Saturday, December 05, 2020

Idle thoughts

For the last several days my mind has continued to drift towards - gloves. Leather gloves. Fine leather gloves.

It's been decades since I owned  a pair of fine leather gloves. Back in the day fine leather gloves were what I wore. I bought them in fine stores like Saks 5th Avenue or even at the fancy glove counter in Macy's where all the goods were kept in glass cases and could only be accessed by Macy's fine sales clerks - you know the ones. Or maybe you don't if you had never shopped in Macy's New York where the sales clerks are taught how to ignore you. It's Macy's folks, not Saks 5th Avenue where one expects to be ignored if one is not wearing mink and dripping diamonds.

I have gloves in a bottom drawer with all kinds of assorted Winter wear, which I don't...wear. The gloves are a variety of one-size fits all stretchy gloves and cheap leather and knit S/M/L size gloves, probably bought at Target. 

Fine gloves come in specific sizes. If you didn't know your size the sales clerk would measure your hand - the width of your palm at its widest and from the tip of your middle finger to the base of your hand. Often only the palm width was used. Sizes started at 5 and increased by halves, my glove size was 7.5. But fine leather gloves also came in narrow, regular and wide. What I always found odd was that very, very often your glove size was equal to your shoe size. 

Gloves came in lengths - measured by buttons way back when, and as I remember, described by how far up your arm the gloves went - cuff length, bracelet length, elbow and opera length. I found a little graphic - 

There is/was a whole etiquette to gloves - really fascinating I suppose, if your mind wanders to esoteric fashion history. I would add links to various web sites that recount the history of gloves, their uses and meaning but I know you are really not all that interested. I scanned through a few and some of it is quite interesting, right up to today when it seems opera gloves are making a fashion comeback. Oh, here's a link to a very short history of gloves.

The thing is - I have no idea what prompted my thinking about gloves, or why the thoughts and images kept recurring over several days - so much so that here I am writing about it.

Perhaps because I have more important things I should be thinking about, I chose to spend my mental energy remembering when gloves were a thing...


  1. That's a fine thing to be thinking of! Much better than some possibilities.

  2. I wonder how many gazillion pairs fo gloves Queen Elizabeth has worn throughout her lifetime.

    1. Yes, there are still people and places where glove etiquette is alive and well. I remember it from when I was a kid in the 1950's -

  3. Oh how when I was a kid I loved gloves.We had white gloves for church and mine had little pleats in the top. I then got ones with small pearls. fake of course but I was 8 and I loved the. What I used to call as a kid the "fancy ones" those that went above my moms elbows for a beautiful LBD over the holidays. I would play with her gloves at her dressing table. I once went to the best store in town at the time The Boston Store and watched her buy beautiful leather clothes with a bit of fur around the wrist. When she died I tried to wear them but instead of making me happy they made me sad so they were packed away to donate to some lucky person who could use a fine pair of leather gloves. Wow thanks for that memory flash back Grace!

    1. I don't think I had proper fine leather gloves until I was in my late teens, working and bought them myself. As a kid I had plain old white cloth gloves for going to church and other fancy occasions. But my mother had quite a collection of fine leather gloves and she kept them in individual glove boxes (unusual for her because she was what my father called "a messy bessy".) And indeed there was a pair of white opera length gloves to go with her velvet evening coat. I did love the ritual of putting on those gloves - fascinating to watch the care and precision of getting them on, up and smoothed out.


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