Ah, warm-weather fashion. This, historically, has not been my favorite. I have a love-hate relationship with jean shorts, and as much as I adore the vibe of a summer dress, I’m just not always in the mood. Which is why when bike shorts (what the fashion world refers to spandex shorts at large) — began regularly hitting the stores again years ago, I finally felt like I had a go-to summer uniform.
11 Ways To Wear Bike Shorts (Think Leggings, But Make ‘Em Summer)
Some of my favorite summer outfit formulas include bike shorts. Whether they’re styled with an oversized blazer and boots, or simply paired with a hoodie and sandals, I’m always into it (I’m even into the bike-shorts-with-heels look — I just don’t personally own any). Bike shorts are the easiest thing to style because they perfectly balance out my fave oversized tops. These are your summertime leggings, your wardrobe’s best friend.
The preferred length is going to be different for everyone, but the most versatile pair for your closet is the one that will be long enough to peek out from underneath oversized tops. You get a more classic “I’m going to ride in the Tour De France” vibe when bike shorts go as far as touching your knees, but if they’re too short it’s hard to achieve a styled look that doesn’t scream “Here I come, NYC Marathon!” While I personally enjoy all of those looks, I suggest finding that sweet spot halfway between for maximum style options!
I tried on the most buzzed-about pairs on the interwebs, and the 7″ Flow Short from Outdoor Voices outshone them all. They were so good, I decided to style up a black pair multiple ways below. They also come in a few color options if that’s more your speed!
1. Outdoor Voices Flow Shorts + Anine Bing Crewneck Sweatshirt
Fully influenced by Princess Diana who absolutely mastered the look in the ’90s, my go-to uniform is a crewneck sweatshirt, bike shorts, comfy kicks and tall socks. I’m just over here one haircut away from trying to emulate her entire vibe. It’s super easy and super comfortable. PS: I own a lot of sweatshirts and this one from Anine Bing is one of my all-time favorites; it’s absolutely worth it (wearing a size large).
2. Outdoor Voices Flow Shorts + An Oversized Tee
Swap out that tiger crewneck sweatshirt for a tiger t-shirt, and you’re ready for a little bit hotter weather. Any graphic tee will be your bike shorts’ best friend! This tee is specifically an oversized fit (wearing my normal size medium,) and I love the way the shorts just peek out.
3. Outdoor Voices Flow Shorts + A Shacket
I’m not sure whether to blame it on the fashion world for putting tigers on everything right now, or just my own gravitating interest towards anything a tiger is printed on, but yep, that’s another one (oh, and here’s one for the bodysuit lovers). A simple tee and this FP Ruby Jacket are a few closet favs. I made an entire post about this jacket because it’s that good. Here’s another jacket made from the same material but in a different style that would be just as glorious with a pair of bike shorts.
I grabbed these oversized buckle Birkenstocks nearly two years ago now and I still love them so much; they’ve got a little extra flare while still staying true to the classic look. They come in the most gorgeous Fuchsia and Apricot shades for summertime. While we’re on the subject of Birkenstocks sandals…have you seen these colorblock versions?! I’m so tempted…
4. Outdoor Voices Flow Shorts + A Crop Top & Button Up
If you’re into the ultimate athletic look and don’t mind showing skin, this cropped tank bra I’m wearing underneath the button-up is super-cute alone. It does dip low to be a little revealing, but the comfort and support is so incredible that I’ve been wearing it under anything and everything. It’s perfect for tucking a t-shirt up into (instead of creating that fabric bulge in the band of your pants) as well as peeking out from underneath an oversized button-up like I did here! Layering is the most effective when things don’t add unnecessary extra bulk; cropped tanks are so good as opposed to a full t-shirt underneath.
5. Outdoor Voices Flow Shorts + A Mini Dress
For a slightly different approach, a pair of bike shorts is perfect underneath those summer mini dresses or any shirt dress that is either a little short for your liking, or simply because you live an extra active lifestyle. Maybe it’s windy outside or you like having extra coverage underneath without having to wear full-blown shapewear or you’re just planning to lounge around like I am here — bike shorts are the perfect solution!
This mini dress is really soft and stretchy, but I’m a little more comfortable with bike shorts peeking out for my long legs, plus I can party with my little boy and not worry about a thing!
6. Outdoor Voices Flow Shorts + A Cropped Hoodie
A favorite hoodie and flip flops just screams “a nice leisurely stroll on the beach in the morning.” Most bike shorts come high rise, which makes anything cropped a really great look! This Joey Hoodie is slightly cropped and a bit oversized, and I love how the hood and pocket are terrycloth material—that fabric is so good in the summertime.
7. Outdoor Voices Flow Shorts + A Hoodie & Denim Jacket
Throwing some fun skater vibes into the mix. I’m wearing a basic black hoodie (psst…it’s the perfect basic hoodie and it comes in so many colors) with this denim jacket that just came back in stock for the season! I sized up to an XL so I could have it big and oversized and have worn it relentlessly for the past few summers. I also found these classic Vans slip-ons in the same pattern but with the most beautiful blue butterfly print on top, it’s so cool!!
8. Outdoor Voices Flow Shorts + A Boyfriend Blazer
If you want a slightly classier vibe, swap the denim jacket for an oversized blazer and the sneakers for cute sandals! While this blazer has low stock at the moment, this one is similar (totally cute) top-rated, and has a few color options!
9. Outdoor Voices Flow Shorts + Blazer & Boots
I kept the blazer look and took it a step further — I was going for that combat boot vibe, but alas I just have my trusty Blunnies. It feels totally edgy and a little masculine, both of which I love. I reach for these boots quite often this time of year — read more if you wanna know why they’re the perfect spring shoe!
10. Outdoor Voices Flow Shorts + A Cropped Cardigan
This is my Gen-Z inspired outfit. I’m seeing a lot of extra tiny little cardigans worn as shirts, but this is my take. This sweater is also beyond good over slip dresses, and it’s currently more than 50% off!
11. Outdoor Voices Flow Shorts + A Plain White Tee
Oh my, friends, this plain white tee is the cream of the crop of all basic tees. I have found it can be so worth it to spend the money on good basics to get the pieces you’ll be wearing for years to come (it’s 40% off right now! RUN!). The tee is oh-so-soft, slightly sheer, and the perfect classic length (seen below).
I absolutely love this clean look of a white shirt paired with black bike shorts, but I’m also a little bit obsessed with how easy it is to style up. Add a denim jacket, your favorite gold jewelry, and a small crossbody bag…I’ll be hitting repeat all summer long!
Bike shorts have so many good things going for them: they don’t require you to stay one size, but instead, move right along with you when you’re bloated or gain a few holiday pounds, and they won’t shame you with hard-to-close buttons or rough edges digging into your sides. They can handle whatever the day might throw at you: running around with your kids, afternoon naps in the shade, heck, even a quick workout if you want to squeeze one in. There are no wardrobe malfunction worries owhen you bend over, no bottom of the bum cheeks in sight! You can even find them in varying lengths, making a solid case for wearing these no matter your height. It’s safe to say….I’m a mega FAN!
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