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Gloves

Gloves

Some form of gloves, garments that cover the hands by encasing each finger in fabric or leather, have been worn for protection and warmth for thousands of years. However, their use as a fashion accessory took hold during the 1500s when famous women, such as Elizabeth I (15331603) of England, began wearing elbow-length gloves as a part of formal clothing. Gloves continued to gain popularity, and by the 1800s they had become an important part of the everyday wardrobe for both women and men.

Napoleon Bonaparte (17691821) and his wife Josephine (17631814), the Emperor and Empress of France, introduced the nineteenth-century fashion of wearing gloves. In 1806, the emperor was said to own 240 pairs of gloves, and his wife, who did not think her hands were attractive, wore gloves for every social occasion. Dress styles during that time had short, puffed sleeves, and women, following Empress Josephine's example, covered their bare arms with long gloves that reached almost to the shoulder. Gloves were usually white or ivory-colored and made of silk, lace, or kid, leather made from the skin of baby goats. They often had many buttons to help them fit around the arm and wrist.

As the century progressed, styles grew more modest. Dress sleeves became longer, and gloves, still considered a necessity for well-dressed women, became shorter. Women of the mid- to late 1800s wore wrist-length gloves during the day, even indoors. Since evening dress sleeves were often shorter, longer gloves were worn to cover the arms modestly. It was considered almost indecent for a lady to put on or remove her gloves in public.

Gloves were an important accessory for nineteenth-century men as well, and were worn at every social occasion. The well-dressed man of the late 1800s never removed his gloves, whether dancing at a ball or relaxing at home.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Bigelow, Marybelle S. Fashion in History: Western Dress, Prehistoric to Present. Minneapolis, MN: Burgess Publishing, 1970.

Yarwood, Doreen. Fashion in the Western World: 15001900. New York: Drama Book Publishers, 1992.

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"Gloves." Fashion, Costume, and Culture: Clothing, Headwear, Body Decorations, and Footwear through the Ages. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Gloves." Fashion, Costume, and Culture: Clothing, Headwear, Body Decorations, and Footwear through the Ages. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 27, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/fashion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/gloves-0

"Gloves." Fashion, Costume, and Culture: Clothing, Headwear, Body Decorations, and Footwear through the Ages. . Retrieved April 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/fashion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/gloves-0

Gloves

Gloves

Gloves as a fashion accessory, rather than as a necessity to keep the hands warm, date to about the twelfth or thirteenth century, late in the Middle Ages (c. 500-c. 1500). For years people had worn crude mittens, perhaps lined with fur, when working outdoors, but sewing techniques were not developed enough to allow for the delicate stitches that were needed between fingers. In fact, most people kept the hands warm by wrapping them in the excess fabric of their baggy sleeves. Beginning in the Middle Ages, however, advances in tailoring made gloves a desirable fashion accessory.

The first people to wear gloves in medieval Europe were members of royalty and dignitaries in the Roman Catholic Church, the dominant church in Europe. For church dignitaries, or notable figures, gloves were a symbol of purity. Rich people wore gloves for such aristocratic pursuits as falconry, which involved training falcons to land on one's hand. Early gloves were made from deerskin or sheepskin. By the time of the Renaissance in the fifteenth century, gloves were so popular that whole communities were known for their glove making. Since then, gloves have been worn for warmth and with fancy attire throughout the remainder of Western history.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Payne, Blanche, Geitel Winakor, and Jane Farrell-Beck. The History of Costume. 2nd ed. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.

Yarwood, Doreen. The Encyclopedia of World Costume. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1978.

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"Gloves." Fashion, Costume, and Culture: Clothing, Headwear, Body Decorations, and Footwear through the Ages. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Gloves." Fashion, Costume, and Culture: Clothing, Headwear, Body Decorations, and Footwear through the Ages. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 27, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/fashion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/gloves

"Gloves." Fashion, Costume, and Culture: Clothing, Headwear, Body Decorations, and Footwear through the Ages. . Retrieved April 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/fashion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/gloves