How Women's Leggings Have Changed Over the Years

While it may seem like you've been wearing your workout leggings for everything for years, it actually hasn't been all that long since workout leggings became an everyday part of our athleisure look. In fact, women's workout leggings have changed over the years, from the materials used to the styles and even how often we wore them. However, like most fashions, they are cyclical, and while they may seem more modern, leggings have existed since the 14th century.

The 14th Century

Oddly enough, women were not the first to wear leggings. Instead, men wore leggings up until the 19th century, which is when women finally decided to make their own version and start wearing them. For men, they were worn as casual wear, and even under armor during times of war.

The 1900s

Around 1950 is when leggings as we think of them became very popular. Audrey Hepburn, fashion icon that she is, is the one that started the trend of women wearing tighter pants. She wore tight fitting capri pants, and throughout the next ten years, women followed. It was not a complete switch to leggings, but it was a more fitted look that paved the way for leggings to be worn as an everyday fashion.

Lycra, a common material used in workout leggings, was invented in 1958 and from there, leggings started to blossom, with many women pairing them with dresses and longer tunics. Even so, it took until the 70s for leggings to become a true trend, and even with that, they went through changes and were much more shiny, more glittering than the original leggings were.

Leggings took a break from the spotlight in the 90s and didn't make a reappearance until the 2000s.

The 2000s

This is when the leggings that we know of and think of started to really build up their popularity. We start to see leggings pretty much everywhere, women are wearing them for their daily outfits, as well as for workouts. We started to see more type, such as the faux leather, the bright and colorful pieces, and of course, streetwear-inspired styles. From there, workout leggings expanded, with more options featuring pockets, fun prints, and squat-proof material so you can easily go to the gym then meet up with people for happy hour.