She recommended this pair from &Other Stories, calling them “a high-waisted version to smooth and flatten your tummy.”
When we asked Candace Hampton, a fashion and beauty blogger who owns several pairs of bike shorts, to recommend a flattering pair, she enthusiastically recommended this faux-leather pair from Spanx saying “SPANX are a great option for that. Faux leather is always in and these are really flattering and slimming.” Her advice in general is this: “If you want to flatter your midsection, find a pair with thicker fabric and a high-waisted style.”
Dena Silver, fashion editor at PureWow is also a fan of the shape-wear brand. Silver said she has actually worn plain black Spanx instead of actual bike shorts because they are “way more flattering than regular bike shorts.” and “They definitely hold everything in a bit tighter, which is what they were designed to do.”
When it comes to flattering women with curves, the designers behind Good American, and cofounder Kloé Kardashian, are experts. We love these high- waisted bike shorts for their superior stretch and size inclusivity — they come in sizes XS through 3XL.
The best patterned bike shorts
We’ve noticed a number of friends rocking animal-print bike shorts this spring, so we asked our set of stylish women what they thought. Writer Ella Grace Downs owns a pair but said her leopard print shorts are vintage, though she is currently eyeing a pair from Asos. And Hampton said “Leopard is my absolute favorite. It’s timeless and works like a neutral, so you can style it in any way.” Since the Asos ones are sold out, your next best bet is this cotton and spandex pair from LNA.
Deyette offered a similar yet different take on animal print, which is actually a slightly abstracted floral. She likes this pair from &Other Stories because it “can punch up a white button-down or take you into evening with a black flowy top and kitten-heeled mules.”
If you prefer a less busy but just as wearable print, you might like these polka-dot bike shorts from Urban Outfitters, which work well with sneakers and heels alike.
The best solid-color bike shorts
Stylist Kiarra Logan told us that she owns several pairs of bike shorts and that these from Urban Outfitters are her newest acquisition. “I also just picked up a pair of orange ones from Urban Outfitters.” They have a high waist, flattering seam details, and best of all are now on sale.
Deyette told us that she owns two of this Lululemon pair, one in green and one in black. She think of them as “the next wave of leggings only shorter and now they’ve become a wardrobe basic.”
The best lace-trimmed bike shorts
Two of the women we talked to recommended plain black bike shorts with subtle lace trim. “The lace adds a nice unexpected twist to traditional bike shorts,” said Hampton, and Deyette, who recommended this pair from Asos said “The extra detail of the lace gives this pair fresh appeal.”
The best logo bike shorts
When we asked Logan to name the absolute best bike shorts around she had this to say: “I don’t think anyone does it best, besides maybe Nike. Bike shorts are always part of their brand regardless of what is trending in fashion.” This pair of Nike Pro shorts with the logo waistband was also recommended by Deyette.
Another athletic pair of bike shorts with a prominent logo are these from Champion x Susan Alexandra. They hit all the marks with a high waist, bright color details, and flattering leg length.
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