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Dougie said:
Perhaps you have not worn formal evening clothing. Spats cover your shoes.
wikipedia said:
Commonly worn as upper-class city dress prior to World War I, spats fell out of fashion during the late 1920s, although retained until the 1940s as formal daytime dress for men on occasions such as weddings and other social events. A short female version, usually in beige, was popular during the Edwardian era (1902-14).
I'd never heard the term before, but it makes sense now that I know what it means.
 
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