Leggings – we love them for their comfortable versatility and comfort but a little fact that most of us don’t know is that they have been around for more then fifty years. (Yikes, they are older than your mom!)
Everything started when the chemist Joseph Shivers invented Lycra in a small science lab. Within a few years, the first tight fitting stretchy pants that we dare call “women’s leggings” were released in a department store in 1959.
By the early ’60’s, all of the top designers had embraced this new clothing item that gave users a stretchy silhouette. But having little resemblance to our beloved stretchy pants today. Keep reading to discover the history of the world’s most popular pants
Brief History of the Evolution of Leggings
The Swedish actress and dancer showed the world her groves with bright violet stir-up ladies leggings that cause quite the stir worldwide. We certainty couldn’t call them skinny pants as the fit was more relaxed than anything.
During the 60’s this new style didn’t take off immediately because this was the era of the Dolly Birds and their mini skirts. But towards the end of the 60’s, young women wanted to rebel and stop dressing like their parents and that’s when leggings started to gain popularity.
Generally, during this time period with women any age who was caught wearing tight fitting pants in public, she could be expelled from school or turned away from dining establishments.
The signature look of Sandy Olsen (played by Olivia Newton-John) was nothing less than black leggings that hugged her every curve in the hit musical Grease in 1978.
The 70’s transformed this pant into a massive obsession and were mostly worn out at nights to disco clubs. The ladies preferred metallic shiny tones that would glimmer with the strobe lights over-top of the dance floor.
Even men were embracing this popular style, (but trust us it didn’t look good) such as on Rod Stewart while touring Britain.
The Queen of Punk Rock, Debbie Harry brought us the first pair of printed leggings for women and the world fell in love. You might not have heard of Debbie Harry but we are positive you know her popular singing group “Blondie”.
Thankfully, our beloved pants stepped away from the nighttime disco scene and into daily wardrobes. Such as under tulle dresses and mini skirts. Madonna rocked this style with her hit single “Like a virgin”.
Jane Fonda transformed this dance ensemble into the world’s best pants for exercising, when she released her first workout video in 1982. Thanks, Fonda we love you!
- 90’s and early 2000’s
Diahann Carroll helped to create more stigmatism surrounding these stretchy pants by modeling high waisted leggings as the ideal aerobic pant. Quickly everyone stopped wearing them in public out of embarrassment.
The 90’s were often called the nougthies because everyone decided that they were suddenly too good for leggings. Such snobs.
Sadly, they were wiped off the map for almost two full decades from 1990 to 2010.
Since the dark ages (1990-2010) leggings have made a huge comeback by becoming a staple item in every girl’s wardrobe. It is considered to be one of the most versatile items as it can be worn anywhere and anyway.