Vintage Gloves: Remember those Days?

DSC04373Do you remember the time when women wore gloves?  Not the keep-our-hands-warm gloves, but the pretty gloves that were worn whenever we left the house.  I guess I’m showing my age a bit, but I remember wearing gloves from my grandmothers and mother, too.  In fact, I still have many of those gloves and the beautiful marble glass glove box my grandmother kept hers in.

I’m busy organizing the smaller pieces of the Vintage Collection right now and we have quite a few pairs of gloves.  I couldn’t help think about when ladies wore them all the time and the special set of “rules” that dictated how and when gloves were worn.

First, if you were wearing a hat – you were wearing gloves.  No question about it!

Second, if it was an evening, formal party, long gloves were worn.  Long gloves are called full length or opera gloves.  How long they were was dictated by the sleeve of your gown.  Strapless or sleeveless called for the longest gloves, up over your bicep.  Short-sleeve gowns called for a bit shorter gloves, but still over the elbow.  The gloves were also made of the dress fabric, silk or kid leather.  The leather gloves necessitated the use of powder to draw them on, but oh are they soft!

If we were going shopping, out to a movie or out to lunch, gloves were generally at the wrist or a few inches above the wrist.  And they definitely coordinated with the outfit.  If it was spring or summer, lacy or crochet gloves were correct.  And mom always had a pair of driving gloves….they are the ones with the knit inserts between the fingers.

DSC04360Pictured are gloves with buttons, which made it possible to remove just your hand from the glove to eat a meal or to have your wedding ring slipped on during the ceremony.  The fingers would be tucked up into the rest of the glove.  Ladies did not remove their gloves in public and didn’t eat or drink in gloves.  Certain occasions called for taking them off and this was done discreetly in your lap and then laid underneath the napkin.  Putting them back on before you left the table was also a rule, again discreetly!

White gloves are the hardest to wear because they must remain white throughout the event.  If there was a chance this wasn’t going to happen, colored gloves were worn.  Young ladies learned about functioning with gloves until they could handle white…hopefully before their first ball when white gloves would be required.

DSC04357I still like gloves.  I know there are rules, but gloves make you feel special.  I think I’ll pull out some of the gloves I have and see if they go with any of my outfits.  Then, I’ll need an occasion so I can wear them (Can’t plan my own party because the hostess doesn’t wear gloves….another rule!).  My birthday is coming and I think shopping and tea with my friends would be the perfect time to try wearing gloves again.  We’ll see how I do with all the rules!

Barb Byler