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The History of Leggings

Leggings may seem like a modern trend, but they’re actually much older than you’d think! Leggings were first worn by men in 14th century Scotland. (They later evolved into the thick, tight-like garments that men wore under their cotehardies in Renaissance times.) It took a while for leggings to catch on for women, however. The groundwork was laid in the 1950s, when Audrey Hepburn appeared in Sabrina wearing slim-legged black capri pants and started a trend. Then in 1958, Lycra (spandex) was invented by chemist Joseph Shivers. The first Lycra leggings were made in 1959 and the trend grew in popularity during the 1960s, with designers like Mary Quant and Emilio Pucci often pairing them with shift dresses. Shiny, high-waisted leggings exploded in popularity in the 1970s and were seen on many celebrities, including Oliva Newton-John and Debbie Harry. The trend continued into the 1980s with Madonna and Jane Fonda fueling the craze. Leggings were less popular in the 1990s but made a massive comeback in the 2000s – in fact, by the end of the decade, they had largely replaced women’s pants. Today’s athleisure fashions continue to embrace leggings and since they are so comfortable and versatile, it’s unlikely that the pseudo-pants will be going anywhere any time soon!

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