Basketball Shorts Aren't Just For Athleisure - Here's How To Style Them

Oh, the age-old question: Can athleisure be stylish, or should it be banned from acceptable streetwear status altogether? We're not kidding. Ask this question at any friends' get-together, and you'll incite a debate to remember. Plus, worst case scenario: You'll lose respect for some of your closest friends. Because opinions on this topic can be intense and in direct contradiction to your own, don't say we didn't warn you.


According to many, athleisure and style are exact opposites. You cannot possibly leave the house in sportswear and consider that your street style. Casually wearing sportswear is reserved for frumpy, lazy, errand-specific days. It's certainly not meant to be worn on those days you make a deliberate effort to look your best — or so they say. But the resurgence of balletcore and basketball shorts begs to differ, and we're listening with open-minded eagerness.

If you think you can make certain sportswear pieces (basketball shorts in particular) look stylish and streetwear worthy, we're on the same page. Here are some of our best tips on how to style your basketball shorts the right way.

Casually coquette

If you're on the girlier side of the style spectrum, we promise you can still jump on the basketball shorts bandwagon. While it's true that athleisure for men can easily look shapeless and unflattering, styling baggy clothes for a flattering fit is possible — throw on your girliest, most ruffly and dainty pieces and accessories over the boyish shorts and own the discrepancy.


Juxtaposing masculine and feminine touches when styling basketball shorts makes it appear you did this purposely. Coquette frilly socks and Mary Janes, for example, will take this look from amateur to pro player.

Put a bow on it

Speaking of coquette style, here's a tip — adding ribbons to any outfit will save you from looking disheveled or like you're literally about to play basketball. Bows are an easy way to add femininity to baggy, boyish outfits. 


DIY this look by getting some ribbon (in any color) and tying these anywhere you'd like. To wear them on the shorts themselves, we suggest looping them from hem to waistband and tying them into neat bows. This way, you have a functional accessory to shorten the length of the pant and give you that feminine touch.

All black

How many of us like to wear all-black outfits when we're too overwhelmed by our closets to wear more than one color? We know we're not alone in this. And we have good news for lazy all-black people like you: This technique works perfectly with basketball shorts.


Since most basketball shorts come in black, take advantage of this by dressing in black from head to toe to look classy and put-together. Pull out your favorite black boots, black tank top, and black sunglasses, and accessorize accordingly. Plus, slicking your hair back will keep you looking sleek.

Beach day

An easy way to style your basketball shorts is to wear them as your bikini coverup. Instead of your usual sarong or flowy dress, basketball shorts are the perfect alternative. Not only are they loose and comfy, but the breathable material is ideal for hot beach days. After all, they're made for active, sweaty professionals and dry quickly, the same way that bathing suits do.


The best way to wear basketball shorts to the beach is to match them to your bikini. An all-black beach outfit is as chic as it gets, but that's just our opinion.

Boots and basketball

Mixing athleisure with more luxurious streetwear items, such as leather boots (real or faux) and a good quality purse has always been an it-girl move. It's truly the best way to spot the trendsetters of cool-girl status. They'll be wearing the most unlikely combinations before anyone else does, and you'll start seeing them everywhere in just a few weeks.


So, don't be scared to try something new. If you think your trendy basketball shorts must be paired with only the most popular sneaker on the market, you're mistaken. Pair them, instead, with your favorite tall boots.

Balletcore but tomboy

Balletcore and pilates-inspired streetwear has been everywhere this year, and we're rooting for it to stick around. Its take on athleisure heavily leans on downtime ballerina styles, '80s workout attire, and dainty barre and pilates womenswear — all in all, an unapologetically feminine look, and we're here for it. But we also love the opposite, more boyish side of athleisure. So, why not combine these two sporty trends? 


Combining them to make them streetworthy is as easy as pairing your basketball shorts with your pilates wrap top along with your comfiest ballet flat, for good measure.