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There’s a new aesthetic skidding into focus for fall: Acquaint yourself with 2022’s biker fashion trend. Composed of beat-up leather goods and a dangerous, tough-girl attitude, the style merges force with femininity. It’s Rihanna in Vogue, pregnant and nude save for moto-motif gloves and a bumblebee-yellow racing jacket. It’s Rosalía naming her third studio album Motomami, a term the singer describes as the unapologetic spirit of a female biker chick. Forget the Sons of Anarchy; This year welcomes the daughters of a newfound motorcycle club — and they are revved up and ready to go.
Amberly Reese, an expert stylist at Stitch Fix, offers insight on fashion’s moto moment over email. “When most people think about [biker-inspired style,] the first things that come to mind are the essentials: Moto jackets, exposed chunky zippers, distressed graphic tees, and leather galore!” All of these signature sartorial codes, she says, will be prevalent in the coming season — look to Fall/Winter 2022 showings from Chloé, Prada, and Alexander McQueen, all of which heavily featured worn-in leather, boxy moto jackets, and lusterless hardware.
Here’s where the contemporary redux comes in: “While we’re still seeing these traditional elements, 2022’s ‘bikercore’ trend also introduces an updated feminine twist on the classic style with denim-on-denim looks, leather jackets paired with flowy skirts, and biker-approved accessories,” says Reese, echoing i-D’s reporting from this past spring. She directs you to consider the “grunge-inspired opera gloves” and hard-soft stylings of racing-striped jackets teamed with billowing gowns in Dior’s Fall/Winter 2022 show. Balmain’s collection from the same season adopted a similar dichotomous mood, introducing structured corsets akin to body armor and thigh-grazing miniskirts detailed with motocross quilting.
The nuances to this year’s take on moto style don’t stop there, though. “Today’s iteration of biker fashion also incorporates a nostalgic Y2K element,” says Reese, confirming that, yes, the Hot Aughts maintains its grip on the trend cycle. Look to Louis Vuitton’s Cruise 2023, where Nicolas Ghesquière sowed the seeds for the return of grommet belts — think more Gwen Stefani circa 2000, less a suburb-bound teen haunting Hot Topic — and early-aughts shield sunglasses. Acne Studios’ Fall Winter 2022 collection also tapped into an early 2000s feel, albeit with a slight dystopian edge; once-shiny silver jewelry, muddy leather fabrications, and distressed patchwork denim.
However, the most Y2K-y of all of Fall/Winter 2022’s moto-reminiscent showings was from Diesel. Cropped moto jackets, tattered denim, and ultra-low-slung belt skirts — you could envision Paris Hilton wearing anything from the edit while cruising down the highway on a hot pink Harley. “There is, of course, that nostalgia factor,” describes freelance fashion writer and editor, Jamila Stewart, on the bedazzled biker collection from the Glenn Martens-helmed label. “There’s so much to be referenced from the archives and through the lens of pop culture; Because of that, [Diesel’s Fall/Winter 2022] collection felt authentic, and authenticity resonates.”
“Fashion remains in a constant pendulum swing, and I see ‘bikercore’ as a kind of antithesis to the super-polished approach to dressing we’ve become familiar with in the age of Instagram,” describes Stewart. “And,” she adds, “when you think about the lifestyle of a biker, aesthetically, there’s room for fun and carelessness — it’s still cool, but effortless.” So, if you’ve always longed to join a motorcycle crew, 2022 is your year. Ahead, more insight from Reese and six wearable ways to rev up your fall wardrobe with the biker fashion trend.
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Tell Me About It, Stud
Unsurprisingly, studs are an integral aspect of this year’s moto-obsessed aesthetic. Start with a metal-adorned matching denim set or a Valentino item embellished with the brand’s signature Rockstud. And there’s also Balenciaga’s studded City Bag, a relic from Nicolas Ghesquière’s 15-year-tenure at the brand that’s become somewhat of an underdog trend, emerging from the shadows to become one of the year’s surprising must-haves. Of course, you’ll remember the handbag for being a fave amongst Indie Sleaze It girls like Nicole Richie and the Olsen twins during the mid-aughts.
Rebag, an online platform for buying and selling luxury handbags, shares with TZR that “Balenciaga City’ is one of the top 25 terms searched” on its site. Additionally, Rebag’s data shows that “Balenciaga’s Neo Classic City bag can retain up to 77% of its original value on the secondary market, while the Balenciaga City Classic Studs retains up to 68% of its primary market value at resale.”
Better In Leather
“It’s never a crime to rock leather on leather — when it comes to bikercore, more is more,” says Reese. “For those who prefer a bold approach to this trend, head-to-toe black leather ensembles will be a go-to. Others might opt for a more subtle take by incorporating edgy staple items, like chunky leather moto boots, into their wardrobe.”
The Hot Aughts, Refueled
“With the reemergence of Y2K influences, motocross pants are definitely having a moment,” says Stitch Fix’s Reese. Her advice for styling the bottoms? “Pairing moto pants with [your] favorite graphic tee and a pair of combat boots,” she says. “Then, to take the pants from day to night and to play further with the contrast of hard and soft, swap the tee for a silky blouse and finish the look with something that provides extra texture and interest — like a pair of silver booties.”
You’ll also observe a renewed interest in low-slung leather bottoms, glossy metallics, and punk-y leather grommet belts courtesy of this year’s moto madness.
“One of the things to keep in mind this season is that silver is the new gold, which lends itself nicely to [2022’s biker fashion trend,] whose core staples utilize silver closures and embellishments,” says Reese. “Not only are people wearing more silver jewelry, but we’re also seeing gas station sunglasses,” a Kim Kardashian-vetted trend that is precisely what it sounds like, and “bags with serious hardware,” too. As for the latter, look to Balenciaga’s silver-studded, buckled, and grommet-strapped Le Cagole Chain Shoulder Bag, which, according to Rebag, “can be worth up to 107% of its retail price on the secondary market.”
Off To The Races
In addition to a gritty, leather-forward look, 2022’s biker trend includes the sleeker, motocross style popularized by Spanish songstress Rosalía — who, by the way, is proving herself to be quite the trendsetter on all fronts. Think graphic stripes, leather racing jackets, and sporty, body-hugging garments that would be efficient for drag racing (no, not the RuPaul kind).
Girly Meets Grunge
“You don’t have to reinvent the wheel when pairing two different aesthetics — the trick is to find a balance that stays true to your personal style,” advises Reese. “Start with a base piece that you know works well for you; For example, if your style tends to be more feminine, go for a dainty slip dress that you can accessorize with items that typically have a more masculine edge, like a leather jacket and hardware-detailed bag. If you find yourself frequently rocking leather bottoms, balance them out with a feminine camisole to complete the look.”