A lady never takes off her gloves

Black leather gloves, etichette and Audrey HepburnIn today’s world filled with electrical gadgets & apps that do just about everything, online communication and about a zillion other things that make life seem so streamlined and fast, it’s easy to forget about the fashion etiquette niceties that once ruled a persons social life.

If you are like me, you love to watch those films of yesteryear with Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire – or Audrey Hepburn and then daydream about the elegance and sophisticated chic that they seemed to have so naturally.  They would come on the screen with a pair of kid leather gloves, perfectly matched with their outfit in tint or perhaps they would be wearing a pair of opera gloves reaching above their elbows. (sigh)

When you think of cold weather and gloves, an image of a practical cashmere or wool lined leather glove comes to mind.  FACT:  Gloves exist to protect your hand from the elements, keep them warm in sub zero temps … but hardly anyone thinks of the rules of etiquette that governed a lady until fairly recently.

But did you know that there was a time when it was a FACT:  that a lady a lady never takes off her gloves to shake hands.  There was an entire set of etiquette rules that governed the wearing of gloves.  I guess twitter messaging etiquette has superseded the etiquette on gloves….the difference being that  gloves would actually come with instructions and etiquette rules where as for text messaging and Twitter you have figure it out on your own.

palm vent on Italian leather gloves with cashmere lining

Palm vent on Italian leather gloves with cashmere lining

Today’s selection of Italian leather gloves from Pierotucci range from classic with side or palm vents for the perfect fit. The vents on a glove allow the glove to be fitted along the fingers, the knuckles and the wrist while permitting the large part of the hand to slip through the opening.

Opera gloves have what is called a mousquetaire, a little button on the inside of the wrist which allowed one to take the fingers out of the glove without having to take the entire glove off – which was considered to by ungraceful, definitely not something to do in public.  However this opening also served the same purpose as the vent on the smaller gloves, it permitted glove to fit the contour of the arm and hand by allowing for a larger opening to slip the hand into the fingers at the narrowest part of the glove.

Suede gloves with back vent

Suede gloves with back ventS

The back of the glove, contrary to the way it sounds, is considered the part of the glove that is shown to the public. And it is here that most designers will put something decorative, like points or top stitching.

Vents are normally not found on the back of the glove. It is more common to find the vents on the side or the palm of the glove, where they are hidden from view.  Vents are not a necessary part of a glove, especially if the glove has a a full elastic wrist or a cuff which flairs around the wrist.  In both cases, the opening will accommodate the hand to slide in without stressing the leather around the opening.

A creative solution to the vent is to incorporate the design around the vent like in the image you see below.  The designer used a contrasting nappa lambskin to create a vent on the back of the glove.

Ladies nappa lambskin leather glove from Florence Italy

Vent incorporated in leather on the back.


About Pierotucci

Since 1972 Pierotucci has been designing and producing classic Italian Leather goods for men & women, including leather bags, leather handbags and purses, leather jackets and leather accessories such as wallets, gloves, belts and much more.
This entry was posted in Florence and its artisans, Leather Accessories, The perfect Italian gift and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to A lady never takes off her gloves

  1. The word is “etiquette”. It’s French, from the courts of Louis XIV, Louis XV, etc. The word you used does not exist.

  2. Ah, I see now where your spelling came from… etiquette in Italian is etichetta. Are you in Italy writing in English? I wish we were more formal, I would like to wear gloves (especially above the elbow opera gloves) more often.

    • Pierotucci says:

      I am not writing in Italian – but after living here for 21 years I have to say my English has suffered a tiny bit :-). I agree totally with the idea of wearing gloves more frequently and though I don’t have a pair of the opera gloves – I have splurged on a 4 button pair with a rabbit fur lining. They are wonderful!

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