The Glamor of Gloves on Easter

The Glamour of Gloves on Easter

Phyllis Lifestyle 33 Comments

As we start moving toward Easter, I reminisce about those special days from my childhood. The Easter season and Easter Sunday has always been important to me and my family. Some of my favorite childhood memories were at Eastertime. Mom always made my dress and my sister’s dress. Careful planning went into the entire outfit, not just the dress. Now, I find myself doing the same thing for my granddaughter and planning and making her outfit is something very special to me.

Our outfits always included white gloves for church. First and foremost, they covered up the stained fingers from dying eggs days before. But also, they just put a finishing touch on the outfit. I still have a few pairs that I love to pull out for special occasions. A beautiful leather or silk pair lends a special type of elegance to the wearer. Donning a pair of gloves makes me feel as glamorous as the Old Hollywood actresses I admire.

I asked Emma Reeves, our talented intern, to do a little research on gloves and she uncovered some wonderful information that I know you will enjoy.

The Glamour of Gloves by Emma Reeves

I’ve always admired the beauty and femininity of gloves, but I never knew where the trend originated until recently. They have been in existence since the Middle Ages, where they were used in various ceremonies. They were also given by a young lady to her suitor, pledged as a binding agreement, or thrown down as a challenge.

Gloves were especially popular with royalty. Queen Elizabeth I had more than 2,000 pairs in her personal collection. At weddings, gloves were often given as keepsakes to guests. The heyday for gloves in the United States came in the 1950s, especially through the influence of Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn. Various colors and patterns of gloves were suitable for everyday wear, but white gloves became primarily associated with formal occasions.

Many young girls wore white gloves to church, but there were other specific occasions for which they were appropriate. A brochure from Paris Gloves states that they should also be worn to luncheons, dances, weddings, theaters, restaurants, and formal occasions. However, a lady was cautioned to be careful to remove her accessory before eating, drinking, smoking, playing cards, or putting on makeup.

Do you have a special pair of gloves?

Comments 33

  1. I’ve enjoyed reading these posts–filled with happy memories! I have a box full of leather gloves in varying lengths which I bought at street kiosks in Florence, Italy, the first time I traveled to Europe in 1969. Supple soft leather in red, yellow, taupe, black, and navy. I recall a gorgeous gray and white sleeveless dress with a matching gray three-quarter length coat that I thought stunning, especially with shoes, bag, and gloves which I’d selected in Italy.

    If you are a Downton Abbey fan, you noticed that the women always wore gloves! The long evening gloves were lovely! While watching the special on manners at Downton , Mary commented about Edythe not wearing gloves when she met one of her beaus–and that was scandalous because it was as if she were naked! Edythe was sending a message to that young man!

    We probably can recall in movies instances of a woman “accidentally” dropping a glove–or a handkerchief (as in the fifth episode of Victoria) as a symbol to a suitor.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. I love and still wear gloves. I have many pairs but my favorite gloves will always be the long black ones that were my maternal grandmother’s. Wearing them brings back so many happy memories of time spent with her.

  3. Recently I was thinking about gloves, especially since Inauguration Day when our First Lady wore her beautiful gloves. I was thinking of how they really did complete her outfit!
    I have the gloves that my great-aunt gave me when I was in high-school. I recently found them when I was going to a tea!
    As I’ve been thinking, I was wondering what the etiquette was for dress gloves, such as Easter? When should you have them on, and when would you take them off? If you are going into a restaurant is it proper to take them off as soon as you enter, or wait until your food is served to take them off? I would appreciate more articles on gloves!!
    Thank you so much for a wonderful magazine!

  4. I always wear gloves when I go out. At Easter I always had gloves to go with my outfit. I still have my entire First Holy Communion and Confirmation outfits,dresses,gloves ,pocketbook and veil. I have a pair of gloves that are cream in color with shamrocks on them. As you can guess I am wearing them whenever I go out. There is a scarf and hat to match,too. Gloves seem o add the perfect touch to any outfit. Thank you for sharing this post. I enjoyed it tremendously.

  5. It is good to hear from so many ladies about their memories of gloves. Yes, as a little girl in the thirties I had a white pair for sunday school. In the forties while in high school I was fortunate to buy a pair at dear old Parisian in downtown Birmingham. The owner, Mr Emil Hess, was behind the glove counter as a box of cotton string gloves arrived. It was a delight to buy a from his hands a white pair which had tiny
    silk rosettes at the inside of each wrist.
    Occasionally I dream of those “dressed up” days we all loved and put on my precious string gloves, find a flowered silk fan and recall those more gracious times.
    Decades later when a granddaughter was to be married in Boston she requested that I come in full Southern regalia. What a joy to please her at parties and the wedding reception by wearing rose laden hats, gloves, antique lace purses and a fan for each event. Strangers walked across the large lawn at the garden reception to meet the Granny from Alabama and get a better look at my long, peach colored, tissue linen dress and my accessories.

