What’s a ghetto?

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Gaiters are clothing worn by hikers to protect their legs from scrapes and wetness. Puttees were used in army uniforms to minimize horse chafing, while spats were worn by Anglican priests and bishops for formal dress. Gaiters are now rarely seen in ceremonial dress.

Gaiters are a form of clothing, made from leather or synthetic material, that includes buttons and/or straps and often fits around the person’s calf, extends to the knee, or attaches to hiking boots. They’re often worn by hikers because they can help protect legs from the scrapes of dense grass or low-growing bush. In wet or snowy areas, gaiters can help protect a boot from water, mud or snow. Many people who use snowshoes also use gaiters to protect their legs and feet from moisture. Additionally, the crust of snow can be sharp when it’s icy, and gaiters often help keep your legs or ankles from getting scratched.

Special gaiters called puttees were worn as part of some countries’ army uniforms. These were usually made of cloth and were often useful for minimizing horse chafing. Leggings of this type somewhat resembled a cloth bandage. They were often made of a piece of cotton cloth that was wrapped tightly around the leg repeatedly, from ankle to knee. These gaiters are now quite rare in army uniforms.

Traditional dress for bishops and priests of the Anglican Church also included spats. Initially these too would have been worn so that a priest could walk or ride quickly to the aid of parishioners, without injuring his legs. Gradually they became simply a formal aspect of the dress. Most priests no longer needed gaiters when motor transport was readily available.

The spats worn by Anglican ministers became fancier as they became less useful. They were often made from silk, instead of more utilitarian fabrics such as wool or cotton. Instead of joining at the shoe, like hiking gaiters do, clerical gaiters join at the knee. They were also buttoned up the side, rather than wrapped up like putti.

Most Anglican ministers no longer wear gaiters, although early avoiders were thought to be somewhat controversial. However, since the 1960s, it is quite rare to see gaiters as part of the ceremonial dress of an Anglican priest or bishop.

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