Friday, January 25, 2013

Accessory Appreciation: Spats

Continuing my adventure to find under-appreciated accessories and show them some love, with a Goth twist, I've decided to focus this post on rather delightful little accessory that never seems to get enough attention. At least for my tastes. I'm here to talk about spats.

So, Spats. What are they? Well, Spats are a shoe accessory which are placed over one's shoe and around the ankle to provide a different look. They can be made of many different things, all kinds of fabric and leather and suede, or they can be made of lace or be knitted from any kind of yarn. The decoration options are also endless, but the most popular additions are (from what I've seen) buttons, buckles, and corset lacing. They add another dimension to an outfit, and can help you change up the look of a pair of shoes to match your clothes. Since they are often associated with the later nineteenth century, their association with Steampunk is clear, and you'll usually find them used in Steampunk outfits. But! That doesn't mean Goths can't participate in the lovely phenomenon that is Spats! Let's look at a few Goth appropriate examples:

For those of you whose wardrobes are more Cyber than Romantic, spats are an alternative to those big fluffy legwarmers you love so much (I say this with love.) Cyber spats tend not to have the strap going under the shoe to hold them on, because they will often be worn with platforms, and rest on top of the shoe.

Spats are also possible to make on your own, depending on your sewing or knitting or hot-gluing ability. Here is a tutorial on the Steam Fashion Livejournal group, one on the indigo phial,  and here on deviantArt. I don't really know of any reliable knitting pattern resources, but I'm sure there will be some out there if you look for spats knitting pattern.

As for how to wear them, they tend to look best when there's not a lot of volume around the ankle area, so they may look best with tights, leggings, socks, or skinny jeans. The only reason I mention this is that I had a mental image of someone wearing the lace-up ones above with Tripp pants and...lets just not, shall we? As for the shoes to wear them with, anything with even a slight heel should look good. Obviously Spats tend to lend themselves toward Victorian or Edwardian outfits (so for Goths maybe Victorian-Goths, Romantigoths, Lolitas, or something Vamp-y) , but as you can see that isn't a limitation. I like the idea of using them in a corp-Goth ensemble since they're quirky but not exactly offensive to colleagues. As long as you like how they look, that should go well.

Here's my attempt to coordinate spats in my style on Polyvore:


And now in a few other styles...

Spats 2


Spats 3

So, what do you guys think of Spats? Are they something you could use in your own style?

Edited to Add: It seems my post has gone live a little early! My post schedule should still be on Saturdays, but the "scheduled" feature is a little off for me. Please bear with me as I get it working again.


  1. God <3 I fell in love with spats to long ago & I still don't own a pair. It's just that I didn't find the right pair (that matches my budget). ONE DAY <3

  2. Lovely post! I have been thinking of making my own spats for a long time but never got enought time and inspiration so this was needed. Swedish summer nights can be very chilly so spats are a nice way to dress up and staying warm :)

  3. #1 is the perfect use for all those poor unloved men's tweed jackets you find in the thrift store, isn't it? :o)

  4. I do adore spats, though I would only really wear them for steampunk outfits. Once I've finished my craft to do list, I want to make a pair - given the length of said list, however, and my propensity to procrastinate, that might be a very long time.

  5. Oh man... I want a pair so bad. Every time I see a picture of someone wearing spats I promise myself to get my own... and I never do. Hopefully, one of these days...

  6. I made something resembling spats for a steampunk show I went to two years ago by simply cutting the sleeves out of a khaki green jumper I never wore. I cut them off along the hem connecting the shoulder to the torso and let that wider part fall over my shoe whilst the wrist part went around my thighs and stayed up quite well.

    I didn't bother but I imagine that hemming the ends would make them look pretty good too. You could sew on some awesome buttons too.

  7. *sorry meant around my calves not my thighs

  8. I always thought spats were those garters for socks that old men wear! Haha! Thanks for teaching me what they really are. I think they could be a lovely addition to one's wardrobe.

  9. Oh, those things could definitely add something extra to an outfit :3