National Legwear Day, which falls on September 22 each year, is a celebration of everything worn on our legs, including leggings, socks, tights, anklets, sheers, and more. In an age when people are looking for different ways to show off their personalities, legwear in all its different forms, shapes, and colors, has become a unique form of self-expression. Legwear is now a trending topic on the pop culture side too, and cool new bottom wear has regularly been featured across some top fashion magazines worldwide. These pieces of clothing are so popular that there’s even another international holiday for one of them — International Legging Day on October 18. This year, be sure to put on your best looks and strut your legwear in honor of this day.
History of National Legwear Day
We suppose clothes worn on the legs evolved alongside people’s need to cover themselves with more than leaves. There are certainly enough signs to indicate ancient civilizations — and maybe even people living before them — have worn some kind of cloth to protect their legs. 1700-year-old socks were found among the remains at an excavated Egyptian site. Leggings were men’s armor accessories in the 14th century.
At times, legwear was a status symbol. Around 1000 B.C., nobles and kings proudly sported knee-high stockings as a way to show off their wealth and social standing. Of course, most of these were made of the best, silkiest material there was. Giving people socks (or a legwear variation thereof) was a very welcome — and generous — gift in those times. Until the 19th century, wearing legwear — at least the publicly visible variations like the leggings — was limited to the male population of the world. Soldiers would wear leggings as a form of protection, using them to prevent dirt, sand, mud, and insects from getting to their lower legs.
Women’s lib and the silver screen idols rocking legwear really set the fashion world on fire. Suddenly, wearing pants, tights, leggings, and other legwear was the coolest trend of all. This popularity hit the stratosphere when the original fashion icon, Audrey Hepburn, wore Capri pants for her 1954 feature film “Sabrina.” By the 1960s, legwear, and especially leggings, were considered a female accessory. Lycra (or spandex, if you will), was a brand-new invention, Olivia Newton-John famously wore leggings in “Grease” (1978), and the 1980s brought crazy inventions to legwear that we still can’t forget.
As with most fashion trends, the old craze with legwear came back with a vengeance, especially because of 21st-century fashion icons and models, who made wearing non-traditional legwear a style statement. Today, seeing eye-catching colors, patterns, and shapes on legwear is nothing new, and most people wholeheartedly embrace this style. Among working men, it has become fashionable to wear funny, funky socks with their suits. To encourage more people to take up wearing fun legwear their way, American legwear manufacturer HanesBrands founded National Legwear Day in 2017.
National Legwear Day timeline
The Queen of England gets her first pair of stockings as a Christmas gift from her silk woman; she becomes well-known for her eventual fondness for this type of undergarment.
U.S. soldiers have Army leggings as a part of their uniform, which are called 'legs' by other army men not required to wear this garment, like the Air Force guys, etc.
Demand for nylon stocking is so high — and the post-war supplies so limited — that crowds of women battle to get their hands on just one pair.
Jane Fonda's workout videos introduce everyone to a sporty version of leggings and leg warmers.
K-pop idols wear leggings under shorts, popularizing this trend.
National Legwear Day FAQs
What hosiery means?
Hosiery, sometimes called legwear, is any garment directly worn on the legs and feet, like socks, hose, leggings, tights, etc.
Where does the word hosiery come from?
The word ‘hosiery’ comes from ‘hosen,’ which means ‘covering.’ This is because these types of garments were initially used to cover (aka protect) the legs.
Are stockings socks?
Stockings are not socks, given that they are usually thinner and stretchier than the socks. Stockings typically come in nylon, rayon, or silk material.
National Legwear Day Activities
Let your legs shine
Strut your stuff in the best, coolest, and jazziest pair of legwear you own. Wear quirky socks, a statement anklet, or even your coolest leggings to add some pop to any outfit.
Get everyone involved
Be sure to share your look with the world, and encourage others to celebrate their legwear too. You can ask coworkers and friends to coordinate their wardrobe with you, especially for this day. Make it a competition with legwear as a prize.
Explore the world of legwear
Always wanted to wear those printed leggings but didn't have the courage? This day is your day — go ahead and try out the legwear you'd always wanted to wear but didn't.
5 Fun Facts About Legwear
The oldest socks had split toes
Evidence at the site of ancient Greek colonies shows socks worn in that period were likely paired with sandals — the common footwear favored in that time.
Pantyhose were first called 'Panti-Legs'
In 1959, Allen Gant Sr. developed his wife's prototype into the world's first commercial pantyhose, then called 'Panti-Legs,' which became immensely popular in the 60s'.
Foot cloths are better than stockings
Russian military personnel preferred a foot cloth called 'portyanki' — which they wore until 2013.
China's sock production
Datang in Zhuji, in the Zhejiang Province of China, is a famous global sock producer, with nearly one-third of the world's socks coming from this district.
One for each leg
Way back when leggings were almost exclusively associated with the male population, this legwear was actually two separate garments — one for each leg.
Why We Love National Legwear Day
Leg-wear in style
It's comfortable, stylish, and can be paired with pretty much anything. Everyone from models to influencers endorses this garment, and we think this old style is here to stay. Socks, tights, leggings, and other garments can be bright and colorful or sedate and subtle, depending on the occasion and our mood.
Legwear is for everyone
Who says color and style have to be limited to only one gender? Men, children, and others can easily slip into legwear for an explosion and expression of style.
It completes our appearance
A pair of leggings under short skirts. Tights under a dress or trousers. Socks for every occasion. Legwear is not only stylish, but highly functional too, and gives a modern, polished appearance.
National Legwear Day dates