I Wore Bike Shorts For 7 Days Straight

Photographed by James Jiang
Sometimes, people wear clothing for things other than what they're intended for. Example: I wear hiking socks not for hiking, pyjama pants not for sleeping, and my expensive Brooks running shoes at moments when I am fully aware I’ll be spending the day at my desk. But sometimes, items that are built for the most extreme things (ahem, peddling a few hundred miles) are also helpful for daily life (in this case, maybe not having creeps peeking up your skirt).
When I saw bike shorts make their way down the runway at Nina Ricci, Saint Laurent, Off-White, and many others during Paris Fashion Week in September, the first thing that popped into my mind was: “Are those lace cycling shorts padded for optimal booty cushioning?” Then I recalled age seven me, wearing hot pink bike shorts and feeling like a mini superhero. That sentiment fully returned when I shimmied into bike shorts last week and committed to wearing them for seven days straight.
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But first, some worries I inevitably had for the week ahead: 1) Camel toe, and what underwear I should wear to try to avoid this; 2) How exposed will I feel wearing just bike shorts with nothing covering my crotch area?; and 3) Do bike shorts automatically make it easier to bike in outfits that I previously considered unbikeable?
What I came to find: At times, the bike shorts were my best friend. At others, it felt like they were against me. Overall, the experience was a wild, spandex-clad (bike) ride. Here's how it all went down.
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Photographed by James Jiang
Monday

I pace myself going into the week, so for my first outfit I went with black shorts and a black blazer. This ended up being one of my favourite looks because of how simple and easy it was, while still being a deviation from my usual style. I have a habit of throwing my blazers in the winter pile when switching out closets for the seasons (before this, I really wasn't into the idea of wearing a blazer with shorts), but I have since been swayed.

The Frankie Shop Black Structured Blazer, £83.85, available at The Frankie Shop; H&M Compression Fit Running Tights, £9, available at H&M; Nike AF1 Sage Sneakers, £89.95, available at Nike; Stance Strawberry Socks, £11.99, available at Stance.
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Photographed by James Jiang
Tuesday

This is one of my all-time favourite slip dresses, and I've been trying to find new ways to style it for summer. I discovered that a strategic tuck into one side of the bike shorts created a cool draping effect. Sure, I'm not a professional seamstress (although I did take a draping class in college), but this required (basically) no effort and gave me yet another slip dress outfit to add to my list.

Silk Laundry slip dress; Outdoor Voices Warmup Short, £34.30, available at Outdoor Voices; Eastpak Springer Sunrise Orange Bag, £16.50, available at Shopimex.
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Photographed by James Jiang
Wednesday

The great thing about these Tracksmith shorts are that they don't ride up (I even road tested them) thanks to the sticky part at the hem, which is probably the most important factor when considering a pair of bike shorts. And despite my worries of feeling too exposed, I found this outfit to be really freeing. 10/10 would bike to work in this.

Creatures of Comfort Hazel Top Habotai, £209.61, available at Creatures of Comfort; Tracksmith Lane Five Tights, £51.83, available at Tracksmith; Darner Powder Blue Mesh Socks, £28.96, available at Darner.
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Photographed by James Jiang
Thursday

Here, I took a trick from the good ol' high school handbook and turned this tennis skirt into a skort. (When I was younger we would use spandex to hold tennis balls during matches.) Since I find short skirts limiting and live in constant fear of the weird subway air shooting them up, I chose a pair of longer shorts to balance things out (and make it clear that having little peeks of fabric was a deliberate style choice).

American Apparel Gabardine Tennis Skirt, £36.55, available at American Apparel; Girlfriend Collective High Rise Bike Short, £36.55, available at Girlfriend Collective; Otherwild Venus Tit Tee, £24.36, available at Otherwild.
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Photographed by James Jiang
Friday

The last day of the workweek is for extra-fun bike shorts — at least, that's what I was thinking when I put on these sparkly, rhinestone-covered ones. Even though I had found my cycling shorts sea legs (so I wasn't afraid to call a teensy bit more attention to myself), I still wanted to keep things casual. Treating these as I would any other pair of shorts, I gave the sweater a lil' tuck into the waistband (as I learned on Tuesday, a simple tuck can do a lot) and added sneakers.

Marc Jacobs Fanta Sweater, £419.04, available at Shopbop; I.AM.GIA Aurora Short, £79, available at I.AM.GIA; Converse Chuck Taylor All Star, £55, available at Converse.
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Photographed by James Jiang
Saturday

One of my favorite outfit formulas is pairing a fancy top with not-as-fancy bottoms, and I couldn't wait to do that with bike shorts. These Kith bottoms were light and breathable almost to a fault, where I worried they actually weren't thick enough. (That idea disappeared as soon as I stepped outside into 85 degree weather.) This outfit could easily go from spin class to nighttime fête in a matter of minutes.

Kith Biker Shorts, £53.32, available at Kith; Jacquemus top; Topshop shoes.
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Photographed by James Jiang
Sunday

This outfit is for the shorts that you love that can sometimes feel too short (applicable to dresses too). I've come to realize that one of the most redeeming qualities about bike shorts is that they can add length to any look. Here, I paired them with a mini purse belt that can hold approximately two Cheetos to give this a more pulled together look, even though it was Sunday and I was grocery shopping. When styled with running shorts and a crewneck, these bike shorts made me feel athletic while allowing me to be lazy. The ideal combination.

Marine Layer sweater; American Apparel shorts; Girlfriend Collective High Rise Bike Short, £36.57, available at Girlfriend Collective; The Frankie Shop Green Mini Purse Belt, £47.99, available at The Frankie Shop;
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