The Fascinating History of Leggings

Woman wearing grey legging and a black top. She is holding a red jacket over her shoulder.

April 28, 2020

For a lot of people, leggings are the bottom clothing of choice. They’re comfortable, they move with you rather than restrict you, and they often provide that burst of confidence you need to get through the day. What you may not know, however, is that leggings have been around for a long time—and they weren’t always the skin-tight comfort they are today. Learn more about the fascinating history of leggings below—let’s go back in time!

The 14th Century

If we go way back to the 14th century, we’ll find that the earliest known pair of leggings were actually worn by men in Scotland. At first, leggings were two separate entities: one for each leg and going all the way up to the hip. Often made out of leather or chainmail, these leggings were used for casual and military needs. They soon shifted into thick, tight-like garments that men would wear under their day-to-day clothing. Up until the mid-20th century, leggings were worn predominantly by males.

The 1950s

In the 1950s, people began wearing leggings closer to how we wear them now. Women wore leggings before this time, but they were more tight-like and worn underneath their clothing. The modern-day evolution began when original fashion girl Audrey Hepburn wore slim, waist-defining, cropped pants in the film Sabrina. After that, many women followed suit with these tight pants—they weren’t not exactly leggings, but they were quite different than the wide-legged pants of the previous decade.

The 1970s

The 60s brought the invention of Lycra, and the 70s brought the full-blown legging trend. Again, celebrities started the legging love, with big names such as Jane Fonda; Debbie Harry; Olivia Newton-John and her iconic look in Grease; and the stars of Charlie’s Angels leading the way. The 80s brought even more of these nylon-blend leggings as they hit the concert stages.

The Late 2000s

In the 90s and early 2000s, leggings disappeared for a while—baggy pants were more the style. But in the late 2000s, “It” celebrities—think Nicole Richie, the Olsen twins, and Lindsay Lohan—started wearing capri versions of the trend under dresses and skirts. The legging trend continued to change as the millennium went on, from cotton styles to full liquid leggings.

Present Day

Present-day legging trends pull from the top styles from all these different decades. Popular celebrities once again show that leggings can be worn just as often outside the gym as inside. Currently, some of the most popular leggings styles include high-waisted, bootyscrunch, patterned, and leather. What’s wonderful about this transformation is that there are so many different styles of leggings to fit everyone’s needs and preferences.

At Celestial Bodiez Collective, we’ve taken legging trends and made them into something of our own. We offer a variety of leggings with scrunch backs to accentuate that glorious body of yours; we have different styles and colors; we have tops and bras—we’re you’re go-to for athleisurewear that will build your confidence and boost your power. Shop with us now!