The history of leggings

The history of leggings - Relax

You wouldn't be a leggings designer if you didn't know the origins of leggings. So we went looking, and dove into the books to find out the first leggings in history. Here our story:

But that leggings have been in fashion for centuries, this was new to us. The first images of leggings date back to the 14e century. Only since the 20ste century, the leggings as we know them today become a fashion item.

The history of leggings

Interestingly, it was men who were the first to wear leggings. This happened first in Scotland, in the 14e century.

These eeste leggings then still consisted of two loose legs, a kind of hip-high boots made of leather or mallien. These were worn both privately and militarily. Leggings evolved further towards tights, which men wore under their coats during the Renaissance.

Leggings remained a predominantly masculine trend until the 19th century, when women started wearing their own edit or variation. Until that changed in the 1950s. Audrey Hepburn was the trendsetter for tight black high-waisted trousers in the 1950s. Although Audrey's trousers did not contain stretch then, in terms of fashion, they were clearly something different from the wide legged trousers that were in fashion at the time.

Introducing the leggings

In 1958, Lycra was discovered by chemist Joseph Shivers, this is the basic fabric for both fashionable leggings and sports or yoga leggings as we know them today. A year later, the first leggings were in the shops. These modern Lycra leggings were suddenly only for women and no longer for men. They were worn as a fashion item as well as sportswear. Fashion designers often combined leggings with miniskirts or shift dresses. In sports, capri leggings in particular were a hot item.

In the 1970s, leggings became a real trend thanks in part to the likes of Debbie Harry and Olivia Newton-John. The 70s leggings resembled shiny often fitted colourful high-waisted disco trousers.

Introducing leggings in the 80's

In the 1980s, leggings got another revival caused by Madonna who she wore leggings both on stage and in her video' like a virgin'. 

Jane Fonda put a new spin on sports legging fashion in her aerobics videos. She wore her gymnastics suit over her leggings. In the Netherlands, of course, we had Penny the hunter who adopted this iconic aerobics look.

After a few quieter 90s in terms of leggings in fashion, leggings were back in full force in the 2000s. You could see the housewife with the white 3 quarter capri leggings everywhere. Fortunately, this trend cooled at the end of the decade and the fashionable high rise yoga leggings replaced the 3/4e quarter capri leggings.  

Introducing yoga leggings

From the millennium onwards, we may also see the yoga leggings wear outside the yoga school. Yoga's popularity is skyrocketing and sportswear is worn as comfort wear. You may go to the coffee shop in your yoga clothes. And as long as the fashion world continues to embrace comfortable yoga leggings, we don't see the age-old trend fading anytime soon.