    1. What a wonderful compliment to you. Occasionally we are blessed to see a real old fashioned wedding, even outdoors, with vintage clothes and vintage everything../hats. gloves, bouquets. It certainly brings a gentleness, refinement, and pure pleasure to all attending!
      Sometimes just the sight of a bride in her mothers or grandmothers wedding dress
      is refreshingly nostalgic. For a while, it was popular to wear the veil of your mother or grandmother. One of my sisters wore our mothers long, trailing veil and then used part of it in her daughters wedding veil.
      Every Easter, someone will post a pic on Facebook of little girls with hats, gloves, shoes etc.
      from those days. I have saved one of those hats and gloves for each of my girls!

    2. What a wonderful compliment to you. Occasionally we are blessed to see a real old fashioned wedding, even outdoors, with vintage clothes and vintage everything../hats. gloves, bouquets. It certainly brings a gentleness, refinement, and pure pleasure to all attending!
      Sometimes just the sight of a bride in her mothers or grandmothers wedding dress
      is refreshingly nostalgic. For a while, it was popular to wear the veil of your mother or grandmother. One of my sisters wore our mothers long, trailing veil and then used part of it in her daughters wedding veil.
      Every Easter, someone will post a pic on Facebook of little girls with hats, gloves, shoes etc.
      from those days. I have saved one of those hats and gloves for each of my girls!
      Some of us still wear gloves with our hats to,our Red Hat monthly dinners!

  6. These comments remind me of a lovely lady in the small town from which I came. Mrs. Windhorst could be seen everyday walking to the post office, market, or wherever with her basket on her arm wearing a hat & gloves. She delivered mail & other items to those who were shut ins.
    I too miss the days when people cared about their appearance & weren’t quite so casual all the time.

  7. I too, love the look of dress gloves from the 40’s and 50’s.
    My mother is gone now but, we used to go ballroom dancing together. She was in her late 80’s but looked like she was 65 and I am in my 50’s.

    I always wore dress gloves and seamed stockings (vintage bought at antique shops) the women thought it looked polished and the men thought it looked elegant. Except for my boyfriend who didn’t like the gloves because he said he could’nt feel my hands. Funny, he didn’t seem to have a problem with the stockings! As a matter of fact, that is what I like about them, they feel so silky. Pantyhose feel so rough.
    Oh to be able to go back. Just for one more night!

  8. I have my white gloves that I wore for my first Holy Communion. When I go out I wear gloves to match my coat. Easter always was a time for a new outfit. One year it might be a dress and coat or a suit with a topper. Of course accessories too. A hat,gloves ,pocketbook and shoes. I still enjoy dressing up.

  9. My grandmother would never leave her house without wearing her white gloves. She lived with us the last year of her life. When her heart was failing and an ambulance came to take her to the hospital, she refused to leave until my mother helped her put on her white gloves. She left our home in dignity.

  10. This post is a treasure to me. I always wore gloves(white and numerous colors) to match my coat. Even as a child I cherished dressing up. There are pictures of me posing in my outfits. I have many clothes that I have kept over the years.

  11. I, too, remember our preparation for Easter Sunday.
    Mother always made her dress and mine in harmonizing style and color. We certainly would not have been witout our gloves! Daddy often got a new suit or sport coat at Easter and his shirt and tie were also chosen with care. We were a spiffy threesome!
    Does anyone remember the glove clasp that attached to a ladies’ purse? I still have Mother’s with her satin glove box containing a few pair of her favorites.
    Thank you ladies for evoking such treasured memories!

    1. LOL! I so appreciate how we all feel the same way. afa, I too have the glove/purse clasp, but don’t remember if it was Mom’s or if she bought it for me.

  12. I remember Mom getting me my white patent leather Mary Jane shoes with white lace socks. Plus I had my brand new purse!

    Such nice memories!

  13. I soooo remember ADMIRING gloves on everyone back in the 50’s….I loved joining in with MY own pair. I still have my gloves from my long ago festivities….Easter, Proms, Weddings……some are lace, some are cotton, and my treasured pair are a white “leather” pair from my 1967 wedding….
    Ahhhh, your story evoked such wonderful memories !!
    As always thank you so much.

  14. My girl friend and I always wore our gloves not only to church on Sunday but to go shopping in Boston in the 1990s. We also always wore a hat. Always loved wearing my beautiful hats. Spring hats came out in February so exciting.

