I've always been partial to putting together outfits that combine style and comfort. However, my skills are put to the ultimate test now that I'm getting dressed to stay at home. I was privy to cycling pants long before quarantine, but with warmer weather on the horizon, I decided it was time to make them my cozy summer staple. And so, I went on a hunt for the best non-see-through biker shorts.
In the early weeks of quarantine, my leggings and sweats were an easy go-to — frankly, it was nice to be more comfortable than usual during the work week. Getting dressed in the morning is more than a necessity for me; it's a creative outlet that requires mixing up the ways I style my activewear and embracing my mood each day. As summer is slowly (but surely) approaching, I've found myself wanting to re-wear my favorite biker shorts in fun new ways. But, I've also decided that it's time to invest in a few new styles.
Kanye West's Yeezy collections are what first inspired my excitement around the trend. But it was Karl Lagerfeld who first introduced a more polished take on black cycling shorts during Chanel's Spring/Summer 1991 runway show — and it's that runway that's serving as my source of dressed up inspiration. But finding a pair of bike shorts that isn't see-through and can be styled in both sporty and polished ways can be a tricky exercise. I'd like the option of wearing my biker shorts with blazers, oversized tees, and cropped tops alike, so finding pairs that aren't sheer (especially under spotlights) was top of mind.
In examining the pliability and sheerness of various biker shorts, I decided to test out a range of styles over a single day. This included lounging on the couch, a midday strength workout with Peleton, and playful walks with my 80-pound pup, Maximus. The goal was to be able to move around freely and stay active, while feeling completely covered.
I soon discovered that the way the shorts were made and the amount of elasticity (or the ratio of elastane and spandex) was directly impacting just how much coverage they would offer. Pairs that appeared matte online might have a high stretch factor with little to no construction, which resulted in a semi-sheer look once you actually put them on. Others would have be too thick, making them less comfortable.
Styles like Uniqlo's AIRISM shorts, $20, and Lululemon's cult Align shorts, $58, find the sweet spot, both having a pliable, tech fabric and lightweight design that will keep you moving freely. And if you're looking for something a little less sporty to wear with your oversized blazers, opt for this pair of Tour de France shorts from Gil Rodriguez for less than $100.
There are styles that fit everyone's wants and needs, and the best part is no matter what pair you go with, they can be dressed up and down accordingly. Whether I'm wearing my go-to biker shorts with polished outerwear or a crewneck and sneakers, they give my new at-home wardrobe a level of practicality that makes investing in quality pairs worth the high price tag. Plus, depending the on the style, I can squeeze in an afternoon workout without having to change, completely, and still be ready for any impromptu business calls.
So, if you're ready to give your quarantine closet a little lift, I'm sharing a few ways to style my favorite biker shorts, just ahead.
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The Best Biker Shorts Looks: With An Oversized Blazer
One way to instantly elevate a pair of cycling shorts is to pair it with an oversized blazer with a fitted top. Brought to you by the brand known for its butter-soft sweatpants, Tribe Kelley's biker shorts are equally coveted and can be dressed up and down as you please.
The Best Biker Shorts Looks: A Men's Shirt
As TZR's site director Lauren Caruso demonstrated above, wearing a pair of biker shorts with an oversized men's shirt is great for Zoom calls that call for a professional appearance. Plus, with Uniqlo's AIRISM version, you're guaranteed comfort and style.
The Best Biker Shorts Looks: Cozy On Top
An easy choice for days that don't require getting out of bed, biker shorts are comparable to your favorite pairs of sweats as far as comfort is concerned. Just throw on your favorite crewneck and retro-style sneakers to get your day started.
The Best Biker Shorts Looks: With A Fitted Tank
Accentuate your biker shorts' second-skin look with a fitted tank top to match. Lululemon's Align leggings are a staple in many of your favorite celebrities wardrobes. (They're Meghan Markle's go-to pair for errands.) So it makes sense that the high-rise shorts would be designed with the same level of quality. The super-long length is especially great for taller women.
The Best Biker Shorts Looks: With Heeled Sandals
Whether it's a backless pump or tiny wedge mule, heeled sandals are the perfect pairing for just about any pair of biker short. Available in an array of colors, this V-cut pair from Year of Ours is designed with workouts in mind but can be dressed up with any one of the spring 2020 sandal trends.
The Best Biker Shorts Looks: With A Band Tee
Carbon 38's cult pieces are highly coveted by the style set and with good reason. Featuring sculpting details, this high-rise pair in a soft shade of blue dubbed Cloud Compression is sure to stand out in your wardrobe — especially when paired with a fun graphic tee.