If working from home has made one thing very clear for me, it's that when all the rules of dress are stripped away, I just love wearing spandex. As I go from answering emails in bed, to Zoom meetings on my back porch, to an afternoon walk once I've caught up on work, my loose sweats and rough jeans don't transition as seamlessly as leggings and, now that it's summer, high-waisted bike shorts — the ideal sportswear staple for warmer temperatures.
Having played volleyball in high school, I was introduced to spandex shorts as a teenager, but I've found that over the last few years, high-waisted styles that hit a bit lower on the thigh have become my staple. The don't ride up my leg when I walk, and the higher waistband makes for more versatile styling in my experience. To test them, I set a rule: If I spend 30 seconds doing energetic dance moves, reaches, and stretches (not recommended in public spaces), do the waist and legs stay put?
My most recent go-to has been a pair from the Staud x New Balance collaboration that launched in May. The navy and white shorts can be coordinated with a matching crop top, or mixed with my usual favorite, an oversized tee or short-sleeve button down. The looks nod to '80s Jazzercise classes, '90s-era Princess Diana, or even a more modern sportswear aesthetic, all contingent on my daily mood. And being that I'm never obligated to take a meeting in person these days, I don't have to consider the whole professional wardrobe POV — comfort takes it all.
As the name might suggest, bike shorts also happen to be a plum choice for the outdoor activity du jour, cycling. But, if like me, your pace is more leisurely than it is Tour de France competitive, you can skip straight past the kind with the built in padding or ergonomic pockets and shop for a style that's more focused on the fashion aspect. Below, I'm highlighting a few key ways to wear these shorts.
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High-Waisted Bike Shorts Looks: Matching Set
A marriage of sporty and fashion-forward, Staud x New Balance's bike shorts collab can be easily mixed and matched with coordinating tops from the collection. Try finishing the look with tall socks and bright sneakers.
High-Waisted Bike Shorts Looks: Sporty Chic
For days when hiking is on the schedule, consider throwing together a bright ensemble with contrasting top and shorts (and shoes if it's an option).
High-Waisted Bike Shorts Looks: Ready For Work
For an ensemble that would work at the office IRL, try layering black bike shorts under a sleek, oversized blazer.
High-Waisted Bike Shorts Looks: Casual Coordination
For days spent enjoying your outdoor spaces, consider keeping things simple and comfy. Add a hat and Birkenstocks to feed into the relaxed aesthetic and finish with an iced coffee.
High-Waisted Bike Shorts Looks: All Dressed Up
If you miss the art of dressing up, use bike shorts as a base layer. A ladylike jacket, fun top, or even a cropped dress make for ideal layering pieces.