Bare legs

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Bare legs

Bare legs is the state in which a person does not cover his or her legs with any clothing in a public space.

It may be for functional reasons, for example, to keep cooler in hot weather or during physical exercise. Most modern swimwear is worn without any leg covering (exemplified by the speedo, bikini, trunks, and fundoshi).

Bare legs have gone in and out of fashion many times in different cultures around the world.[1][2] Examples of this fashion can be found as far back as 1066 with the Norman peasant class commonly baring their legs.[3]

The increased popularity of higher hemlines in women's clothing has resulted in increased and increasing exposure of legs. Initially, the shortened dresses were associated with the popularity of legwear which continued to cover the legs wholly or in part, such as socks and stockings. The introduction of the miniskirt and the microskirt were associated with the popularity of pantyhose and other leg coverings, such as tights and leggings. However, there is an increasing trend towards women not wearing legwear with short dresses and skirts, and high hemlines, except on formal occasions.

Bare legs in England were a source of contention during the 1929 Wimbledon women's tennis tournament where a ban was considered and then ultimately rejected by English authorities (bare legs in women's tennis were the norm in both France and the United States at the time.[4] Whilst western women's fashions through the first half of the 20th century and beyond gradually made the revealing of the leg acceptable or even the norm, the absence of any covering was often seen as having particular sexual connotations.[5]


  1. ^ Japanese fashion: a cultural history, Toby Slade, p.175
  2. ^ Hairstyles and fashion: a hairdresser's history of Paris 1910-1920, Steven Zdatny, p.173, [1]
  3. ^ Medieval costume and fashion, Herbert Norris, p. 49-50
  4. ^ The Englishness of English dress, Christopher Breward/Becky Conekin/Caroline Cox, p. 53, [2]
  5. ^ Ribeiro, Aileen (2003). Dress and Morality. Berg. p. 154.