May 24, 2012

Elements of Glamour :: Elegant Dressing :: the Glove

So seductive, so mysterious, so elegant. 
They truly are one of the elements of glamour dressing.
And I can not think of a good reason why we don't wear them more often.

But with an increasing level of romance creeping back into attire,
perhaps as a reaction to the economy,
perhaps because we are just tired of austere clothing,
there do seem to be more glove options about the place.
So I am pretty happy about that.
Because my glove collection is almost as embarrasing as my handbag one.
They are both on the, um, generous side.

 Claudette knew how to work a glove.
Sophisticated, suggestive, yet demure. All in one.

These fabulous gloves are from BHLDN,
and while they are intended as wedding attire,
I am thinking more along the lines of wearing them to the theatre,
an elegant dinner party,
or a little romantic supper for two.
Worn with a long black gown, perhaps.
(I'm not even going to confess 
how many long black evening gowns I possess, 
but they all get worn, so they are not unloved.)

Short gloves work well for day wear, summer or winter.

Grace Kelly famously wore white gloves,
at a time when most women wore coloured ones.

And with such lovely colours to choose from,
one truly could one match one's gloves to one's handbag.
(Which is why I have so many, you see. My excuse, anyway.)

More glove perfection from BHLDN.
These people are onto something.

These spotted gloves would be quite perfect for afternoon wear,
especially if I had a dalmation to take for a walk.

Perhaps forget the dalmation idea.
The gloves are pretty spectacular on their own,
and would be very handy for emphasising a point while 
waving one's hands about.
In a ladylike fashion. Of course.

Audrey Hepburn's famous pose is following the etiquette rule for gloves:
that a long glove can only be worn with a short sleeve.
The shorter the sleeve, the longer the glove.
There are 3 options: matinée (or to the wrist), to be worn with long sleeves.
Elbow gloves, to be worn with a short sleeved outfit.
And opera, or full length, to be only worn with a sleeveless gown.
But of course we can muddle this up at will,
which is one of the nice things about current dress codes.

Gloves have long been associated with seduction,
which is curious because they are also associated with demure elegance.
In fact, in late Victorian & Edwardian times, 
a lady would even eat with gloves on.
Some gloves were made with a buttoned flap,
covering the hand, which could be folded back during a meal,
then neatly returned over the hand when finished.

Opera gloves were the height of fashion in the Edwardian era,
waning in popularity somewhat after the First World War.
But when Christian Dior turned the fashion world on its head 
with his "New Look" in 1947,
(pictured here on a mannequin from the Met Museum's collection)
long opera gloves were a big part of the style.

Christian Dior, 1949, dinner dress.

Vogue US, March 2012.

Gloves remained part of a woman's everyday wear
until the early 1960s, 
when they were summarily tossed aside
as part of the rights movement.
Out went hats. Out went gloves.
And although they have continued to be worn for weddings,
and of course in winter to keep warm,
they haven't returned to mainstream fashion.

But perhaps we shall see them a bit more,
because they are certainly appearing on the catwalks.
This is the House of Holland, A/W 2012.

Temperley London, pre fall 2012.

Johanna Johnson, showing at Australian Fashion Week,
with a sort of a part cuff/ part glove.

Cuffs are but another type of glove,
in my book.
(Ok, it's a generous book.)
These are also by Johanna Johnson.

Such a fun way to add a little elegance to an outfit.
Whether old or new,
from a vintage store or a boutique,
a pair of gloves can make one feel utterly glamorous.

And surely, that's not a bad thing?

images :: dr payot ad 1950s // lace gloves bhldn // claudette //
long gloves bhldn // grace kelly to catch a thief // grace kelly //
neyret ad 1950s // pearl beaded gloves bhldn // spotted gloves bhldn
audrey hepburn long opera black gloves // argentinean vintage ad 1950s //
christian dior: met museum // purple outfit vogue us // nova magazine 1965 morley gloves //
house of holland // temperley london // johanna johnson afw // johanna johnson sparkle cuff //
lace gloves bhldn // pink gloves vintage ad


  1. without question the are truly glamorous.

    i don't think that i could wear them with confidence, unless it was cold outside.
    i do love wearing gloves and matching them to my attire.
    i know a big part of why i want to live up north again is because of the clothes i can wear.

    this post was fabulous.


