How To Wear Biker Shorts

Fashion history is headed by hundreds of style icons. There’s Audrey Hepburn’s Givenchy dress in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Billy Porter’s tuxedo gown at the Academy Awards, and David Bowie’s progressive clothing sense.

If we were to specify the timeline to the 1990s, we’d say that Princess Diana takes the cake when it comes to classic, early MTV fashion. 

Otherwise known for her black break-up dress, Princess Diana knew how to rock classic casualwear. Arguably, her most famous ensemble is the Harvard sweater and biker shorts combo.

Accentuated with sneakers, white socks, and a stylish carry-on, it set a precedent for thousands of trendsetters to cop her exact look. 

If you’ve done this outfit to death, you’re probably wondering how to wear biker shorts differently. Well, you’ve clicked on the right article—as we’ll show you 10 OOTD ideas to consider. Hopefully, by the end of this guide, you’ll understand:

  • Classic biker shorts outfits 
  • What are biker shorts 
  • How to style biker shorts 
  • Outfits with biker shorts that are worth avoiding 

What Are Biker Shorts?

Before they became a Kardashian staple, biker shorts were worn for practical purposes only. They were fashioned by cyclists who wanted to prevent skin marks when riding on a bicycle.

 Its relation to sports started to slowly diminish during the peak of the 1980s when it became synonymous with casualwear, thanks to numerous high-profile celebrities.

Starlets such as Alicia Silverstone, Madonna, and Princess Diana were considered the first pioneers of athleisure. 

Form-fitting in silhouette, you can say that biker shorts are the sexified equivalent of distressed denim and bermudas.

They’re typically made out of stretchy materials such as lycra, elastane, and spandex. Some athletes prefer souped-up versions, including those that offer moisture-wicking properties and enhanced compression. 

Regardless of its construction, bikers shorts remain one of the most versatile wardrobe basics in fashion history. 

When To Wear Biker Shorts

Biker shorts are the go-to option for many athletes. With that being said, that shouldn’t discourage any home-bodies or casual dressers from wearing a pair.

Practical for exercise and lounging, there’s a reason why workout geeks and couch potatoes prefer them instead of jeans or cargo pants. If anything, they’re considered the sexier version of sweats

With that in mind, it’s considered poor taste to wear biker shorts to formal events. Weddings, funerals, and black-tie occasions will usually frown at the idea of wearing loungewear. 

Season-wise, these bottoms are commonly worn during summer and spring due to their cropped length. Winter and fall call for additional layering if you’re the type of person to wear biker shorts under pants. 

How To Wear Biker Shorts

Biker shorts are on the ‘ugh, I can’t be bothered’ side of fashion. Styling them requires no effort, as you can simply adopt the Princess Diana look and call it a day.

With that being said, it takes a visionary to reinvent these slim-fit bottoms into an Instagrammable moment. Hoodies and tees? Please, we’re in the mood for a real challenge. 

For those unsure how to wear biker shorts, we’ll offer up some outfit ideas to consider. From collegiate sweaters to classy blazers, there’s no shortage of stylish looks in our top 10 list. 

10 Outfit Ideas With Biker Shorts

It’s only fitting that we ‘dance with the one that brought us here.’ First up on our ‘how to wear biker shorts’ guide is this legendary Princess Diana outfit.

Simple, understated, and oh-so-casual, this ensemble was the first to break the internet before Miss Kim Kardashian. 

It features a pair of neon orange bottoms with a graphic print sweatshirt. The sneakers, white socks, and black carry-on help compliment the entire fit.

I mean, could you imagine Princess D wearing a pair of Oxford heels in this look? Talk about a royal scandal. 

It’s a no for the workplace, but a yes in our style guide. This outfit is considered a mish-mash of office wear and casual fashion, given its combo of bikers shorts with a well-fitted blazer. 

Accentuated with a high-neck crop top, Doc Marten platforms, and a Louis Vuitton bag, it’s an elegant take on classic athleisure.

Honestly, this look is somewhat reminiscent of the iconic Matrix getup due to the sunglasses, but we recommend leaving the leather jacket at home for a more breathable alternative. 

The ‘I have nothing to wear’ fiasco is a common conundrum that most trendsetters face. If you’re stuck in a styling slump, we suggest turning to your partner’s wardrobe.

This biker shorts outfit features an oversized hoodie, which may be stolen from your boyfriend’s or brother’s closet. 

The slim-fit nature of the bottoms pairs well with the exaggerated silhouette of the top. The crossbody bag helps to accentuate that laidback, lax vibe. Of course, this outfit wouldn’t be complete without white socks and trainers. 

