Ashley Graham Just Showed Us All How To Wear This Divisive Trend

A masterclass from the model.

Ashley Graham

by Lillian Sesiguzel |

Such is the way of fashion that, every so often you stumble upon a trend that makes you think: ‘Cool - but there is not a chance in hell that would work on me in real life’. If that's your reaction to cycling shorts, then let me say: I hear you. But it seems there's no avoiding them.

In fact, they've been pedalling back into our lives for some time now. Last year in June, shopping app reported a whopping increase of 4000% in searches month on month, while grown-up versions have appeared on the catwalks at Fendi, Prada, Miu Miu and Chanel. And just yesterday, Ashley Graham styled a black pair with a lilac button-down shirt and '90s mule sandals.

Ashley Graham wearing a purple shirt and cycling shorts
Ashley Graham ©Getty

Now you're interested, but how do you actually wear cycling shorts? And what types are the most flattering?

I've thought long and hard about this, and have come up with a foolproof, straight-forward solution to our conundrum. All you need to do is answer one simple question: Who was your favourite Spice Girl?

Baby Spice – A Sweet Statement

baby spice emma bunton cycling shorts
©Getty Images / Instagram emilisindlev

If your usual style is quite cutesy - maybe you're a lover of floral prints and pastels - you're a Baby Spice. Emili Sindlev's outfit opposes any idea of sport or cycling. How, you ask? She's opted for a longer cycling short, borderline capri pant. Paired with a soft blouse and a '90s platform, this look works for anyone whose style safety blanket is a girly dress, but wants to try something new this summer.

Ginger Spice – Loud Yet Feminine

ginger spice geri halliwell cycling shorts
©Getty Images / Instagram nnennaechem

Ah Geri, where do we begin? Her Union Jack dress (originally made out of a tea-towel – yep) wasn't just a statement, but an iconic moment in fashion history. Although her style is loud, whether that's expressed through print or her use of colour, her looks have always celebrated her proud femininity. Nnenna Echem's echoes similar traits in her outfits, and especially in this one. If you opt for printed cycling shorts, pairing them with a block-colour and a flatteringly cut blouse will balance out your look.

Scary Spice – Matchy-Matchy

scary spice mel b cycling shorts
©Getty Images / Instagram fittybritttty

Mel B: mother of matching ensembles! Queen of the crop top (which was often just a bikini top, let's be honest)! Like, Britney Vest, don't be afraid to wear your cycling shorts as a part of a co-ord. Sometimes it's easier that way, and it's definitely more fun. Add a pair of trainers, chuck on an oversized denim jacket and wear with maximum confidence.

Posh Spice – Understated Chic

posh spice victoria beckham cycling shorts
©Getty Images / Instagram brittanyxavier

Before you ask: yes, cycling shorts can be chic (trust me). But how do we translate the little black dress into this trend, I hear you ask? Well, that would be via the little black cycling shorts, of course. A staple in the wardrobes of many fashion bloggers, like Brittany Xavier. Team with more black - obviously! - but spice it up by wearing with sheer tights and a statement jacket on. Nothing too flashy mind, you're still channelling your inner VB.

Sporty Spice – Athletic Cool

sporty spice mel c cycling shorts
©Getty Images / Instagram vbiancav

And finally, to the OG of cycling shorts - and I believe the only band member to actually wear them - Sporty Spice. Like Princess Diana, Mel C mastered the art of looking effortlessly-cool, comfy and practical in her cycling shorts. Bianca Valle has got it down too. Simply throw an oversized t-shirt or sweater over the top, pair with classic trainers and you're good to go.

SHOP: The Best Cycling Shorts


SHOP: The Best Cycling Shorts

MEGOSA, Noela 3D KNIT Short Lime, £65
1 of 12

Arket, Bicycle Shorts, £35
2 of 12

Leset, Ali Ribbed Stretch-Knit Shorts, £63
3 of 12

Monki, Short leggings, £8
4 of 12

Oysho, Comfortlux Cycle Shorts, £25.99
5 of 12

Zara, Printed Stretch Cycling Leggings, £17.99
6 of 12

Weekday, Stella Bike Shorts, £12
7 of 12

Hunza G, Stretch-Knit Biker Shorts, £75
8 of 12

Ninety Percent, Tencel Rib Cycling Shorts, £80
9 of 12

Live The Process, Geometric High-Rise Stretch-Jersey Cycling Shorts, £78
10 of 12

Years of Ours, Gingham Belted Biker Shorts, £105
11 of 12

Ganni x Ahluwalia, Ruched Jersey Patchwork Shorts, £145
12 of 12

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us