Just what exactly are Spats?

What are Spats?

Us BJJ players refer to our grappling tights and leggings as "spats".

For the unititated (non-BJJ world), the term “spats” is relatively foreign. Outside the BJJ world, spats are more commonly referred to as tights, leggings, yoga pants, or even compression pants. The brand name Spanx is also thrown around from time to time. We have Lululemon to thank for making leggings an essential part of every woman’s wardrobe, and WWE to thank for making it OK for men to wear them (think 1980’s wrestlers such as Macho Man, Rick Rude, Jake the Snake, etc.)

Where exactly did the term “Spats” come from?

Spats are simply a shortened version of the word “spatterdashes”. Spats were primarily worn by men in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s to protect your shoes and socks from the mud and rain (and also horse dung), as well as being a fasion accessory. They fell out of fashion in the 1920’s, but up until that time were the hip thing for the upper classes. They were also super practical as up until that time streets were full of crap…literally, from the horses and carts that people cruised around in. It wasn’t until the 20’s that streets started being paved to make way for the cars that were by then being produced, and spats weren’t really needed to keep your shoes clean anymore. Today they are generally only worn as protective equipement for factory workers, and as part of Military uniforms in certain countries.

Some notable spats wearing celebrities;

Babar the Elephant

Hercule Poirot

The Monopoly Man

Scrooge McDuck

Chief Weasel Smart Ass from Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Batman’s arch rival the Penguin

We wouldn’t make this stuff up…check Wikipedia if you think we’re lying :)

How exactly did spatterdashes become synonymous with MMA and BJJ grappling tights? If you have any ideas here, please let us know where we can find this missing link!