Monochrome outfits are fine, but in some cases, those solid hues provide a ‘body-suit illusion’ due to their plain color palette. For some added juxtaposition, we recommend pairing your black biker shorts and spaghetti strap top with an oversized white button-up. 

The messy self-tie on the front adds an interesting draping effect, which helps in accentuating your bust.

You don’t have to go ham in terms of accessories, as a simple gold necklace and a pair of hoops will do just as nicely. 

I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s something romantic about this simplistic ensemble.

Outfitted with a pair of black biker shorts, a white crop top, and a denim jacket, it’s a super casual look for city-bound adventures. 

If anything, this OOTD is slightly touristy in aesthetic, one that would be worn in art museums, public gardens, and outdoor brunch spots.

For those looking for a break in floral dresses and midi skirts, we suggest giving this ‘how to wear biker shorts’ contender out for a spin. 

Knee-high boots with bikers shorts is definitely a controversial combo, but Kim K manages to pull the look off.

These slim-fit bottoms feature intricate line art, which does wonders in accentuating your natural curves. 

It’s paired with a matching turtleneck and a half-zip in a muted hue. The crocodile heels provide a sultry kick, but we totally understand if it’s too bold for your liking. We recommend swapping them for a regular pair of chunky white shoes for a more casual alternative. 

Considered the boldest look in our ‘how to wear biker shorts’ guide, this ensemble is exclusively catered for the ‘bad and boujee.’

This outfit is fresh off the Fendi runway, as it features a pair of black bottoms, an oversized yellow button-down, and a black utility belt to help accentuate the waist. 

The OOTD is further accessorized with stilettos, a beige carry-on, and a funky set of sunglasses. It’s definitely something to consider if you’re tired of the ol’ t-shirt and biker shorts combo, as this look is all about drama and over-exaggeration. 

Fashion traditionalists believe in no intermixing. I know, it’s a boring way to style clothing—but it mitigates the risk of clashing.

In this outfit, biker shorts aren’t the star of the show. Instead, it’s used as a layering piece to ensure modesty. 

Paired with a double-breasted blazer, tights, and a set of black boots, it’s lightyears away from classic athleisure.

The belt helps to define the waistline, while the beret brings that element of ‘je ne sais quoi’ to the entire look. Don’t forget to finish the OOTD off with an expensive venti latte. 

Bomber jackets and biker shorts are the pb & j of athleisure. The boxy silhouette of the coat marries well with the form-fitting nature of the bottoms. If you prefer black sweats, we suggest opting for a colorful zip-up. 

For instance, this bold orange number helps in providing some sort of dimension to the ensemble. Without it, the OOTD is a flat palette of dark hues. The white kicks help to brighten up the entire look—with the help of the chunky gold hoops, of course. 

Still can’t decide how to wear biker shorts? If so, there’s nothing wrong with the classic button-up.

Given we’ve featured the collared shirt in a past outfit, we thought to mix things up a little by introducing a faux leather alternative. 

Daring, bold, and oh-so mysterious, this fashion editor look strikes the perfect balance of sultry secretary and athleisure. It’s further outfitted with a pair of pointed-toe flats and a white handbag.

Of course, the black shades imbue the right amount of sassy sophistication

What Type Of Biker Shorts Can You Get?

To some, fashion offers a limitless inventory full of outfit potential.

To others, it’s a hundred-some list that’s indisputably overwhelming. Biker shorts come in various cuts, colors, and patterns, so it’s important to settle on a design before creating a cohesive fit.

To keep things easy to read, we’ll highlight some popular styles for trendsetters to consider. 

  • The classic black set: there’s a reason why we gravitate to black in terms of clothing. It’s considered the safest shade. Plus, it goes with everything. 
  • Bright colors and vibrant patterns: black will always be on-trend, but I’m sure that some of you prefer a pop in color. In that case, some popular shades and prints include orange, pink, geometric lines, and classic floral.
  • The simple lounging set: biker shorts vary in terms of fabric construction. If you intend on wearing your pair out casually, we suggest a simple jersey knit as a more affordable alternative. 
  • The exercise set: some biker shorts are designed with special technology. This includes moisture-wicking properties, integrated compression, and mesh paneling. If you consider yourself a workout geek, we suggest investing in a quality pair to ensure peak performance. 

How To Choose The Best Biker Shorts

If jeans score a measly 7/10 in terms of versatility, then biker shorts get a complete 10/10. Flexible, practical, and comfortable, there’s a reason why we reach for a super-stretchy pair instead of a set of Levis. 

Due to its growth in popularity, hundreds of brands are marketing their own designs. It’s easy to cop a $10 pair of biker shorts, but can you really trust its construction with a garment that cheap? To ensure no rips and dips, it’s time to become a responsible shopper. 

