Art and design

Books

Culture

Environment

Fashion

Film

Life and style

Money

Music

Politics

Science

Technology

Travel

Television

US news

World news

Bum steer: how cycling shorts became the height of fashion

Cycling shorts, as seen on the Dolce & Gabbana catwalk.
Cycling shorts, as seen on the Dolce & Gabbana catwalk. Photograph: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

Name: Black cycling shorts.

Appearance: Black cycling shorts.

What are they? Black cycling shorts.

Ah, yes. I think I’ve seen these. Are they the things I get stuck behind whenever I drive uphill on a sunny Saturday? That’s right. Cycling shorts are tight, stretchy leg coverings that stop above the knee and often contain the bottom, thighs and genitals of an obsessive pedaller.

Oh, believe me, I can see exactly what they contain. I have to stare at them for hours while I wait to overtake. My sympathies.

But it is practical to wear them for a long bike ride, I suppose. Absolutely. They are aerodynamic and allow your legs to move freely while you exercise. And they keep you relatively warm and dry.

I achieve the same effect by placing myself inside some kind of building, such as a house or pub. Each to their own. But, of course, cycling shorts are at the cutting edge of fashion.

No, they’re not. Oh yes they are. Black cycling shorts were part of Dior’s and Dolce & Gabbana’s latest catwalk shows. Both Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid have recently been seen wearing them.

While pedalling up Ditchling Beacon? No. While prancing about being famous.

Did they have those padded bottoms? The shorts?

Yes. I don’t believe so. These are designer shorts, remember, from labels such as Vatanika. Think of them more as cut-off leggings.

OK. And they don’t absolutely have to be black. Naomi Campbell wore white ones at Off-White’s catwalk show in Paris.

Can they have brightly coloured sponsors’ logos all over them? They cannot.

So what will become fashionable next? Metal clips on the soles of high heels? Weird, creepy goggles? A water bottle strapped to your clutch bag? Puncture repair kits? I doubt it. This trend is more about the skintight silhouette than any great devotion to cycling. It’s not as if fashion models and competitive cyclists have much in common, after all.

Apart, of course, from a reputed fondness for leg-shaving? Yes. Apart from that.

Do say: “Bringing together the luxuriant shine of kangaroo leather and the punk aesthetic of detachable metal studs, football boots are the perfect choice to finish any weekend outfit with éclat.”

Don’t say: “Accessorise with shin pads.”

  • This article was amended on 9 October 2017 to correct the spelling of “pedaller”.
This article titled "Bum steer: how cycling shorts became the height of fashion" was written by , for The Guardian on Monday 9 October 2017 04.52pm

Fashion

What I wore this week: chunky sweaters and floaty skirts | Jess Cartner-Morley

With the honourable exception of those poor souls who have to step right out of their Twixmas… Read more

It's in the jeans: US fashion goes back to denim's glory days

The jeans market is booming again as the US turns back the clock to denim’s glory days. 2017 saw… Read more

Vetements raises the heartbeat at Paris fashion week

Imagine a fashion show in Paris, and you probably wouldn’t come up with a sea of scowling models… Read more

Losing its sparkle: the dark side of glitter

Last year was the best of times and the worst of times for glitter. New York magazine’s fashion… Read more

From hair clamps to yuzu: this week’s fashion trends

Going up Hair clamps Now fashionable, according to Man Repeller. Matisse His shade of blue is a… Read more

Make-up on the move

The cheeky bliss of the sunset-hued Illamasqua Beyond Powder, in (appropriately named) Epic, gives… Read more

From beehive to mohawk: the hairdos that topped off 50 years of fashion

From backcombing and teasing to oiling and curling, the question of hair and what to do with it… Read more

'Dressing in haste': Galliano delivers his first menswear collection for Margiela

John Galliano’s first menswear collection for Maison Margiela opened with a red and black… Read more

Ralph Lauren snow gear and arty socks: what to buy this week

Cult winter fashion Want to bag yourself a piece of fashion folklore? Polo Ralph Lauren is… Read more

The best winter nail treatments | Sali Hughes

Do some of your nails get to a certain length, then peel or split? I had three that, however… Read more