Fashion Link: How to Style Biker Shorts

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. You’ll now find bike shorts all over store shelves and social media, as well as on stylish women in cities across the globe. 


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. With so many styling possibilities, where do you start? We’re here to answer this question as we go over 10 different ways you can style biker shorts. 


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. With that said, let’s get into our biker short outfit inspiration. 


Princess Diana Inspired Casual 

Hailey Bieber, red sweatshirt, biker shorts
Image Courtesy @haileybieber on Instagram

Princess Diana was a big fan of bike shorts when they first trended in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Many of her most iconic street style looks featured bike shorts paired with oversized graphic sweatshirts. And if you look at the bike short outfits being worn today, you can see that Princess Diana is still having a big influence on modern fashion. 


One of the most popular ways of styling bike shorts in 2021 is by wearing them with an oversized pullover sweatshirt a la Princess Diana. If you want to go full retro with this styling option, choose a graphic sweatshirt and don’t forget your white socks. If you want to keep things a bit more modern, choose a sweatshirt with another on-trend element, like a cropped hem or a solid neon hue. 


Blazer and Bike Shorts Combo

leather blazer, leather bike shorts, animal print boots
Image Courtesy @makeupshayla on Instagram

For a more tailored take on the bike shorts trend, try pairing your bike shorts with a structured blazer. A blazer and bike shorts outfit always looks put-together and chic, then can be either casual or upscale depending on your other styling choices. You can keep things more low-key by wearing your blazer and bike shorts with a simple t-shirt and sneakers. Or, you can quickly create a going-out look by pairing a blazer and bike shorts with a bralette, heels, and some bold accessories. Some accessory options we love for an upscale blazer and bike short outfit include long layered necklaces, chain belts, and oversized hoops. 


Matching Set 

green bike shorts, green cropped tee shirt
Image Courtesy CottonOn

Matching sets were a huge trend in 2020, when matching crop top and high rise leggings ensembles were all the rage. And luckily for those who enjoy being stylish and comfortable at the same time, matching loungewear sets show no signs of going out of fashion any time soon. 


For an updated look on the matching set trend, try donning a pair of high waist biker shorts with a matching top. You can match your bike shorts with a crop top in a coordinating color or take a cue from celebs like Hailey Beiber and go for a matching sweatshirt instead. 


All-Black Athleisure

black sports bra, black bike shorts
Image Courtesy SET Active

The all-black biker short look is an easy-to-wear take on the trend that’s been very popular among celebs. This minimalist approach to biker shorts is basically impossible to mess up, so it’s a fantastic option for people who are styling biker shorts for the first time. You can throw on a black sweatshirt, a loose black tee, or a black hoodie for a casual, yet put together look. You can also choose to go full athleisure by wearing a matching black sports top or a flattering, fitted black zip up. 

 

Button-Down and Biker Shorts

white button down, white biker shorts, white crop top, sneakers
Image Courtesy @katy on Instagram

One of our favorite ways to dress up a pair of biker shorts is by wearing them with a crisp button-down shirt. There are so many ways a button-down can transform a biker short outfit. One option is to wear a loose, oversized button-up with biker shorts and a pair of chunky boots. Another is to tie your button-up at the waist and finish your outfit with heels. A third is to wear an oversized button-down open over a crop top and biker shorts. Thanks to the transformative nature of a good button-down, your styling options are virtually endless. 


Oversized Graphic T-Shirt 

oversized graphic tee shirt, grey bike shorts
Image Courtesy Forever 21

Looking for a super simple, yet still on-trend way to sport biker shorts? Just throw on your favorite oversized graphic t-shirt with a pair of bike shorts and head out the door. An oversized graphic tee is stylish, cool, and comfortable, and also looks fantastically ‘90s when paired with cycling shorts. 


To keep an oversized tee and biker shorts outfit perfectly informal, pair your t-shirt with sneakers. To add more edge to your style, try rounding out your outfit with a pair of chunky boots and a bold accessory or two. 


Denim Jacket 

denim jacket, white crop top, biker shorts
Image Courtesy Nasty Gal

An oversized denim jacket has been a layering essential for several years now. Fortunately for everyone who already has this fashion staple in their wardrobe, oversized denim jackets look amazing with cycling shorts. A denim jacket will instantly add a casual-cool look to any biker shorts look. It’s the perfect complement to a chill daytime look, like biker shorts and a loose t-shirt, or a more sexy going out look, like biker shorts with a bralette and stilettos. 


Cute Cardigan 

green sweater, black biker shorts
Image Courtesy Nasty Gal

Cropped, button-up cardigans have been very popular over the last year or so. Often worn as tops, cropped cardigans look fantastic with all high waisted bottoms— including biker shorts. By pairing your biker shorts with a button up cardigan, you can create a cute and feminine take on the bike short trend. Keep things casual by pairing your cardigan and bike shorts with slide sandals or make your look a bit dressier with a pair of block heels. 


Casual Top and Slide Sandals 

casual tee, visor, bike shorts, slide sandals
Image Courtesy H&M

If you’re putting together an outfit for a casual daytime excursion, try reaching for bike shorts instead of denim shorts or leggings. One trendy daytime bike shorts outfit option we love is pairing bike shorts with a loose crop top, bike shorts, slide sandals, and sunglasses. 


Neons and Brights 

neon orange biker short and sweatshirt set
Image Courtesy Good American

While black bike shorts are a summer fashion essential, they’re far from your only option. Bright colors are trending in a big way right now and bike shorts currently available in every color of the rainbow. So, if you love playing with color in your outfits, experiment with styling some of the season’s many vibrant biker shorts. 


There’s more than one way to wear brightly-colored biker shorts. An easy option is to wear neutrals, then add a pop of color to your outfit via your bike shorts. You can also lean into the matching set trend and sport an eye-catching outfit in one bright color. Another way to embrace brights is to try color blocking. By choosing different hues for your biker shorts, top, and shoes, you can easily create a bold, bright, and fun outfit.

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