Spats!

Discussion in 'General Attire & Accoutrements' started by Johnnysan, Aug 2, 2005.

  1. Johnnysan

    Johnnysan One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,170
    Location:
    Central Illinois
    Has anyone had any experience with vintage spats? I've seen several pairs for sale on eBay in various condition, but the sizing confuses me. Most of them seem to be "size 7" or "size 9." Was spat size equal to shoe size or was the sizing independent of shoe size? If the later, what is the rule for spat to shoe size?
     
  2. Matt Deckard

    Matt Deckard Man of Action

    In my experience it is equal to shoe size. I have bought spats in the past and all i find are ones that are too small. I think like with some hats and suits, the small ones are the only ones left.
     
  3. Johnnysan

    Johnnysan One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,170
    Location:
    Central Illinois
    Thanks, Matt...

    That's what I was afraid of...my continuing tale of woe in vintage clothing. A 50 Long in the jacket (I'll let you do the math for the slacks!), a 7 3/8 lid and size 12 feet! My shorter, thinner friends wish they had my height and bulk and there are times I'd love to fit into a 38 Regular suit and a 6 7/8 fedora!

    When one of you nimble fellas stumble across the mother load of vintage fat guy clothes...keep me in mind! :cheers1:
     
  4. I was thinking about some of the things that were part of a man's wardrobe and remembered that spats were an item that seems at least to me to be an upper crust type of thing. They were used in the 20's but I don't know how late they were considered a viable part of mens wear. It seems like they were worn with a regular or business suit for a while but was relegated to more formal wear later on.

    Any background info?
     
  5. 3PieceSuitGuy

    3PieceSuitGuy One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    177
    Location:
    Sydney, NSW, Australia
    Spats

    Hello,

    You are right that later in the piece that spats were mainly worn with a morning suit, to add that touch of formality, and I believe it was to do with hiding a Gen't hoisery. Emily Post refers to them with morning wear, and the fact that they should be close fitting but not wrinkled. I have seen some on ebay in browns and charcoal greys which indicates to that they were a part of everyday dress as morning wear does not come in brown.

    I have heard that King Edward or King George one day did not wear a pair in his morning suit, and that gentlemen immediately discarded them so as not to make him appear underdressed. I will try and find out more, but since then they declined in popularity.

    Hope this helps. Will try and find out more.
     
  6. 3PieceSuitGuy

    3PieceSuitGuy One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    177
    Location:
    Sydney, NSW, Australia
    Found It

    From The Encyclopedia of Men's Clothes (by Andy Gilchrist!):

    Spatterdashes are knee-high leggings worn beginning in the 1670?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s, made of leather or canvas and fastened down the outside of the leg with buttons or buckles.

    Two shorter versions of spatterdashes (spats and gaiters) appeared in the 19th century. Shoes were paired with them for weather protection when low shoes became more fashionable than boots. These ankle coverings were first worn by the military and adopted in 1878 to wear with the Morning Coat.

    ?¢‚Ǩ?ìGaiters?¢‚Ǩ? are a covering for the ankle made from leather or stout linen. They are generally buttoned down the side and were often fitted with a strap, which passed under the sole of the shoe.

    ?¢‚Ǩ?ìSpats?¢‚Ǩ? are a shorter gaiter, covering the upper part of the foot and the ankle. They fastened under the shoe and were made of linen. They were buttoned from the side and were very popular at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of 20th century.

    The evolution of acceptable daytime formal wear can be seen in the outfits that King George V wore to open the Chelsea Flower Show, an important event in the London season. In 1923 the King opened the Show in a frock coat, gray top hat and spats.

    In 1926 the King shocked the public by wearing a black morning coat instead of a frock coat. This helped speed the Frock?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s demise (although it took ten years for its full death). Spats were another clothing accessory left off by the King in 1926, and the bushes were littered with the spats other gentlemen had discarded. Spats never seemed to return to favor after that.



    So it looks like they were for weather protection for regular shoes and most likely would have been worn with regular suits as well as morning suits initially.

    Cheers
     
  7. Amaising! The King doesn't wear them one day and phit, gone! Makes me think of Clark Gable not wearing an under shirt in "It Happened One Night" and undershirt sales dropped drastically.
     