  15. I love hats and gloves, though I don’t have a pair of white gloves. I can’t distinctly remember if I wore gloves growing up. I may have. Memory is bad! 🙂 But I do have three dress hats, two black and one white. I wish the fashions would change back and people would be more careful of what they wear and how they look. Some people dress well, but so many people wear such casual clothes they look frumpy. It’s like they don’t care how they look. Bring me back to the late 1800s and early 1900s, please! 🙂

  16. I, too, remember wearing gloves on Easter or to formal banquets. I treasure the memories and pictures. One of my favorite pictures taken of my mother and me together is her glove adorned hand adjusting my veil on my wedding day. Precious memories. I can still see in my mind’s eye the hand of Lady Diana waving to a crowd, and the hats and gloves of Jackie Kennedy closely copied by fashionistas. Who will be able to soon forget the beautiful powder blue gloves that matched the gorgeous ensemble worn by our new First Lady on her husband’s Inauguration Day? I, for one, will not. In the days of such casual attire, I enjoyed this reminder of more genteel days. Thank you.

  17. My sister and I always wore dresses my mother made. At Easter time we looked forward to what mother would Dream up for the dresses she would make, the shoes, hats and groves she chose and the flowers we wore! All five things were put together with much thought and care. I remember how special I felt all decked out in my finery.

  18. I have two evening bags that belonged to my mother. One silver and one gold. Contained in each purse is a pair of matching gloves. They are stretchable and just barely fit me. Lovely.

  19. I love wearing gloves and even though in California…. cool evenings here on the coast gloves are nice! I I especially like velvet or leather.

    I think I’ll buy a pair of white ones for Easter!! Maybe we can bring back the Spring tradition!!

    Thanks, as always Phyllis (and ladies on this delightful blog), for bringing back fun Easter memories!!

  20. I still have my over the elbow white gloves that I wore with my lodge dress. I still love to wear gloves when I have an occasion. I also have mittens mt greatgrandmother knit for me seventy seven years ago.

  21. You asked about special gloves. Imagines of my mother’s hands gently washing her beloved already immaculate snow white gloves come to my mind. She had hand crocheted them, and loved wearing them for church or for special events. She felt a lady should always wear a hat, preferably with a full petaled rose , nested in a demure veil, and gloves for various events, and one was not considered fully dressed without them along a purse held close to one’s body. Below her waist, seamed nylon stockings completed her attire.

    Yes, I do remember her gloves…

    1. Edna, I guess we’re all telling our age…when we remember things such a seamed stockings, worn with a garter belt or girdle! Women today don’t even wear pantyhose.!!

      1. I am only 62, but I hate the trend of women not wearing stockings, tights or panty hose with closed toed shoes. I also hate that flip flops are worn absolutely everywhere!

  22. How lovely! Maybe we should all start wearing them again for special occasions and we could start a new/old trend!

  23. I love gloves and wish they’d come back into fashion. Watching movies from the 30’s, 40’s & 50’s, not only were all the women wearing gloves when they went out, the gloves always matched the outfit perfectly. I don’t have any ‘dress’ gloves but I make sure that my winter gloves match if not my outfit, at least my coat & shoes.

  24. I love gloves! When I was a child, Mom, my sister and I wore white gloves to church every Sunday. When I was in high school I had a pair of sheer pink gloves with white flowers embroidered on them, so beautiful. Later in high school I had a pair of longer (below elbow) white gloves with pearls sewn on them, with a tiny pucker of fabric at each pearl. I always wanted a pair of above the elbow length, but have never had a formal enough occasion to warrant them. My most treasured “gloves” aren’t gloves, but a pair of mittens my Grandmother knitted for me when I was about 14. She was born in 1881. The mittens are now about 60 years old and very cherished.

  25. I have always had a fascination with gloves and always wore them as soon as fall sets in.
    I have gloves in every color to match different outfits. I’m a matchy matchy person my husband says…None of my friends over the years except one also wore gloves and I remember she gave me a pair of red leather gloves for Christmas years ago and of course I built a special outfit around those gloves. I wore a pair of white gloves to a retired friends Tea Party at her church one spring and had many compliments from her friends. It brought back memories to them. I wish the fashion industry would bring back a simple old tradition, fashion gloves! Love them…California Carmel

  26. I love gloves, although I don’t really wear them, I do have a few that are “on display” here at home. Some of the most delicate, antique gloves I’ve sold were so tiny, they would most likely not even fit a child today.

    I have never actually seen these, but at one time, ladies wore gloves overnight made of chicken skin {eek} so thin, they could be folded up into a small walnut shell for safe keeping. The history of gloves is so enthralling, thank you for sharing a little bit here!

  27. I remember those days so well…my mom always wore gloves. I specifically remember my white gloves that I wore at Easter time, with my sailor like outfit,and the ones I wore for my first communion. Sadly, i don’t have those anymore, but I have saved my grandmother’s pale pink gloves…they have tiny little pearls on them. Those gloves and her floral parasol take me back to much gentler times.

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