Bike Shorts Are the Next Big Thing in Athleisure (At Least According to Karl Lagerfeld and Kim Kardashian)

Bike shorts walk the improvised runway at Chanel's Resort 2017 showing.

Bike shorts walk the improvised runway at Chanel’s Cruise 2017 showing; Image: Imaxtree

A wise creative director by the name of Karl Lagerfeld once said, “Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life so you bought some sweatpants.” Of course, this was before the athleisure trend rocked even the haute fashion world. We assume Lagerfeld, being the sartorially steadfast man that he is, was on the “leggings are not real pants” side of the whole “is Lycra gym wear and gym wear alone or are these casual, figure-hugging styles viable in the streets?” debate. Turns out, we were wrong to assume. At Chanel’s recent Havana-based catwalk, the designer showed possibly the most elevated take on bicycle shorts we’ve ever seen. A month later, Kim Kardashian paraded around Venice Beach in her own performance-minded knee-length workout gear and a trend was born.

Kim Kardashian wears her bike shorts with a DIY studded leather jacket and a lacy white V-neck.

Kim Kardashian wears her bike shorts with a DIY studded leather jacket, strappy red stilettos and a white V-neck; Image: Light Brigade/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

While some of us have been using bicycle shorts as armor against errant gusts of wind and as makeshift Spanx for quite some time, we’re more than ready to cast aside our frocks and skirts and embrace the next step in our relationship with sportswear. After all, these bodycon bottoms are designed to lift and hold you firmly in all the right places and with summer’s heat waves in full swing, the less layering we’re obliged to do, the better. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let us lay down a few styling rules.

First, when it comes to bike shorts, the longer (and higher) the better, unless you’re channeling your inner Rihanna with an ultra oversized vintage tee, barely-there bottom and tennis sneaker look. Second, heels are bike shorts’ best friends. Accentuate your calves, thighs and behind all at once by pairing your erstwhile workout gear with a towering mule or strappy sandal. Third, play with color and accents up top — a simple, clinging silhouette begs for added interest in other departments.

While Lagerfeld’s ultra chic shorts are still in production, we’ve rounded up many a strong substitute to tide you over in the meantime (or forever because we can only imagine what price Chanel workout shorts will demand). Get your gear below.

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