  8. DanielJones

    DanielJones I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,042
    Location:
    On the move again...
    My Great Grandfather used to wear spats well into 1940's. My Dad has several pictures of him with his friends, all well dressed with spats. That is just what he was used to. And trend had nothing to do with it. He cut a fine figure in his old age.

    Cheers!

    Dan
     
  9. 3PieceSuitGuy

    3PieceSuitGuy One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    177
    Location:
    Sydney, NSW, Australia
    If I could find some that fit me I would most likely wear them with my vintage suits today... well at least my vintage morning suit!

    Your Grandfather sounds like a stylish man.
     
  10. John Helmer has some listed under accessories.
     
  11. Feraud

    Feraud Bartender

    Messages:
    17,074
    Location:
    Hardlucksville, NY
    Does anyone own or wear spats?
    My dad gave me these a few years ago.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    I do not know how old they are. They look brand new. I have never attemped to try 'em out, I think they are a bit small for my ankle/foot. Also, they seem a bit too..'Hercule Poirot' or 'Joel Cairo' for me! ;)
     
  12. Johnnysan

    Johnnysan One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,170
    Location:
    Central Illinois
    Nice looking spats. Feraud...

    I like the look of spats and have tried to find a pair that will fit over my big feet (12M) with no luck. I picked up a very nice pair of spats off of eBay sometime ago and they were close, but no cigar.

    I'm like you, they are probably a bit over the top for daily wear, but I thought they would be a nice touch for a special occassion. The sizing on the things is also been something of a mystery to me and doesn't seem to directly correspond to shoe size.

    Of the articles of clothing that my dad mentions from his youth (he's now 83), he seems to have taken the most pride from having owned a "really nice pair of spats." Seems the young ladies took notice of them back then too...;)
     
  13. skinnychik

    skinnychik One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    159
    Location:
    The bad part of Denver
    oooh, spats! very "Wooster & Jeeves"

    yummy
    ladies still notice those things

    I've never seen a man in spats except in pictures...warning to those who enter my sphere wearing them: you may be in grave peril
     
  14. Your spats don't look like the costume-y ones made today. My guess is that they are an original vintage pair, probably from the 1920s or '30s, and certainly not younger than that.

    Incidentally, vintage spats in black command higher prices on eBay than brown or grey ones do.
     
  15. matei

    matei Practically Family

    Messages:
    995
    Location:
    England
    What were their purpose? When did they go out of style?

    Were they to keep ones socks from showing? [huh]
     
  16. Feraud

    Feraud Bartender

    Messages:
    17,074
    Location:
    Hardlucksville, NY
    Thanks for the info!

    I think spats were worn to keep shoes clean?....
     
  17. G. Fink-Nottle

    G. Fink-Nottle One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    151
    Location:
    Martinsburg, WV
    From Wikipedia :

    Spats are a type of shoe accessory worn in the late 19th and early 20th century. They were stiff fabric covers attached to the top of the shoe and extending up the lower part of the leg. Spats, especially white ones on highly-polished black shoes, form part of the stereotype dress of a wealthy young man of the era, along with a top hat and a cane. Spats were an evolution of the 18th century "Spatterdashes," a version of the similar (but strictly practical rather than decorative) articles known as gaiters that are still worn today, to prevent mud getting into walking boots.
     
  18. jake_fink

    jake_fink Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,279
    Location:
    Taranna
    When I'm at the races I shout: "COME ON OLD NUMBER SEVEN (or whatever I've bet), COME ON; PAPA NEEDS A NEW PAIR OF SPATS!"

    I think I might have stolen that from the Simpsons.


    The fact that I do not own spats will show you just how well that chant works.
     
  19. zeus36

    zeus36 A-List Customer

    Messages:
    388
    Location:
    Ventura, California
    I wore military spats during my boot camp days in the Navy. White ones over black boon dockers and cinched around my dungarees. Perfect for marching or doing the obstacle course. I really liked those!

    I picked up a black pair of firefighter's spats on Ebay some years ago to wear over my work boots but they were too small and I ended up giving them to the local Army/Navy guy.

    I think dress spats in a vintage Victorian outfit adds the finishing touch.
     
  20. penfencer

    penfencer Familiar Face

    Messages:
    63
    Location:
    Florida
    I wear them with my bagpiping uniform. They are still standard in the Scottish military when worn with the kilt.

    I like them better than wearing just the hose. They do get dirty easily.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.