Gloves have been around since ancient times, and there has been evidence found. Archeologists have found gloves in the tombs of the Pharohs. The original purpose of gloves was to protect the hands, keep them warm, and they were shaped more like mittens.
Gloves went out of style sometime in the late 1980s. It was long after Madonna proudly wore her sexy black lace fingerless gloves in her first music video, “Lucky Star.” Once people decided that gloves were out of fashion, they only wore them strictly for warmth.
Gloves once signified the class status of the wearer. They were a symbol of distinction and power. Over time, they evolved into being worn by women with elegant dresses and formal wear. Gloves were worn to add a touch of elegance. Read on to find out when gloves went out of style.
Is There any Time it's Fashionable to Wear Gloves?
Gloves are mostly worn in the winter when it is necessary to keep hands warm. However, there are exceptions to that rule. The runway is one place where you still see gloves worn for fashion.
Often, elaborate designs and unique colors are worn in fashion shows, and gloves are sometimes a part of the outfit. The red carpet is another place where you often see the stars wearing gloves. Billie Eilish has been spotted wearing black lace fingerless gloves, ala 1980’s Madonna style.
About six years ago, on the red carpet, Taylor Swift turned heads in a very memorable long red dress with long opera-length red gloves to match. It is indeed a look that would be appreciated today. Lady Gaga is notorious for wearing fashion gloves when strutting out onto the red carpet.
Kerry Washington is another celebrity that has been spotted wearing fashion gloves. She wore long black leather ones on the red carpet and looked flawless. If you are bold enough to copy these fashions, you better be going somewhere nice.
Do Gloves go in and Out of Style?
As a whole, gloves have played a big part in society and fashion since ancient Egypt, when they were more like a mitten with no fingers. In medieval times a knight could challenge his opponent by throwing down his gauntlet. There have been times when gloves were important or passe.
- The Fifth to the Fifteenth Centuries – During the middle ages, gloves were commonly used in battle. These gloves were made of metal and were made to cover the hand and arm. They were known as gauntlets. Once men could use firearms and bow and arrow, gauntlets became obsolete. Women were discouraged from wearing gloves. The church deemed women who wore gloves unholy and sinful.
- The Thirteenth Century – During the 13th– century, gloves symbolized class distinction and royalty for queens. They were fashioned of silk or linen and went up to the elbows. Because of the church’s opinion of women wearing gloves there was a significant drop seen in glove-wearing.
- Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, gloves were worn to demonstrate social status. Queen Elizabeth I wore bejeweled and embroidered gloves. However, as long gloves came into fashion, they became more accessible to the middle class who wore them to appear more distinguished.
Long gloves came around just as short sleeves came into every women’s wardrobe. Both sexes wore them. Men typically wore gloves that were made from deer, sheep, and kidskins. In the seventeenth century, fabric and knitted gloves were made.
- Eighteenth-Century – Wrist gloves came into fashion. Wrist gloves came to fruition to complement long ruffled or lace-trimmed sleeves. Fabric and knitted gloves began to emerge at this time. Knitted gloves were not a symbol of status the way the decorative leather gloves were. There were also new rules of etiquette concerning the removal of gloves. A lady should never reveal too much skin and remove her glove inappropriately.
Kid gloves were the most sought-after type of gloves. They were very soft and thin, as they fit on a person’s hand like a second skin. They were generally only accessible to the wealthy. By the close of the eighteenth century, men only wore gloves to keep their hands warm or while engaging in sports.
- Gloves With a Purpose – Gloves were only worn by men when hunting, riding, or driving. Depending on the type of glove worn, gloves have technically always been in style until recent years. The length of the glove was influenced by the style of fashion that was in vogue.
- Nineteenth-Century – Men went back to wearing gloves for reasons other than participating in sports. Both men and women wore pale leather gloves or white silk and cotton. Certain styles were designed for nighttime attire, while different gloves were to be worn during the daytime. At the end of the century, wrist-length gloves that fastened with buttons came into fashion. Glove etiquette was once again was put into practice. It was seen as rude or uncivilized to appear at public engagements without gloves being worn.
