The Iconic LBD…For Cycling Shorts!

When I first started cycling I refused to wear any sort of cycling kit because I thought it was too “try hard.” Little did I know, I looked absolutely ridiculous going for a serious ride in my running attire. There are so many reasons cyclists wear the things they do, comfort and practicality both being high on the list. Running tights have no chamois and my life was a sorry one when I was opting to not use the technology created for the sport. It’s like playing soccer without the shin guards… Maybe your legs look better, but when you get whacked in the shin you will be wishing you had your shin guards on!

Every woman knows that the Little Black Dress (LBD for short) is an integral part of a sophisticated and versatile wardrobe. We can all thank Coco Chanel for this contribution. More importantly, she is responsible for bringing the color black out of mourning and into the light of our daily lives. Thank you, Coco. Similar to the importance of the LBD, as cycling culture explores crazy patterns and colors, it’s good to keep some basics in your closet! This brings me to the little black short. With bib shorts for women still working to gain traction (and they have with the pros), I have compiled a list of black shorts, sans the scary bib, including my thoughts on “The Little Black Short.”

What I’m Looking For:

Fit: Snug, but not too tight and definitely not loose. The fit must be right.

Waistband: I am looking for comfort and a non-muffin top effect.

Leg Band: Absolutely necessary is a leg gripper band that will expand with my thigh, not squeeze it.


#1: Pearl Izumi Women’s Symphony Cut Short

This short comes in at the top of the heap for me. The fabric was soft and moves with you throughout your range of motion. I am partial to shorter shorts so these were right up my alley. Pearl Izumi makes a longer version of this short called Pearl Izumi Women’s Symphony Short for those of you who like a longer cut.

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Pearl Izumi Symphony Cut Short

Fit: Runs slightly big. Try your true size and a size down to see which is most comfortable.

Waistband: Yoga criss-cross top makes for a flattering and comfortable fit.

Leg Band: One of the best leg bands I have encountered. It has just enough rubber grippers at the bottom to stay securely in place and manages to not squeeze your leg into sausage links.


#2: Capo Women’s SC Donna Short

I was completely surprised by this short. By far the best fitting short I tried. Top honors were a toss up between the Symphony Cut Short and this one, but as I said I am partial to a shorter short for vanity reasons, namely tan lines, and the SC Donna Short is a longer short. Best fit and very flattering to the waistline.

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Capo SC Donna Short

Fit: This brand runs true to size.

Waist Band: Capo has mastered the art of the criss-cross yoga top. It was the most flattering top of all the shorts I have tried. It was a surprise to have a short so perfectly tailored. If you can’t tell, I’m a big fan of their waistband.

Leg Band: At first glance the leg band is frightening. It looks like it is going to be mean fitting, but I was delightfully surprised. It sits comfortably in place and has a nice silhouette, meaning a seamless line from top of short to the bottom.


#3: Louis Garneau Women’s Fit Sensor 5.5 Short

These are a great choice as well. My favorite feature was the leg band, which didn’t have the silicone sticky holders. Reminds me of a simple and carefree running short, so naturally I feel happy in these.

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Louis Garneau Fit Sensor 5.5 Short

Fit: True to size.

Waistband: This short has a yoga banded top that serves its purpose of no muffin top.

Leg Band: The leg band for this short has no rubber gripper on the bottom, which makes this an easy favorite. It’s like a breath of fresh air for your legs to have nothing gripping on for dear life.


#4: Giordana Women’s Silverline Short

Giordana is a brand that prides themselves on great fabric and beautiful quality. And it is clear that their pride is not mis-placed. These shorts are one of our best sellers for women and a necessity in your riding closet.

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Giordana Silverline Short

Fit: Giordana runs slightly on the bigger side. Try a size down to see if the smaller size feels more snug.

Waistband: A comfortable criss-cross yoga band. Alleviates any fear of muffin top.

Leg Band: Has a forgiving elastic leg band that makes the short stay in place without too much disruption in the straight line of your leg.


#5: Castelli Women’s Velocissima Short

Castelli is another top-tier brand. The quality of their fabric and years of experience makes them undeniable. Their Velocissima Short is going to encourage you to be on the bike as much as possible. Super-comfortable and sure to go with any jersey in your repertoire.

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Castelli Velocissima Short

Fit: Castelli is notorious for a small fit, which definitely holds true for these shorts as well. Sizing up is wise.

Waistband: For this short, Castelli did a slightly new take on the yoga waistband. Comfortable and going to stay put.

Leg Band: A snug fit on the leg band. The rubber lining is sure to keep your hem in place.


These are my recommendations as they stand now. However, I am looking for your feedback as well. I am inspired by what inspires you and I want to hear from you. If you have your favorite black short that you cannot ride without? Be sure to tell me about it on one of these platforms…

Instagram me: @artscyclery

Email me: zoe@artscyclery