“I don’t know why spats went out! The actual name was spatterdashers, and you fastened them over your ankles, you see, to prevent the spatter dashing you. They certainly lent tone to your appearance, and they were awfully comfortable, especially when you wore them in cold weather. I’ve written articles, which were rather funny, about how I used to go about London. I would borrow my brother’s frock coat and my uncle’s hat, but my spats were always new and impeccable. The butler would open the door and take in my old topcoat and hat and sniff as if to say, ‘Hardly the sort of thing we are accustomed to.’ And then he would look down at the spats and everything would be all right. It’s a shame when things like spats go out.”
-P.G. Wodehouse in The Paris Review. Thanks to Casey for the link.