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The History of Gloves in Fashion

by Enticio Handwear on
The History of Gloves in Fashion

Throughout history, gloves have created fashion statements. They have been used to symbolize status and tradition. Also, they have come to be practical accessories that keep hands warm, keep people safe in the health industry, and prevent fingerprints from dirtying surfaces. It is quite interesting to take a look back to where fashion gloves all started.

Middle Ages to 16th Century

Gloves have roots way back to the times of the ancient Greeks. Homer's "The Odyssey" referred to a woman who wore these items while walking through a garden. It wasn't until the 13th century that these pieces became used for fashion. Many believe that Paris was the first place to introduce extremely fancy items that were made from animal fur and skins. By the 16th century, this handwear reached the forefront of interest. Thanks to England's Queen Elizabeth I and her jeweled glove sets, audiences were drawn to her stately hands. These items became part of the "uniform" for royalty and pontifical figures.

Victorian Lady Wearing Gloves - History of Gloves in Fashion

Victorian Times

Handwear became extremely popular in the Victoria era. This fashion statement was a way to display social status. Wealthy women wore a glove on each hand to keep everything covered and to show that they were rich enough to have other people do hard labor for them. Throughout this time, women wore these accessories in public at all times, especially to formal events. Conforming to etiquette rules, women removed these accessories before eating and returned them to their hands immediately following a meal. Besides modesty and holding up social standing, women used these accessories to help avoid serious illnesses. During the 1880s, numerous diseases existed that made many individuals gravely sick.

Lady Wearing Gloves - History of Gloves in Fashion

20th Century

As the 1900s began, these accessories continued to play an important role in fashion. During the Edwardian era, women wore items that were made from leather, which extended to the elbows. At night, they displayed items of fine silk or suede.

By the 1920s, the Roaring Twenties ushered in a style that included dainty materials that matched women's outfits. At this time, these accessories made stylish statements. Each pair was filled with embroidery and fancy embellishments. The "Gauntlet" was a new glove that featured a cuff at the wrist.

As World War II began, use of these accessories began to fade. After the war ended, Jackie Kennedy brought them back into fashion as she was always seen with them during her public appearances. Around the same time, Marilyn Monroe glamorized these accessories in her movie "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes." One of the most iconic moments in film history was her singing "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" while wearing a pink opera-length glove on each arm and a diamond bracelet around each wrist.

By the end of the 1980s, handwear was used as costumes, especially in the music industry. Madonna was often seen wearing a lace glove on each hand. And who can forget Michael Jackson's iconic single glove; this was a major part of his signature look.

Modern Day Accessories

Today, fashion gloves are seeing a resurgence. Before his death, noted designer Karl Lagerfeld was rarely seen without wearing these accessories in black leather. Although most people choose not to cover their hands to make fashion statements, certain circumstances make them sensible. Some brides use these accessories, especially with sleeveless gowns. Current runways are seeing more of these accessories as well. Gigi Hadid was one famous celebrity who wore them at a recent public event. She displayed an off-white moto design.

Thanks to current technology, there has been an increased need for these accessories as functional pieces. For instance, graphic artists and individuals who frequently use tablets utilize these items to prevent smudges or to provide a more consistent level of friction while drawing on digital devices. At Enticio, we offer a wide selection of unique handwear that combines the best of function, fashion and style. And considering the history of gloves, it is easy to see how they have always fit into modern society and that there has never been a better time for Enticio handwear.

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