Beyond the Trend: Bike Shorts

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Cycling shorts, once reserved for the Tour de France and bike rides around town, have made a large comeback in recent years. The ’80s fashion and exercise staple originated in the late 19th century, as the bicycle presented a new form of transportation that virtually anyone could access and cyclists required more comfortable bottoms. Originally, riders would wear their everyday clothes, but considering the formality of Victorian-era dress, a style that allowed greater mobility was necessary. The first cycling shorts were made of durable wool, a far cry from the spandex and cotton garments available today. Throughout the 20th century, new fabrics and technology were applied to performance wear, from silk to lycra. In the ’80s and ’90s, cycling shorts became a fashion statement, worn by everyone from Madonna and Sarah Jessica Parker to Princess Diana. While they fell out of favor by the 2000s, they have recently resurfaced. Bike shorts have hit the runways and the streets, appearing in luxury collections and on the racks of high street brands alike. From Chanel to Cher Horowitz, here are some of the best bike short looks throughout time, serving up both comfort and inspiration.

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