Leggings are a popular type of leg wear that are today worn by women for casual every day outfits as well as on many other occasions; this wasn”t always the case ,they have been worn for centuries and this style was firstly only for men. The popularity and styling of them has changed massively over time and despite coming in and out of fashion several times, they still remain a popular piece of leg wear and are considered a fashionable item for many.
Leggings were first introduced in Scotland in the 14th Century and at this point came in two pieces with each leg put on separately. During this time they were even worn as armour made from chain mail by knights and others wore them made of leather. They were then worn by men in Europe during the 15th and 16th Century during the Renaissance period and their popularity continued into the 17th Century during Shakespeare”s time however it was still only men who wore the leg wear. In the 19th Century, leggings became more widespread globally and also started being worn by women and girls; however they were still leg wear that came in two separate pieces.
In the 1960s, leggings first hit retail stores and became a part of fashion. They were manufactured as one piece and were made to be tighter than before, more like the ones we know today. This development made them more of a feminine garment and became less unisex, eventually being worn just by women; they were worn like Capri trousers and mainly just for fitness purposes.
In the 1980s, the fitness and aerobics craze turned gym clothes into fashion items and this was the first time leggings were seen as fashionable. They were a major craze in the 80s and are one of those fashion pieces that epitomise the decade. At this time leggings were worn as trousers with loose t-shirts or cropped tops as this was the trend with them being made of Lycra and Spandex. After this, they were seen as everyday casual wear and women wore them for comfort. Their popularity continued into the 1990s and at this point they started being worn with skirts, dresses and baggy t-shirts and became part of a day-to-day wardrobe. In the mid 1990s, leggings were outselling jeans in the USA which shows the extent of their popularity at their peak.
After this, the craze of leggings dyed down for a while. However, they did see a fashion revival from 2005 and were the height of fashion for a number of consecutive seasons, despite many not viewing them as a fashion piece anymore, this type of leg wear still remains popular even if they are just worn as comfortable leisurewear. Differently to how they were worn in the 1980s, leggings are now worn under another garment and it has become somewhat socially unacceptable to wear them just as trousers. The leg wear has evolved so much through several centuries to eventually become the garment they are today; and trying to stay at the forefront of fashion has meant that there are now so many styles available, from all sorts of materials, colours and patterns; they are now part of the everyday wardrobe of millions across the world, with leggings being an inexpensive garment with so much versatility.