I have fond memories and photos of my mother, her mother, and her mother’s mother all wearing gloves as a natural, and fashionable, accessory to their outfit. Matching purse, hat, and gloves finished an ensemble like icing on a cake. I myself could not go to mass on Sunday without wearing white cotton gloves.
It wasn’t until the 1960’s that gloves began to slip away from mainstream fashion and regulated back to pure utilitarian uses for work, sports, and cold weather.
However, gloves over history were much more than a fashion and social statement. King Tut was found in his tomb with remnants of gloves that tied at his wrists. It was assumed he wore them to protect his hands while holding the reins of his chariot. Why he was wearing them in his final resting spot must be another story.
As the centuries passed, gloves moved from utilitarian purposes to a social status statement. A lady did not go out without her gloves on. The fit, design, and material all indicative of her class. A wealthy woman had staff to do labor of any kind, so fine gloves protected her delicate hands, and let everyone know so. Though in fact, gloves could hide the work worn hands of a lower class woman, but the fit could not. Men also wore gloves, even light colored ones because a dark leather could stain a pale kid or cotton lady’s glove. Footman wore (wear) white gloves so as not to impart fingerprints on the dinnerware during service. Fans of Downtown Abbey, me among them, had to be fascinated by the all the gloves so elegantly worn throughout the series. In researching this post however I found that many "faux pas" were demonstrated in terms of proper glove etiquette. Eat with your gloves on? Heavens no!
There is a detailed and fascinating history of proper etiquette attributed to how and where to wear gloves that evolved over the years. Worth Googling if you are interested.
But it was during the 1800’s that gloves took on even another role, and were an absolute necessity due to rampant, contagious disease. See where I’m going with this? We are all familiar at this point in 2020 of seeing latex gloves, boxes of them, in stores, online, in our homes and cars. I recall that back in March, April and May securing a box was as coveted as a roll of toilet paper. I felt fortunate to already have a stash on hand that I use when cookie or cake decorating.
That little cardboard box that was previously only encountered in the doctor’s office or hospital visit is now a household item. So it makes me wonder, would it be possible for gloves to make a comeback? Real gloves, pretty gloves, gloves that dress up and finish your outfit. That keep you safe. Wouldn’t that be fun?
As far as I know there is at least one company out there that is on the same train of thought and has produced cute “errand” gloves (click here) and another with UVA/UVB touchscreen friendly gloves (click here).
I like it! So let’s kick it up a notch and get back to beautiful, fashion forward gloves to polish off an outfit and provide some health protection at the same time. There couldn’t be a better time for gloves to make a comeback, don't you agree?