WE recently featured a picture of Vincent and Alice Heslop looking resplendent on their wedding day in Darlington in 1925.

The happy couple had found love beneath a tree near Darlington waterworks one evening in 1921 and their diaries from exactly 100 years ago are being uploaded onto the vincentandalice.co.uk website to reveal how their relationship developed and what life was like in the town in the 1920s.

And it must have been very busy in the shoe departments…

“I believe the smart groom is wearing a pair of spats to give the impression that his shoes are ‘co-respondent’, like the shoes worn by Brian Johnston, the cricket commentator,” said Malcolm Dunstone, in Darlington, who has been known for some sartorial moments of his own.

Barbara Laurie in Bishop Auckland agreed. “Vincent’s shoes seem to be ordinary brogues and on top of them he’s wearing spats – special white ones for his wedding day!” she said. “Spats were one of the crazier inventions of male apparel.”

The word ‘spats’ is short for spatterdashes which became fashionable in the late 18th Century. They were pieces of felt which buttoned down over the top of shoes ostensibly to keep out splashes of mud and rain, although, as Vincent’s modelling shows, their potential to create an eye-catching contrast turned them into eye-catching fashion accessories.

Indeed, two-tone spats and shoes were de rigeur in the early 1920s, adding a touch of elegance and sophistication to any man’s dress – the mobsters of New York loved their style.

If Vincent had got married a year later, though, it seems unlikely that he could have got away with spats. When King George V opened the 1926 Chelsea Flower Show, for the first time, he did not wear spats and that, it is said, finished the fashion overnight.