The History of Leggings: See the Style Through the Decades

The History of Leggings: See the Style Through the Decades
Photo: Getty Images
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Audrey Hepburn, 1957

Photo of Audrey Hepburn
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Leggings or super skinny pants? Either way, the style icon made fashion (and film) history when she was cast as Jo Stockton in the musical film Funny Face with her all-black second-skin uniform.

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Ann-Margret, 1960s

Ann-Margret Dances
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The Swedish-born actress and dancer got her groove on in a violet blouse and playful printed stirrup leggings during a studio portrait.

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Jackie Collins, 1971

Jackie Collins, 1971
Terry Disney/Express/Getty Images

The English novelist and actress smoldered for the camera in her mixed prints, expertly pairing her tie-dyed tee with patterned skin-tight bottoms, which effectively achieved that carefree free-spirited look of the '70s.

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Olivia Newton-John, 1978

GREASE, Jeff Conaway, Olivia Newton-John, John Travolta, Stockard Channing, 1978. © Paramount Pictur
©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

Sandy Olsen (played by Newton-John) was a true Pink Lady with her trademark ringlets, off-the-shoulder black top, and shiny leggings in the 1978 hit musical film Grease.

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Rod Stewart, 1979

Rod's Leggings
Gary Merrin/Getty Images

The pop legend made a wild statement on stage during the British leg of his world tour with his leopard-print top, bejeweled sash, and shiny Lycras.

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Debbie Harry, 1980

Bad Blondie
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The Queen of Punk Rock, who rode the New Wave of the '70s and '80s as the lead singer of Blondie, was also the first to rock leggings on stage. She went for a clashing red-and-yellow striped pair that she coupled with a graphic "Andy Warhol's Bad" tee.

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Cher, 1982

"Night of 100 Stars" Galal to Celebrate 100 Years of Actors' Fund of America - After Party
Ron Galella/WireImage

The legendary singer partied it up at the "Night of 100 Stars" Gala in her rocker ensemble, which consisted of embellished burgundy leggings, a black top, and a tough moto jacket.

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Twiggy, 1983

Twiggy at the Ed Sullivan Theatre - April 15th 1983
Tom Wargacki/WireImage

The English model, actress, singer dialed up the drama in New York City when she paired her shiny black Lycra leggings with a glamorous one-shoulder top and a black lace headpiece.

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Jane Fonda, 1983

Jane Fonda Portrait Session
Harry Langdon/Getty Images

By the '80s, leggings quickly turned into an aerobics piece. Who helped to lead this movement? Jane Fonda—she released her first workout video Jane Fonda's Workout in 1982.

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Farrah Fawcett, 1985

Farah Fawcett
The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

The Charlie's Angels star opted for high-shine leggings for a night out on the town, styling the sparkle with a belted tunic and a satin oversize blazer.

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Madonna, 1985

Photo of 126 Madonna
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The Queen of Pop made leggings a part of her on-stage uniform, layering them under minis, dresses, and even faux wedding dresses. In this case, she wore a lace pair under a black micro skirt with a graphic top.

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Cindy Crawford, 1990

Cindy Crawford
Time Life Pictures/DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

The supermodel posed at a studio photo shoot and worked her curves in a black tank, black leggings and strappy pumps.

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Tiffani Thiessen, 1991

Saved by the Bell
Joseph Del Valle/NBCU Photo Bank

Tiffani Thiessen starred as Kelly Kapowski in the '90s sitcom Saved by the Bell that went on to define a generation. In the 11th episode "Pipe Dreams," she was outfitted in layered tees (knotted with a scrunchie, no less) with heather gray leggings.

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Diahann Carroll, 1992

Diahann Carroll Portrait Session
Harry Langdon/Getty Images

Caroll continued the leggings workout movement and brought it into the '90s when she posed for a portrait in a chartreuse pair, complete with a cut-out one-piece and a jump rope draped around her neck.

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Sienna Miller, 2005

Matthew Williamson Fragrance Launch Party
Niki Nikolova/FilmMagic

After the '90s, the next wave of leggings hit in the mid-naughts. They were cropped to the knee and worn under tunics and minis. Miller epitomized the look with her below-the-knee leggings that she wore under a girly top and a denim vest.

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Lindsay Lohan, 2008

Celebrity Sightings In Los Angeles - June 24, 2008
Chris Wolf/FilmMagic

LiLo became something of a poster child for wearing leggings as pants. The year 2008 marked her neverending streak of leggings, which eventually led to a business venture—6126, a clothing line that specialized in novelty leggings (cut-outs, embellishments, the works).

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Beyonce, 2009

Beyonce KicksOff National "Show Your Helping Hand" Hunger Relief Initiative
Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

With the popularity of leggings worn as pants, jean leggings, or "jeggings," were born. Made to look like denim without sacrificing elasticized stretch, jeggings quickly found a home in closets across the nation, including Beyonce's.

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Nicki Minaj, 2011

Casio Teams Up With Nicki Minaj And The Roots To Launch The New TRYX Digital Camera
Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Not one to dial down on the theatrics, Minaj made a loud statement on stage in crazy-cool neon geo-graphic leggings that she continued to amp up with a button-adorned jacket and her blonde tower of a 'do.

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Russell Brand, 2013

Celebrity Sightings - Bauer-Griffin - 2013
Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Brand, for one, has never been shy about his penchant for extra-tight skinnies and leggings, or "meggings."

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Kim Kardashian, 2013

Topshop Topman LA Opening Party - Red Carpet
Lester Cohen/Getty Images

The more recent crop of leggings, as seen on Kardashian, are ankle-length and coated to look like leather pants. The reality star perfected her maternity style (when she was first pregnant with North West) when she wore hers with a feathery embroidered top.

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Gwyneth Paltrow, 2013

GWYNETH PALTROW APPEARED AT HUGO BOSS
Xposure Photos

The blonde beauty demonstrated another way to wear her leather-look leggings, styling them with a black sleeveless blouse and platform booties.

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Miley Cyrus, 2013

2013 MTV Video Music Awards - Arrivals
Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage

Considering that the looks following the 2013 MTV VMAs red carpet included a fuzzy bear bodysuit and a nude latex bikini, Cyrus's embellished crop top-and-leggings combo, both by vintage Dolce & Gabbana, was by far the tamest of the three.

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Kendall Jenner, 2015

Kendall Jenner looking stunning leaving the salon **USA ONLY**
AKM GSI

The model-of-the-moment broke all the fashion rules and wore her leggings in lieu of pants, styling them with a black crop top, a neutral jacket, and pumps.

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