The History of Leggings That Blows Your Mind

History of Leggings

Leggings have become more popular throughout the passing decades, and it’s easy to understand why. They’re not just easy to wear, but they’re also snug and eye-catching. That’s why this skin-tight clothing staple is rising all over the world. 

But did you know that leggings had a long and extensive history? Despite its simple look, it has an intriguing past that can be traced to the 1400s, an era of swords and shields. Interesting, isn’t it? And that’s just the start. 

Leggings have a lot more history behind them that many hardly know about. So let’s walk you through each era and take an in-depth look at the history of leggings.

Historical Facts

History of Leggings

14th Century

The leggings’ first appearance was in Scotland during the 14th century, and surprisingly, they were mainly worn by men. Initially intended as military garb, leggings were primarily made with leather or chainmail. That is also why leggings had two widely separate, hip-high, and boot-like apparatuses. 

In addition, cowboys wore buckskin leggings to protect their pants from tearing during horse rides. Native Americans and Long Hunters also wore leggings for similar purposes. This is why Leggings were a predominantly male fashion, and their primary use was for protection and warmth.

The 1950s

The modern evolution of leggings started in the 1950s when the famed Audrey Hepburn kickstarted the rise of capri pants and her iconic cat-eye sunglasses. Hepburn donned the slim and waist-defining black pants for her 1954 Sabrina, which incited a hot trend among women throughout the decade. Although its stretchy flexibility wasn’t as convenient as today’s leggings, it was a notable improvement from the popular wide-leg styles in the 1940s.

The 1960s

In 1958, Joseph Shivers invented Lycra (aka spandex), followed by the first Lycra leggings in 1959, which the fashion industry embraced because of its slim and stretchy qualities. These leggings were then paired with the decade’s mod shift dresses by designers including Mary Quant and Emilio Pucci working behind the scenes.

The 1970s

Leggings became a full-blown trend in this decade when big celebrities like Olivia Newton-John (with her iconic final costume in Grease), Debbie Harry, and the popular Charlie’s Angels TV series stars took the leggings onto the television. They exhibited a Studio 54 aesthetic that was quite distinct from the styles of the past two decades. This iteration closely resembled shiny and colorful high-waisted disco pants.

The 1980s

The uncontainable uprising of the legging craze in the 1970s was carried over into the 1980s when Madonna wore them as one of her concert’s wardrobe staples. She would frequently wear them on stage and perform her iconic songs with them. She also featured the leggings in her “Like a Virgin” music video. 

The 1800s aerobics craze also fueled the fire when Jane Fonda wore a leotard over leggings, soon becoming her signature look. Apart from that, this decade also popularized the bold and colorful capri-length leggings trend and has become one of the defining looks of the 80s.

The 1990s

However, the trend began to cool down in the ’90s. Leggings were out of scene despite the iconic Cindy Crawford Life magazine and jersey-knit versions from Saved by the Bell. That’s because baggier pants were the trend for the decade. The biggest takeaway from the decade was probably the now-polarizing stirrup leggings (which returned in 2016).

The 2000s

After silently fading from relevance for a few years, leggings returned with style as the decade’s hottest hit. Girls started donning Capri versions of the trend again. With Nicole Richie, the Olsen twins, Paris Hilton, and Lindsay Lohan on board came the revival of leggings. At the end of the decade, full-length liquid leggings mostly replaced pants at this point.


Around 2015, social media stars like Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Hailey Baldwin, and Gigi Hadid reintroduced leggings into women’s closets. Whether you like it or not, these athleisure-loving celebrities normalized wearing leggings as pants. 

The most popular iterations of the trend this year were high-waisted and streetwear-inspired looks along with leather leggings. Styles that made the fashion wear become a casual get-up. As long as the fashion world keeps embracing comfort with a minimalistic aesthetic, we are not likely to see the centuries-old trend fading.


History of Leggings

Now leggings have over 70 different brands, producing a total of 8,574 styles, such as stirrup leggings, footed leggings, and ankle-length or mid-calf length leggings. 

Moreover, there are leggings for every scenario now. Do you want to exercise? You have the workout leggings for you. It’s made from synthetic performance fabrics like polyester and nylon. Do you want to wear them as pants? There are leggings made from Ponte or faux leather, perfect for the workplace or a casual hangout. 

Leggings have become a versatile outfit that everyone can wear now. That’s how far it has progressed throughout history, and we’re not getting any clues of its stopping anytime soon. 

As the influencers who started legging trends continue to further dominate social media platforms, we can even see this clothing line in movies and TV series. It generally appears more in pop culture, and we love it.

The key trend leggings can offer this year is the black leggings. The level of versatility that it provides is on a whole new level. It suits any color of tops and any type of footwear. Furthermore, you can wear it on almost any occasion. It has unmatched versatility in comparison to other leggings right now.


That’s all for the history of your favorite leggings. Interesting, isn’t it? It is for sure you’re pumped up to wear one right now. The good news for you is that FASHIONLINE is emerging as the best leggings distributor in the industry. With more than 15 years of experience, it makes sure to offer the best quality of bulk leggings you can have in the market.

FASHIONLINE has been a solid distributor for various brands now, and it’s not stopping anytime soon. Be the trendsetter of the fashion scene with the help of FASHIONLINE. Contact today for the best leggings experience.

Read Also: M3 Girl Designs

The History of Leggings That Blows Your Mind

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