Way Back When: Liking the Look of Leather
Image: Air Service Journal, March 21, 1918
By Betsy J. Green
Suddenly, leather was in fashion on the streets of Santa Barbara in December 1919. It started with leather coats. “The fad has struck the city with the effectiveness of an old-time gold rush. Men and youths, women and girls are wearing ‘em in all shades.” The paper explained that the fashion began with army aviators. (Planes of that era had open cockpits, so pilots wore leather to keep warm.)
Next, leather boots made an appearance here. “A young woman who looked like Mary Pickford and walked like Theda Bara [both silent movie stars] wearing high leather boots in conjunction with a fetching coat of velvet and fur stepped forth from her car at the corner of State and Cañon Perdido, and created quite a stir among the male contingent abroad at that hour.”
Ye gads! What will they think of next? Knee-length skirts?
UP CLOSE & PERSONAL
My first-ever tailgate book signing event - I’ll be parked near Chaucer’s bookstore on Saturday, Dec. 14 from 2 to 3:30. You can buy one or more of my books at Chaucer's, and I will be happy to sign them, pose for a selfie, etc.
I will also be signing my books at the Santa Barbara Arts gift shop in La Arcada on Sunday, Dec. 15 from noon-2 p.m. Stop by and say “hi” to me and the La Arcada Christmas turtles Prancer, Dancer, and Vixen.
Betsy's Way Back When book -- 1919 -- is now available in local bookstores and at Amazon.com. This is the sixth book in her series of the history of Santa Barbara, one year at a time. Learn more at