Tights, hose, leg warmers, leggings, and even meggings (male leggings)—call them what you may—we have all seen them on male ballet dancers, cyclists, horse riders, and wrestlers.

Within the past few years, they have also been appearing on catwalks and runways in fashion weeks around the world.  But leggings for men are not new phenomenon. 

Many historians trace leggings to 14th-century European men, Native Americans, and infantrymen.

Surprisingly, men have been wearing leggings as a source of protection and warmth since the dawn of history.

The first occurrence of men wearing leggings that I have seen date back to Anatolian men between 1700-1300 BC.  These leggings were not only adherent down to the ankles but also elaborate in color and geometric patterns.

Secondly, I have found evidence of the Medes and Persians around 500 BC with similar leggings.

Interestingly, leggings that extended to the knee or halfway down the calf were worn by Roman cavalrymen, soldiers, and emperors between the 1st and 4th centuries AD.

Takeoffs of such leggings merely continued throughout history onto the Byzantium and most of Medieval Europe.

Allow me to leave you with a question:  If leggings occupy such an extensive history in menswear around the world, why do they meet with such surprise today?

Photos NoN by KIM 2010 s/s collection Copyright Peter Stigter.

 
 
 
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