80s Leg Warmers

When people think of 80s fashion leg warmers almost always come to mind. After all, who didn’t wear leg warmers during the decade of decadence? Anyone with even the least bit of fashion interest had at least a half a dozen pairs of leg warmers in their drawers.

Leg Warmers - 1980sWhat are leg warmers?

Take a pair of thick and comfy socks and make them “footless” and you have a pair of leg warmers. Leg warmers were originally made only from wool, but once the 80s fashion fad began, leg warmers started becoming available in cotton and synthetic fiber blends. Contrary to what some people believe, the 80s is not responsible for the leg warmers concept. Leg warmers were around well before the 80s came to be, but they had traditionally been used for function, not fashion. Professional dancers wore leg warmers to keep their lower extremities warm. Then when Fame and Flashdance hit the silver screen in the early 80s, teenage girls everywhere thought it would be a great idea to play everyday “dress up” and they began adding leg warmers to their wardrobes.

80s leg warmers as a part of a workout outfit

So much 80s goodness here – the high cut workout outfit, the hair, and, yes, the leg warmers.

80s leg warmers make a comeback on the 2005 runwayDresses, jeans, knit pants, parachute pants, miniskirts – fashionistas of the early 80s wore leg warmers with everything. It didn’t matter whether you knew how to dance or not – you wore leg warmers or you didn’t have any hope of being cool. Even if it was ninety degrees out and an 80s fashion fanatic was wearing jeans, they’d have a pair of leg warmers over them. Practical? No. But who cared about practicality in the 80s? Wasn’t it all about being cool and looking the part? By the mid 80s the leg warmers fad began to die down. Teenage girls started coming to their senses and realized that wearing a pair of leg warmers with a miniskirt didn’t make you a dancer anymore than wearing a stethoscope with your jeans would make you a doctor.

A leg warmer comeback?

What is truly amazing is that these seemingly crazy fashion accessories are back. All you need do is take a trip to your local Target a brand new crop of fuzzy leg warmers at your fashion disposal. Shown here is a picture from a 2005 runway show replete with leg warmers. SO, get those calves ready for a warm up – they’re baaaack.

Get your own leg warmers

You can buy leg warmers here (from Amazon), or if you prefer the more custom, home-made look, we recommend the knitters over at Etsy!

Author: Pia Sooney

Just a little obsessed with all things 80s, Pia still has her Swatch, her cassette tape collection, and her Converse Chucks. When not making friendship pins or listening to Depeche Mode, she runs a web design business.

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  1. I had the same outfit that Heather Locklear is wearing. And of course I wore them (leggings) in bare feet during aerobics, doing crunches to the tune of Don Henley’s “Dirty Laundry”. So COOL!

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