NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

May 1, 2014

Spats, plus-fours and other clothes from the past

Yup, I guess if we pray hard enough, and promise the Lord we’ll never complain again, the weather has gotten better, but I did overhear someone swearing at a stationary lawnmower. Haven’t figured out the Red Sox yet, and I don’t think they have themselves. So relax and let the team spend all that bonus money!

My subject this month is, as you have guessed it, our city’s 250th anniversary, and in reality it is the only worthwhile subject worth the space, as the waterfront dilemma and the historical (excuse me, Historical) subjects have been beaten to death. So on with the story, local yokel!

It happened to be a Thursday, and I was looking over a scrapbook I have put together covering all the columns I have written, and I came across a picture of “Bossy” Gillis, our five-time mayor, Jimmy Walker, the dude mayor of New York, and James M. Curley, the forever mayor of Boston.

As many times I have looked at that photo, and shown it to others, I never noticed Jimmy was wearing spats. I’m sure some of you have never heard of the word, or what spats are, so let me explain. They were a cloth material worn over each shoe, and covering the laces, and if you are a real “dude” they matched the suit you were wearing.

Yup, we had “dudes” back in the ‘20s, especially my friend Jake, who never came back from WWII. I’ll bet ya, though, Jake had them put away to wear another day. OK, I’ll admit it; I wore a pair once when the “zoot” suits came out.

At this point in column, you might be asking what spats have got to do with history. Well, I’ll tell ya! Clothing and wearing apparel changed with the time, and if you don’t buy that, look at what they were wearing in the middle ages, and would you be caught dead in that garb! Come to think of it, maybe you would!

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