Fashion Diva Fun: Gloves

The following post about gloves was written by Bay Village Historical Society member and volunteer Marie Albano, who has been a tremendous help to the museum in her knowledge and interest in historical clothing.

We have more fashion on display at the Rose Hill Museum, with an emphasis on the 1920s. The museum is open on Sundays in April through December from 2:00pm to 4:30pm and admission is free.

Also open is the Osborn Learning Center which now showcases exhibits ranging from Eliot Ness and the “Untouchables” to the Sheppard murder case. It also houses various research materials from our archives for visitors.

Fashion Diva Fun: Gloves

The word “glove” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “glof” meaning palm. The term of measurement of a glove is the word button. It starts at the base of the thumb and is equal to one French inch. A French inch is slightly larger than an American inch. Therefore, a one button glove is wrist length. Whereas a four to six button glove is half-way to the elbow. A formal length is a sixteen-button glove (this is measurement, not how many buttons are on the glove).

As an accessory to dress, royalty had them ornamented with pearls and precious stones. Many of these are in museums today.

Mitts, sometimes referred to as mittens, are characteristically a Victorian accessory. Fingerless gloves were fashionable in the 1830-40’s for day and evening. Short for the day and long for the evening. They tended to go in and out of fashion until the late 1880’s. In the 1900’s they often accessorized wedding ensembles.

Throughout the Victorian and Edwardian periods, gloves were the symbol of gentility. The social status of a lady or a gentleman could be determined by the quality of their gloves.

For men’s working gloves in the late 1800’s there were 140 separate glove factories in Gloversville, New York which manufactured 2/3 of men’s working gloves in the United States. The annual production was $20,000,000 from this one town.

1996.C.241 Two black lace fingerless gloves in an open pattern of netting with pattern in rows.  Glove has a dot design in a triangular pattern near the fingers and diagonal lines near the top.

1999.P.04.047 Two young women wear fingerless gloves.

2020.C.FIC.348 Leather classic gloves with a 3 1/4″ opening. There are four brass studs on the sides of the opening and two eyelets at the top. A cord is through each to pull them tighter.

2018.P.03.03.21 Edna Wuebker wears white gloves, early 1900s

2002.C.18K Rust colored, cloth, classic length gloves. Triangular shape cut from the front middle hem has plastic inset with the same inset repeated on the thumb. Beige hand sewn top stitching outlining the fingers on the front side, base thumb area, bottom hem and triangular detail. Bottom outer edge protrudes 5/8″ in a half-circle design.

1998.C.29 Long white leather gloves with three pearl buttons where there is a slit at the wrist, circa 1890s.

1996.P.019 Margaret Fairley Wright Glendenning wears long white gloves.

After the 1970’s gloves diminished as a fashion accessory, but a gloved hand can be mysterious and alluring as well.

More fashion fun to come,

Dr. Marie A. Albano, D.D.S.

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