The Evolution of Leggings From the '80s to Now

Is there any greater invention than leggings? We'll wait.

Leggings had their birth and renaissance in the '80s where the leggings trend was in full on high gear. Nothing was off limits in terms of color or print back then. However leggings haven't always been cool—they've taken their fair share of twists, turns and fashion hiatuses. Ahead, we're highlighting the evolution of leggings from the '80s to now.

'80s: The Birth

The '80s was such a fun time for fashion. Things were bright, bold and infused with a tinge of rock 'n' roll, which made for wild getups like neon leggings paired with leotards, tulle skirts and crimped ponytails. For those who liked to be edgy, black leather leggings were all the rage (hello, Joan Jett!), paired with biker-worthy accessories like riding gloves and a leather jacket. They were also quite popular in shorts form—biker shorts, essentially leggings cropped at the thigh, were ultra cool, too.

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'90s: The Capri

The '90s were all about grunge, and with that came a slew of oversized items like super baggy, bootleg jeans, ripped denim and trousers. Leggings took a back seat during this decade, but don't worry—trends always come back. They still had a little pulse with capri leggings, especially for younger girls with matching tees—but as a mainstream trend they definitely took a break.

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'00s: The Jeggings

One could easily say that the '00s were ruled by skinny jeans, which would be correct. But another thing that went wild? Yep, the jegging. Looking back this may have been a questionable fashion choice but it was all the rage then. They're jeans, they're leggings—they're both. They're basically leggings manufactured in a denim-looking print, with faux pockets and no zippers.


'10s: Athleisure

Leggings made a major resurgence in the '10s, by way of a little look that's still cool called Athleisure. This trend consists of athletic leisurewear in the form of matching workout looks comprised of leggings, matching tops, trendy sneakers and jackets. This outfit looks like you could be heading to or from the gym, but was also widely accepted as a new type of outfit suitable for work and play. Brands like Lululemon, Outdoor Voices, and Alo Yoga thrived. Athleisure became more than a trend, it became a lifestyle.

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Now: Biker Shorts

Athleisure is most definitely still a thing, but as is always the way with fashion, the '80s are back with biker shorts. We're seeing this trend dressed up for the office with a blazer and boots, or dressed down with a tee and a biker jacket.

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Another trend we're loving?  Knee high boots! HERE are a few of our faves.