    1. Renee, I have found that wearing the gloves, if anything, actually gives me confidence, rather than needing it in the first place. Although, I know exactly what you mean about wearing what is suitable in a place. My glove collection has grown exponentially since we moved to Melbourne, where I know that I can happily wear gloves & hats without people thinking it odd in the slightest. (Not that it has stopped me wearing them elsewhere, just that people may stare.)

  2. Ah, gloves...I haven't worn them since the Kennedy days. I think I still have some stuck in the back of a drawer in case they come back!

    Thanks for adding me to your blogroll. You are now in mine. Just my type of blog.

    1. Well then I hope to have inspired you to fetch them back out of that drawer, and enjoy them once again!

  3. I love the idea. I think they look oh so elegant and I don't like my hands, so they would make them look a whole lot better! x

    1. That's interesting that you should say that, because when I was researching the history of gloves for this post, I discovered that Sarah Bernhardt was largely responsible for the popularity of opera gloves in the late 19th century. But the reason that she wore them, was because she felt they disguised her thin arms.

      Funny - I think they have they also have the opposite effect! They make plumper arms look more elegant.

  4. So many gorgeous images and what lovely commentary thank you! I have pulled out my leather gloves to cover my red, cold hands in these crisp mornings; the gloves look a lot smarter. I have lost so many lovely gloves on the tube, when I've suddenly put my head up from a great book and realised it's my stop! Annie x.

    1. I'm laughing at this mental picture of you on the tube, doing just that!!! Poor gloves! And poor you!

  5. I love gloves, especially evening gloves, unfortunately we don't see them very often on the red carpet these days, if at all. I also love the fact that my Mother would not dream of driving without her gloves even in the Summer. Beautiful images.

    1. Your mother must have been très chic then. How beautiful!

  6. Oh I knew you would do a glove post one day! Awesome. I LOVE GLOVES, I wore them on my high school graduation day, my wedding day, and I wore the same wedding pair at our last Mad Men party. My sister wore my high school grad gloves to my wedding (they were long black gloves and still looked nice)..... I want to get a pair of blue gloves, and green gloves, and merlot coloured gloves....sigh....

    1. Ah, you know me very well! Yes: do, do, do, get the blue, green & merlot gloves! Sounds fabulous.

  7. Of course, Stalin didn't realized he was so wrong when said: “You cannot make a revolution with silk gloves.”
    I'm positive sure Mrs. Obama would say: "Yes, you can!" and her husband would happily agree.
    Have a nice Thursday, Virginia.

    1. What a fabulous quote - haven't heard that before. And yes, with tongue firmly in cheek, one can indeed start a revolution in silk gloves. Just not perhaps the kind he was thinking of.

  8. I have skiing gloves, washing up gloves and gardening gloves - but this post makes me think they are not quite cutting it in the glamour stakes. The photos are beautiful

    1. Well, I don't know...perhaps they could be...

  9. Way, way, waaaaay too much to respond to here, Virginia--this post also belongs in the "she outdid herself" category. Starting from the Grau drawing (redhead!) to Grace to Audrey--just missing Rita Hayworth in Gilda! ;) Sigh. OF COURSE you love gloves. You know I do too, don't you? I snapped up all of the vintage pairs I could fit into when I was younger and warm them to shreds. I still have a wonderful pair of Ferragamo's that my honey bought for me "in the good days". :) They never go out of style and always make me feel like a powerful lady! A hat does too. Which is why I never understood why they were thrown out in the 60s/70s. To me they give power and are not stylistic trappings in the least.

    1. Ah well, I popped that shot of rita into last week's post about going to opera, so thought I better not repeat it. But you are quite right, 'tis one of the most famous glove images of all time.

      And oh, oh, oh, I have some Ferragamo's too! Your comment warms my heart.

    2. Oh, I am such a dork. I knew that I had seen that photo somewhere recently! And what is up with the "warm" instead of "wore"? Tzzzt, tzzzt. Will you still be my friend when my brain is utterly gone?

    3. You betcha. Although that will not actually be a possibility. You have far too many brain cells in that clever head of yours - even if you lost lots, you would still be super-sharp!


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