Biker shorts are made out of a blend of stretchy materials. This includes elastane, lycra, and spandex. They should feel thick in construction, as thin textiles will usually lead to a saggier fit. 

Those designed for high-performance activities are usually sewn with integrated features, such as mesh paneling, moisture-wicking materials, and integrated compression.

This may not apply to casual dressers, but it’s definitely something worth considering if you wear biker shorts often. 

Like leggings, biker shorts are designed to be form-fitting. With that in mind, you should pay attention to how it flatters your body.  A good pair should hug your waist and hips while accentuating your butt. 

Design is another point to consider, as it’s preferable to opt for a style that’s practical and versatile. Black is usually the safest option, but don’t take it as a sign to wear dark shades exclusively. 

In terms of price, a pair of well-made biker shorts can retail anywhere from $20 to $70. We recommend that you shop in reputable stores such as Everlane and Lululemon. This helps to ensure quality and zero rippage. 

How To Style Biker Shorts

For those who’ve figured out how to wear biker shorts, it’s time to do some last-minute styling.

I know, we previously stated that these bottoms don’t require any excessive accessorizing, but we’re just looking out for our fellow trendsetters. Below, you’ll find some helpful tips on how to finesse your final fit. 

  • The vintage graphic tee: for those plugging ‘how to wear biker shorts’ in the Pinterest search bar, there’s a 90% chance that most of the results show graphic, oversized tees. It’s an easy way to turn a simple athleisure set into a city-chic moment 
  • Oversized hoodies and sweaters: The slim-fit silhouette of biker shorts paired with exaggerated tops is a match made in heaven 
  • Blazers and belts: office wear gets a bad rep for being strict and conservative in silhouette. For a more laxer alternative, we recommend pairing your Balenciaga blazer with a simple pair of biker shorts. Just make sure to define your waist by wearing an accentuated belt 
  • White socks and shoes: Princess Diana started it first, and it soon became a fashion staple. With that in mind, take this as a sign to pull your Air Force Ones out of hibernation 
  • Chunky platform boots: If you prefer an edgier look, we suggest swapping your white kicks with Doc Martens instead 

Fashion Tips To Avoid With Biker Shorts

Despite their versatility, biker shorts can be the antithesis of fashion if styled incorrectly. By no means are we referring to the camp aesthetic. We’re talking about borderline ugly.

For those who figured out how to wear biker shorts, we’ll share some intel in terms of outfit no-nos. 

  • Thigh-high boots: Unless you wear a mini dress overtop or an oversized blazer with a belt, thigh-high boots have no business being paired with biker shorts 
  • Frilly blouses: the laid-back attitude of biker shorts clashes the romantic, feminine nature of blouses. Honestly, you’re better off wearing an oversized tee instead. 
  • Knee socks: like thigh-high boots, knee socks with biker shorts result in a bizarre-looking outfit. This also applies to brightly colored knits as well 
  • Winter jackets: midi cut puffers are designed to look warm and insulating. With that in mind, it seems poor-taste to follow up with a pair of summer-ready biker shorts 
  • Boxer briefs: to ensure zero bulk, we recommend wearing hem-less underneath. Panties that are thick in construction will usually lead to unflattering lines and excess bunching 

How To Take Care Of Biker Shorts

As a general rule of thumb, you should treat your biker shorts like a pair of Lululemon leggings. Fortunately, you don’t have to send your set off to the cleaners to ensure a thorough clean. We’ll show you how to take care of your biker shorts at home using 3 easy steps. 

  • Turn your biker shorts inside out. Then, set your laundry machine on its gentlest cycle and use a mild detergent. Harsh solutions will usually lead to color bleeding
  • Some high-performance biker shorts require specific cleaners in order to wash 
  • Toss them into the dryer on its lowest setting. You can also opt to line dry them instead 

Best Places To Buy Biker Shorts

Hurray! You finally know how to wear biker shorts. Now it’s time to spotlight a few recommendations. We’ll feature some reputable stores to consider the next time you shop til’ you drop. 

  • Everlane 
  • Lululemon
  • Adidas
  • Girlfriend Collective
  • Aritzia
  • Aerie

Final Thoughts

Compared to dresses and jeans, biker shorts shouldn’t result in a nightmarish clothing pile. Styling is relatively simple, as there’s nothing wrong with wearing an oversized hoodie or graphic tee. 

But, if you’re looking to imbue that main character energy, we’ve provided a nifty top 10 list of cute outfit ideas to consider. Trust me, they’re notable contenders for your next Instagram photo op. 

Consider yourself briefed on the ‘how to wear biker shorts’ query. By now, we’re confident that you know the ins and outs of basic styling. 

Got any other fashion questions on your mind? We’ve got you covered:

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