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I stalked Instagram to analyze the obsession over bike shorts

Jul. 21, 2018
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photo via Instagram ( @champagnemani )

I want to start off by saying that I have not tried this trend out for myself. I know, I feel like such an imposter, but the sole purpose of me stalking other people’s Instagrams was to figure out why people are wearing bike shorts and why it’s such a popular trend now. I should be able to add scrolling through my Instagram feed as a skill on my resume, because quite frankly I’ve reached expert level and would like to get paid for the amount of time I spend on there, but I digress. I have to admit that trends don’t always speak to me or spark my curiosity, and I think it’s because they’re typically so overdone that I feel nauseated by them. But I have to admit that the bike shorts trend has caught my attention. Its bizarre nature made me stop and take a closer look. After all, bike shorts are supposed to be worn by bikers, right? Or for a workout routine? 

My favorite thing about style is that you can defy and break all the rules if you want to. Nothing is really set in stone, and what I find so fascinating about this new bike shorts trend is that they’re not the most distinctly fashionable piece out there. Bike shorts aren’t a piece you see on a rack and immediately run to. They’re not a piece you add to your wishlist or ask for as a birthday present. They’re quite mundane and boring, actually. But as I stalked Instagram’s bike shorts hashtag, I slowly started to recognize its appeal: there’s an alluring challenge in making a boring piece fashionable. It’s about the transformation and its evolution. It’s about creatively challenging yourself to style a piece in a way that’s unexpected, fun, and almost unfinished; that is my favorite part of it all, the unfinished look. We all strive to create an effortless look, but a lot of thought goes into creating a final ensemble. 

Bike shorts welcome the notion of not trying too hard while reaching a level of comfort and cool. I do have to mention, though, that as I studied these looks, I noticed a common thread. Each individual always styled their bike shorts around a statement piece to distract the fact that bike shorts, when worn alone, don’t call much attention at all. If you look closely at the looks below, you can see that they all either wear sunglasses, a fanny pack, or a bold shoe. These small statements take bike shorts to a whole new level, forcing onlookers to appreciate them from a different angle. It makes you stop and think: “Wait, I know bike shorts seem weird to wear out and about, but I have to admit that they look so cool styled like this. I think I want to try?” 

For me it created a “challenge accepted” mentality. It made me feel pumped and excited to find a pair and create my own transformative version. And that’s what makes a trend so popular—when it challenges you to think outside the box. I think the most important thing I learned from my stalking is that you can make any look work if you do it with confidence and you truly love what you’re wearing. And in the end, shouldn’t that be all that matters?