January 22, 2008
After three years, three months and many an ad sale, my good friend Joel Klasky is leaving us here at True West. I wish him well and I must admit I will personally miss his professionalism and classy manner.
My daughter Deena got me a New Yorker desk calendar with some great cartoons on it. This one (above) is for January 4. Funny, no?
I had a hunch that someone would know exactly the name for the unique leather leggings Vaquero's wear:
Buck Knows Botas
"The short answer to Alan Bagliore's question is botas. The long answer, spread out over several pages of Hubert Howe Bancroft's CALIFORNIA PASTORAL, 1769-1848 (1888) is botas de ala or botas de talon, a form of legging typically made of antelope or deer skin. Per Bancroft, the California vaquero typically wore breeches that reached to the knee, leggings from the knee to below the ankle, and some sort of shoe, sandal, or moccasin on the foot.
"Bill Mackin, COWBOY AND GUNFIGHTER COLLECTIBLES (1993), calls them botas-de-ala, meaning leggings, commonly worn wrapped around the leg above sandals or moccasins. He says that Buffalo Bill resurrected the bota de ala in his Wild West show.
"Richard Slatta's COWBOYS OF THE AMERICAS (1990) reproduces an 1893 Remington drawing of a vaquero in botas de ala.
"Related gear: the bota de potro, made out of the leg skin of a colt (potro), which was worn by the Argentine gauchos of old, but banned in the mid-19th century because too many colts were being slaughtered. Also, the knee-high bota de montar (riding boots), such as still worn today by the Lipizzan riders,
"Oddly -- sooner or later every question involves the word oddly -- bota may have two origins, botin, meaning legging, spat, gaiter, and bota, meaning cask, barrel, and that wineskin you and Ernest Hemingway shared during the running of the bulls in 1925. Etymologists differ, which is a redundancy. In any event, the word bota came to mean both legging and boot.
"Where to buy leggings? Don't know."
Thanks Dan. Here's a photograph of one of Pancho Villa's Villistas wearing botas (leather leggings with buckles on the side):
Now all we have to do is find out where we can buy them. Hint: I have been playing with putting them on Mickey Free.
"Find out what you love. Do it because you love it. Stick with it. Start it now."
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