Glove Etiquette

Guidelines for choosing Day Gloves

  • Cotton or nylon shorties, from bright polka dot prints for the races to embroidered or lace-trimmed fashions for summer parties.
  • Black kid for city sightseeing and theater in metropolitan settings.
  • String gloves for casual activities in the country or at the beach.
  • For the winter you will need a small collection of leather gloves, which are great for shopping and also driving.

Fitted leather gloves are at their most elegant when they are made of glacé kidskin and smartest when they are in a neutral shade and a classic style.

Good quality leather gloves can be fairly expensive and they do need to be taken good care of (see below) so that they maintain their freshness.

Forzieri offer a range of incredibly chic leather gloves on-line in a range of colours. Personally I don't think you can beat these red ones! Click on the gloves and it will take you directly to their site where you can browse other colours:

They should fit well and since leather gloves are made in quarter sizes you should be able to shop around for the perfect pair. Click here for more information on choosing the correct size.

Style wise, they should be devoid of trimming and, of course, it is good day glove etiquette for them to be worn only on the street and never indoors.

Opera Glove Etiquette

If wearing an evening dress a pair of Black Opera Gloves are the most elegant. 

The correct opera glove etiquette for the length of glove is dependant on the length of your sleeve – the shorter the sleeve, the longer the glove and therefore opera gloves are properly worn with sleeveless or short-sleeved dresses/evening gowns.

  • White and its various shades, including ivory, beige and taupe, are the traditional colors for opera gloves and are appropriate for virtually any occasion on which opera gloves are worn.
  • Black Opera Gloves should not be worn with light-colored dresses, but can be worn with black, dark-colored or bright-colored clothing.
  • Opera gloves of other colors should really only be worn only in coordination with the colour scheme of the dress you are wearing.
  • Opera gloves should not be put on in public but should be put on in the privacy of your own home.
  • They should always be removed when eating, even if it is no more than a cocktail canapé. They do not have to be removed when drinking but if there is a risk of spilling wine on them, then it is fine to take them off.
  • You should remove your gloves when you sit for dinner and put them back on afterwards.
  • They should not be removed in order to shake hands and do not apologize for not doing so.
  • Any removing of the gloves in public should be done discreetly and not in the style of a burlesque dancer.
  • Don’t wear jewellery over gloves, with the exception of bracelets.
  • Don’t apply makeup with gloves on.
  • Don’t play cards with gloves on.

You can partially remove your opera gloves as follows: unbutton the mousquetaire wrist opening and pull your hand out through the opening. The empty glove hand can then be rolled up neatly to wrist level, either tucked under the wrist or under your bracelet, if you are wearing bracelets.

Caring for your Opera Gloves

  • Luke warm water with mild soap flakes—swish gloves back and forth and rub fingertips gently.
  • Put gloves on hands and rinse in clean lukewarm water. Squeeze excess moisture away; some soap will remain on purpose as a softening agent.
  • Remove gloves and blow into each finger, restoring it to approximate shape. Now place gloves flat on a towel away from radiator heat, shaping them as you would shape a hand-washed sweater.
  • When gloves are almost dry, work them — smoothing them on carefully — restoring them to their original shape.
  • Store gloves flat.

Just for Fun!

In Victorian era gloves were used as flirtation codes, so if the moment presents itself:

  • Twirling one's gloves around her fingers - we are being watched.
  • Holding the tips of the gloves downward - I wish to be acquainted.
  • Gently smoothing the gloves - I wish I were with you; I would like to talk with you.
  • Holding one's gloves loosely in her right hand - be contented.
  • Holding one's gloves loosely in her left hand - I am satisfied.
  • Striking one's gloves over her hands - I am displeased.
  • Tossing one's gloves up gently - I am engaged.
  • Tapping one's chin with her gloves - I love another.
  • Dropping one of her gloves - yes.
  • Dropping both gloves - I love you.
  • Turning the wrong side of one's gloves outward - I hate you.

Other Dress Code Etiquette to learn on this site:

Cocktail Dress Code Etiquette

Funeral Dress Etiquette

Dress Code for an Interview

Black Tie Dress Code

Royal Ascot Dress Code

Diamonds for Different Occasions

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About The Author

The Author, Emma Dupont, runs various courses in London during the year.

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