Tina popped this request into the suggestion box.
I would love to hear your thoughts on how to wear gloves and where to find gloves at a reasonable price. I have a horse and paint so my hands look like I might be a mechanic. Also, my husband hates nail polish and I’m too busy to get manicures. And then there are the veins and the gnarly knuckles from arthritis. Do you think gloves might be the answer, or is that too over the top? And then there’s glove etiquette. Can you just leave them on all the time? (Is it okay to eat in gloves? Shake hands in gloves?) I’m going to a wedding and I’d love to figure out a way to get gloves to work for me for that and other special occasions.
A fascinating discussion ensued in the comments, which you can read here, and I must say that you folks had some insights and input that I could never have been able to supply myself! In fact, I’m going to give my two cents on gloves, and leave this discussion fairly open-ended because I KNOW that gloves and glove-wearing are cultural and would love to hear from some of you who have had more experience wearing them. For purposes besides keeping your hands from freezing, that is.
The image at the top of this post? That’s how the magazines are showing gloves these days. They’re worked into everyday, indoor outfits like just another accessory. Artfully adding pops of color, casually scrunched and wildly elegant. But most of us know that gloves are NOT “just another accessory” for two important reasons:
- They can impede typing, head-scratching, writing, makeup application, mobile phone use, and just about every other 21st-century fine-motor activity a gal might undertake.
- They are not typically worn. By people. In everyday situations inside of buildings.
Now, gloves are extremely helpful for gardening, handling delicate items that need to remain fingerprint-free, and working with horses and other large animals. But there are specialized gloves for those tasks, and you don’t get ‘em at J.Crew. The gloves that Tina is curious about are not for work, they are for adornment. And here’s what I found out about them.
This post on glove etiquette summarizes most of what I was able to find in researching this topic, which amounts to the following:
- You’re not really supposed to wear gloves indoors.
- You can wear gloves to the races, picnics, and outdoor garden parties, and if you’re outdoors and not eating, they can stay on.
- The exception is if you’re at the opera. Keep ‘em on unless you’re eating.
And to get even more granular (and amusing, if you ask me):
- Avoid crocheted lace or transparent nylon. (No explanation for this one. Maybe they get caught on stuff?)
- Don’t wear the same gloves on consecutive days. (Yeah. Ya slob.)
- Don’t play cards with gloves on. (Yeah. Ya card shark.)
- Don’t apply makeup with gloves on. (Yeah. Ya … makeup-lover.)
- Don’t wear jewelry over gloves, with the exception of bracelets. (So that leaves rings, right? What else would you wear over gloves?)
It sounds to me like light gloves would be fine for an outdoor wedding so long as they are removed to eat, but if the ceremony is indoors they’d need to be removed. And my GOODNESS, this is a lot more nit-picky and rules-focused than I’d really like to get, but gloves just seem like an old-world accessory that should be treated with old-world respect.
So let’s move on to the part of Tina’s question that I’m far happier answering: Where to find gloves at a reasonable price.
Please thrift your leather gloves. Please. They are abundant and cheap and languishing in big piles at your local charity shop, I can practically guarantee it.
The big discount retailers will have loads of options in leather, knits, canvas, and lots of other materials.
Leather, lace, hand-knit, fingerless, and more. Always remember that Etsy is a great place to go for custom items, too.
Vintage, new, even bulk lots of gloves. Every length, style, and size imaginable.
Finally, I’m throwing fingerless gloves out there. Tina is looking for coverage to the tips so this suggestion won’t do her any good, but my impression is that fingerless gloves are slightly more acceptable when worn indoors than the real glove deal. Thoughts?
In fact, what are your thoughts on gloves in general? How does this incredible morass of etiquette strike you? Are you comfortable flouting it and wearing gloves indoors, to eat, all the time except possibly to wash your hands and go to sleep? What would you suggest to Tina?
Image courtesy J.Crew
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