when is it appropriate to wear gloves

Vintage Fashion | Glove Etiquette for Beginners

Vintage Fashion | Glove Etiquette for Beginners

I admit, I have a bit of a thing for gloves.

Specifically vintage gloves that are small enough for my stubby hands. They look smart, come in a trillion styles and colours and make you feel like a lady. They are also the one part of my wardrobe that gets consistently noticed.

But since our mothers were freed from the social expectation of hats and gloves, we’ve forgotten how to wear them! Gloves were an integral part of dressing for many eras, but the majority of questions I receive are from lovers of 1940’s – 1960’s fashion. So here, my darlings, is a beginners playbook for the wearing of gloves – information courtesy of several 1950’s fashion etiquette brochures.

When to wear gloves

Gloves should be worn on the streets of cities and large towns.
They should be worn when driving or travelling on trains, planes or other public conveyances.
Gloves should be worn for church and formal occasions including weddings, luncheons, dinners, garden parties or receptions.
The hostess should also wear gloves while she is receiving guests at these functions.

When not to wear gloves

Please remove your gloves to eat, smoke, apply makeup or play cards.

Glove Etiquette

  •  If you are lunching in a restaurant remove your coat on entering but retain your hat and gloves. Removeyour gloves when you are seated at the table.
  •  When attending a party with food or hors d’oeuvres turn your gloves back at the wrist or remove one while eating. ( This is where those gloves with wrist buttons come into play )
  •  When attending an informal event, remove your gloves on arrival and leave them with your coat.
  •  Always remove your gloves completely when seated for a meal. Try to do so discreetly, a lady does not make a spectacle of removing her gloves.
  • Gloves are left on while shaking hands.
  • Bracelets are the only jewellery that should be worn over your gloves.

Miss Pinup New Zealand 2017 Velvet DeColette walks us through the basic rules for wearing gloves, the perfect vintage fashion accessory.

Which gloves do I wear?

Day Gloves 

  • Short gloves in cotton or nylon come in lovely styles. Consider bright polka dot prints for the races, and embroidered or lace-trimmed gloves for summer parties.
  • Black kid leather is appropriate for city sightseeing and theater in metropolitan settings.
  • Crotchet or string gloves for casual garden parties and fairs in the country, or at the beach.
  • Leather gloves are wonderful in winter, especially for shopping and also driving.

Evening Gloves 

  • The appropriate length of glove can be chosen according to the length of your sleeves – the shorter your sleeves, the longer your gloves.
  • White and off white, including ivory, beige and taupe, are the traditional colors for opera gloves. these pale colours 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.
  • Black gloves are also considered the most elegant with evening dress.
  • Long coloured gloves should really be worn only with dresses of a coordinating colour scheme.
  • Opera gloves should not be put on in public but should be put on in the privacy of your own home. If they must be removed in public please do so discreetly. ( I can only imagine this was included in 1954’s brochure as the sight of a woman peeling off an opera glove could drive a man crazy.)

Lilli Ann inspired gold and black floral ladies suit. Made and worn with vintage hat and gloves and modern back seam stockings and leather heels.

Of course, these are the fashion rules from the era our beloved gloves are from. Modern women have the freedom to disobey or obey them as they please. Personally I find the subtle nuances of wearing vintage clothing part of the experience, so I  hope these guidelines will help you confidently don your gloves like the retro beauty you are! Have fun and be bold!

With Style & Sass

    Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, 4 comments