The Crazy Evolution Of Workout Clothes, From Petticoats To Lululemon

The Crazy Evolution Of Workout Clothes, From Petticoats To Lululemon

Sometimes cute new workout gear can be the deciding factor between spending the evening on the couch and actually making it to the gym. But, just like the clothes you wouldn't dare sweat in, fitness fashion is ever-evolving.

Want proof? Check out the evolution of workout clothes as illustrated below.

An illustration of a woman demonstrating a jumping exercise in the 1861 instruction manual, The Portable Gymnasium, by Gustav Ernst, from the Wellcome Library's online archive.
jumping exercise 1jumping exercise 2

A group of women led by an instructor perform exercises in a backyard in 1905.
woman exercising 1900s

A woman "exercising" on a vibrating motor machine in 1928. Maybe footwear isn't top priority when you're not actually doing anything?
woman exercising 1920s

Women adhere to a strict dress code in a 1937 exercise class led by an Australian heiress and socialite.
woman exercising 1930s

Marilyn Monroe was no stranger to the short-sleeve sweater, but we didn't know she wore them to yoga in 1948.
marilyn monroe yoga 1940s

Socks with sandals apparently had a place in the weight room in 1956.
woman exercising 1950s

Mary Rand went on to become the first British woman to win an Olympic gold medal in track and field when she competed in the Tokyo Games in 1964. Here, earlier that year, she shows off '60s-era racing gear.
woman exercising 1960s

Participants in this 1977 "keep fit class" wouldn't look all that out of place at an aerobics class today.
exercise class 1970s

An 1980s aerobics class, on the other hand...
woman exercising 1980s

Fabric got more technical -- and tops got more cropped -- in the 1990s.
exercising 1990s

Participation in long-distance running events boomed in the 2000s -- as did the opportunities to photobomb race-day photos (and selfies).
exercising 2000s

Whether you hate it or love it, CrossFit has made its mark on fit fashion -- especially when it comes to socks.
woman crossfit

But we'll still never, ever exercise in this.

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Before You Go

Workout Clothes No One Should Wear