Spats on Shoes : What does this mean?

What are spats ?

It is also used to refer to a type of shoe with an outer protective covering.

Wikipedia gives a very good description ” Spats, a shortening of spatter-dashes, or spatter guards are a type of classic footwear accessory for outdoor wear, covering the instep and the ankle.”

It was usually made of linen or canvas. It was mostly popular among the Victorian and Edwardian gentle men (dandies as they were called) and military officers and they  wore them to protect their patent leather shoes from muddy splashes, on their strolls outside as well as a fashion accessory.

The three piece suit, wing collar, shiny patent leather shoes and spats – Very particular over his appearance. This is a description for Hercule Poirot, that small little big man among detectives, who is always immaculate and well dressed (from the book “Poirot and Me” By David Suchet). White/grey spats over shiny leather shoes was a very popular fashion accessory spanning decades in western fashion among men and women. 
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What were spats used for?

As the covering over the shoes, they are used as protectors to strap around the pant legs and boot tops, covering them from dirt, water splashes etc, when walking. They are fastened under the bottom of the shoe and buttoned up the side. 

As a shoe, Spats indicates ankle boots with a button-across ankle cover. They look like the vintage footwear, altogether with the spat covering. If the spat covering is made of rubber, they are used for outdoor work , wet weather work, and protect the pants from getting splashed with water and dirt.

Some Leather shoes come with the look of spats over them – sometimes even with Faux spat buttons . Those are used along with vintage clothing to get the look just right.

The fashion for spats was in high demand for many years from the 18th century to the 1940s . Today spats belong to the vintage clothing collection, along with morning coats. But at one time, it was an unavoidable accessory for all well dressed gentlemen and even women – a very important element of the fashion styles of yesteryears that conveyed elegance and perfection. 


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Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.