Princess Diana's Iconic Bike Shorts & Crew Neck Combo Is The Perfect Spring Look

Spring has fully sprung in all its glory across the northern hemisphere. For those who wish to enter their Princess Diana era — and who wouldn't want to after seeing the worst looks from King Charles' coronation? — it's officially biker shorts with crewneck sweatshirts season. The reluctant fashion icon became well known throughout the '90s for her bright, bold, and boundary-pushing looks that are still influencing women's fashion today. In fact, those who oppose the British monarchy might want to sport her attire a little extra following coronation day. Not only is Diana's classic look cozy but she also wore her spandex shorts and sweatshirts with the same level of pride and sophistication that graced her designer gowns and rebellious pantsuits.


There is only one brief season each year when the weather allows such an opposites-attract pairing, and that time is now, so don't delay. If you were born after Diana's life came to its tragic and premature end in 1997 or simply didn't grow up privy to royal happenings, you might be wondering why a look as simple and casual as this would be considered iconic. Follow us on a deep dive into Diana's influence on both royal fashion and looks at large. 

The significance of Princess Diana's public athleisure

From a 2023 standpoint, a woman walking around in public wearing a cute, gym-ready combination like biker shorts and a crewneck sweatshirt isn't particularly noteworthy, even if she's a celebrity. In fact, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok have conditioned us all to see famous people as being just like the rest of us — only with tons of money and hordes of adoring fans. Back in the '90s, however, the internet barely existed, and people still got their celebrity sighting news from the printed tabloids they bought at the grocery store checkout.


Princess Diana wasn't just another celebrity inadvertently influencing fashion trends. She was a member of the British royal family — the wife of Prince Charles of Wales and daughter-in-law to the late Queen Elizabeth II — who was expected to closely follow royal etiquette and dress code exactly as all the women before her had done. When she deliberately defied these rules by being seen out in public in her biker shorts and baggy unisex sweatshirts, she chose to set a new precedent for those who followed her. That is the spirit of this iconic spring outfit. 

Princess Diana's rebellion through fashion

Princess Diana didn't stop at creating and flaunting the perfect casual spring look with her collection of spandex shorts and crewneck sweatshirts. She famously used fashion to rebel against the oppressive nature of the monarchy. She completely dropped the protocol of wearing gloves and hats at public events, for instance, because she felt that they created distance between her and the everyday people she was meeting. This made major waves when she made a point to publicly shake hands with an AIDS patient sans gloves in 1987 (via People).


Before Princess Diana, the women in the royal family were restricted from wearing black outside of grieving periods. She rocked the color often, from her iconic little black dresses to her black biker shorts. She was also the first to favor pantsuits over traditional dresses and was frequently photographed wearing jeans in public, which was unheard of within the royal family. When you choose to recreate a Princess Diana look, you're paying homage to more than a cozy, charming seasonal outfit; you're embracing her rebellion against the oppression of women and the stark separation of social classes. 

How to get the look

The key to recreating Princess Diana's iconic spring look — aside from a rebellious and uniquely free spirit — is contrast. You want to combine a pair of ultra-form-fitting shorts with a noticeably oversized sweatshirt. To achieve this silhouette, purchase your biker shorts in the size you normally wear and then go up a size or two when choosing your crewneck sweatshirt. Once you've nailed the foundation of the look with these two pieces, don't forget the supporting cast of accessories.


Princess Diana typically finished her perfect spring athleisure look with chunky white sneakers, white crew socks, sunglasses, and a chic tote bag. If you have a limited budget this spring, look no further than the QGGQDD 3-Pack High Waisted Biker Shorts for Women, which costs just $20.99 on Amazon, and the Gildan Men's Heavy Blend Crewneck Sweatshirt, which lands on Amazon at $31.69. Add a pair of white high-tops, some '90s-inspired sunnies, white crew socks, and a sleek faux leather tote, and you've got basically a Diana-inspired spring wardrobe that won't cost you an arm and a leg — and which brings your look up to present athleisure standards.