Another dance crossover, leggings evolved from the shiny spandex style to the matte cotton. These full-length stretch pants hugged the body for the ultimate in comfort, but left little for modesty.
The fiber responsible for this miracle was elastin, the technical name for popular brands like DuPont’s Lycra. Leggings maintained their super-stretchiness by way of this material, which had the ability to stretch up to six times its original length and still snap back to its original shape.
Leggings have maintained a steady place in the casual wardrobe next to jeans and t-shirts. Essentially thick cotton tights with the feet cut off, lengths vary from ankle to thigh-high and everything in between. As the popularity for casual comfort increased, leggings were produced in every color and in the most outrageous prints.
The early 80’s ankle-length stirrup leggings looked best paired with an oversized t-shirt, slouch socks and neon hi-tops. As the decade wore on, Madonna popularized high-calf black leggings worn under micro-mini mesh skirts, as seen in her “Lucky Star” phase. Leggings mutated into the ultra-short bike style, offering freedom when worn underneath short baby doll dresses.
Whether long or short, the legging remains a favorite of the comfort obsessed.