The origins of yoga pants, leggings, are a little older. It was invented by the Scots in the 14th century, and it’s made of leather, or chain mail, which is a type of armor from the cold war era. The main use is military and so on. The kilt and leggings may be a symbol of Scottish masculinity, but they are unwittingly leading the fashion trend.
Over the next few hundred years, leggings gradually became popular in Europe, but like high heels, they were primarily worn by men and can be seen in medieval and Renaissance paintings. High-heeled shoes, tight pants, big waves, big robes, typical European male nobles dress up. It wasn’t until the 19th century that women began to wear it, but it was still practical and focused on protection, similar to underwear.
During The Second World War, the demand for rubber increased greatly, giving a boost to the chemical industry. After the war, in 1959, DuPont chemist Joseph Shivers developed a synthetic fiber, originally called X-fiber, that Scottish soldiers wore as x-Men. Later known as Lycra or spandex, the material could stretch to six times its original size and restore its shape perfectly. Compared to natural rubber, it is lighter and breathable.
Lycra was quickly adopted by the fashion industry, giving birth to the modern leggings culture. In the 1980s, there was a fitness boom in the United States, and exercise became an important part of the daily routine. They went to fitness classes and aerobics and came home in leggings, which then spread to all sorts of places, often in bright colors, and became an iconic sight of the era.
The leap from leggings to yoga pants didn’t happen until the next 2,000 years or so. That’s when yoga took off. At the turn of the century, when the U.S. economy was booming and boutique fitness became popular, yoga moved from an exercise to a middle-class cultural phenomenon. Yoga requires observation and intense stretching that regular leggings can’t do, so a higher-end alternative is needed.
Today, workout leggings, as well as yoga leggings, have become indispensable fashion items for sports girls and boys.