- Twentieth Century – The twentieth century saw a decline in glove-wearing as it became less fashionable and socially irrelevant. Gloves became less about fashion and more about comfort and warmth. During WWII, clothing was rationed, and fashion gloves became an unnecessary luxury.
Fast forward to the 1950s, and gloves made a comeback. To appear glamourous, women would wear a pair of long white gloves. The look was later made famous by Audrey Hepburn in the film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”
It wasn’t much later that women began wearing gloves in other colors to match their outfits. Jackie Kennedy was another woman who influenced the decade by wearing stylish gloves. However, the trend was short-lived, and by the 1970s, gloves lost their allure once again.
Gloves in the 1970s were generally only in style for men. The trend included:
- Leather driving gloves
- Mesh driving gloves
- Golfing gloves
- Riding gloves in leather
- Riding gloves in suede
- Riding gloves in tweed
- Riding gloves in wool
The 1980s saw the introduction of Madonna. She was very controversial in her choice of fashion. Part of that was her black lace fingerless gloves, and many young women copied this look. Sophisticated or wealthy women also wore mesh and satin gloves. The style had a 1950’s appearance.
At the beginning of the 1990s and early 2000s, there was an interest in tactical or military-style gloves, which provided a higher dexterity and shock resistance than typical gloves. Now gloves are worn more for warmth and comfort rather than fashion. However, gloves can still be seen on the fashion runway.
What Kinds of Gloves are There for Women?
The original purpose of gloves was to keep the hands warm. Glove use began as a necessity and evolved into a fashion statement. The following are the kinds of gloves there are for women:
- Evening gloves – Ladies’ evening gloves are formal. There are three kinds of evening gloves, including wrist, elbow, and full length.
- Leather gloves – These are often worn with a leather jacket and leather pants
- Wool gloves – The perfect addition to your winter wardrobe. They look great with a pair of Uggs.
- Gym gloves – These protect your hands from equipment and sweaty items in the gym
- Fingerless gloves – The ultimate retro wear. This style can also be used for its original purpose: keeping your hands warm while your fingers are free to do an activity.
- Driving gloves – They prevent sweat and oil from accumulating on the steering wheel, which makes it easier to drive
- Christmas mittens – These pair well with your favorite fluffy sweater. They are typically comprised of Christmas colors.
- Lace gloves – These are also very retro. You can make a pair of black lace gloves look classy with the perfect little black dress.
- Touch screen gloves – These make it easier to use your phone while keeping your hands warm
- Fur gloves – They generally only have fur on the wrist of the glove. They look chic.
There are many different gloves. You do not often see gloves worn other than in the winter, but there are gloves for every occasion.
What Kind of Outfits do I Wear with Gloves?
Long gloves look lovely when paired with an elegant ball gown. They look incredibly gorgeous with an off-the-shoulder dress. If you aim to be a bit more subtle, try a nice pair of wrist gloves like the kind Jackie Kennedy would wear. Ball gowns look great with gloves that match the color of the dress. The material of the gloves and the dress should also be the same.
Pair a black pencil skirt with a cropped sweater and knee-high boots with short wrist gloves. They could be any texture or color as long as they match the skirt. Wrist gloves look better with a shorter skirt because the look needs to be balanced. Make sure the sweater stops at the waist. The look is playful and sophisticated all at once.
Wear a pair of trousers with a nice cashmere turtleneck sweater and a pair of wrist gloves. This is an excellent twist on a very traditional look. You can wear black leather gloves with your outfit, or you can wear a pair of gloves to match your trousers. Dark colors tend to look better with this look. You can also match your shoes and gloves. Dress boots would look the best.
Ugg Boots and Oversized Sweater
Christmas mittens or wool mittens go perfectly with Ugg boots and an oversized sweater. This fashion statement is the quintessential look of the winter season. It is the unspoken uniform of college kids who want to be cozy and warm, and you can wear this with long stretch pants. They look best with oversized sweaters, Ugg boots, and matching mittens.
For centuries, gloves have gone in and out of style. They have been made of different materials, and they come in a variety of colors.
Many gloves have been worn and made fashionable by some famous people. What once started as a way to keep hands warm grew into a bonafide fashion statement.