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Real talk: As a medium-tall woman with extra-long legs, finding shorts that showcase my legs properly is a hard battle. Particularly in the category of bike shorts—denim or linen shorts just don’t quite emphasize the Bambi-like nature of my legs in the same way, mostly due to the fact that they’re not nearly as form-fitting. So yes, my life has been a constant Mary-Kate and Ashley mystery: The Mystery Of The Perfect Bike Short.
I thought I had cracked the case: Beyond Yoga’s Spacedye Biker Shorts are gorgeous, seamless bike shorts that are long enough for someone like me, who was born with as much leg as she has personality, to rock without feeling over-exposed or like I’m constantly adjusting them for comfort.
I’m someone who is willing to buy something I love in 100 colors, but at $68 a pop, these shorts had the potential to seriously hurt my wallet. So of course, I entered Bike Short Mystery, Part 2: Electric Boogaloo.
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The mystery came to an easy and clean conclusion with a trip to Old Navy. There, I found the High-Waisted PowerSoft Side-Pocket Biker Shorts, near-identical bike shorts for a quarter of the price. The biggest difference is that these are just an inch longer—the Beyond Yoga shorts are seven inches on the inseam, the Old Navy ones are eight. The inch difference is actually accounted for in the waistband, so they’re honestly more or less the same.
You see, I was raised by a BWWLPD: Black Woman Who Loves Princess Diana. My mother’s admiration and adoration for the late Princess of Wales was foundational for me and especially for my fashion sense, because even when she wasn’t royal, Diana was still Queen of Bike Shorts.
There’s nothing quite as comfortably-chic as an oversized sweatshirt, ideally with some sort of graphic or logo, paired with form-fitting bike shorts, and a cool pair of earrings or oversized necklace. It’s a way to show off the bawdy without… you know, showing off the bawdy.
Tucked in, untucked, French-tucked—however you choose to wear your sweatshirt, you’re definitely pulling it off. And thanks to my new faves from Old Navy, you don’t even have to break the bank to do it!
But that’s not the only way I like to style my bike shorts. When Mindy Kaling introduced herself on The Office as “Kelly Kapoor, the business bitch,” she had no idea that she had started a phenomenon—and never is “the business bitch” more personified in an outfit than with a pair of bike shorts, a crop top and a blazer.
This is an outfit for someone who is investigating racketeering before going out for margaritas with her friends. Blazers and biker shorts make me feel like I am starring in a prequel for Damages where I play a young Glenn Close, just trying to make it in the big bad legal system all on my own terms. If you showed up to a meeting wearing bike shorts and a blazer, you are daring the world to mess with you, and the world is saying “Nah, I’m good.” Try it—I dare you.
Last but not least, I’ll let you in on a secret. Have you ever seen someone wearing a cool short t-shirt dress and thought, “Wow, that person has a lot of faith in themselves not to worry a gust of wind is going to have their underwear on display”? Yeah, that person likely rocked a cute pair of bike shorts under their minidress for the security of knowing they’re protected.
Truly, this is my biggest and most impressive fashion secret. To touch back on my mile-long legs (a brag), most dresses that fit every other inch on my body can be ultra-short in the leg area, so I’m constantly looking for ways to make sure I won’t flash the entire New York Metropolitan Area if I walk over a subway grate. Having a large arsenal of bike shorts keeps me modest, prevents thigh-chafing, and allows me to do all the kicks and spins I need to.
Now that you know how to wear ’em, what are you waiting for? From fabrication to the placement of the pockets (!!!) these Old Navy biker shorts are a safe bet for summer—another crime solved before dinnertime. I may not know how to ride an actual bike, but I sure do know how to style bike shorts, which is pretty much the same exact thing.