cycling shorts

It’s funny, I’ve spent most of my adult life establishing this personal style which falls somewhere between ‘just-back-from-the-gym Princess Diana’ (Who doesn’t love her in those tube socks?) and ‘American dad/Little League coach’ yet neither of those really reflect my personality – or fitness levels. I’m more of a ‘goes to yoga once a month and thinks she works out’ kinda girl – at one point, my motto was actually ‘Always in gym clothes, never at the gym’ – so it’s strange that my go-to clothing is always sportswear and sneakers.  Am I compensating for my lack of exercise by dressing like an off-duty athlete? Maybe. If I wear sneakers and a tennis dress, will people think, ‘Oh she’s a sporty one, all right!’? Probably not. The most likely reason is just that sportswear, in its simplicity and flawless design, looks cool – and I like cool things.

So when cycling shorts came back on the fashion radar recently, I was of course drawn to them. Despite not learning to ride a bike until I was 10 years old (and let’s face it, I can still barely ride one at 26), I felt almost contractually obliged to give them a shot. I’ve dabbled with them in the past, though never for actual cycling – there was a brief stint in 2013 where I wore them with those platform Jeffrey Campbell boots and a tutu as a top (don’t ask) – but 2018’s offering has been my favourite so far.

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I picked up the cycling shorts in this first look from Pretty Little Thing – my first ever purchase from the Kamani Sons’ sexy cult brand – and was pleasantly surprised how a £6 piece of material could cling so favourably to my (out of shape) buttocks. To avoid going full Kardashian, however, I paired them with a tailored shirt and blazer and vintage Coccinelle heels. The result? 80s business tycoon, with the visor sunnies adding a touch of Matrix. Would I wear this day-to-day? Honestly, no – but tone it down with sneakers during the day, or lose the blazer and sunnies for an uber slinky night out get up, and voila – wearable.

This second look has been my work uniform for the last few months, due to it being so damn easy to put together. The shorts are ASOS, and much more of a ‘city short’ than a cycling short as they are a slightly looser fit, but they work for the look nonetheless. I’ve paired them with my Acne sneakers (which I currently live in) and an oversized men’s blazer, also from ASOS. With 70s-style sunnies and a turtleneck (can you think of any outfit that hasn’t benefited from the addition of those two?) the outfit is a perfect storm of casual, chic and cool.

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So there you have it – how to wear cycling shorts, without having to do any cycling whatsoever!And if my advice wasn’t technical enough, why not watch this short tutorial on how to wear them from an actual cyclist – disclaimer: involves lubricant.

Words and styling Titi Finlay

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Photography: Phoebe Jordan