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Abigail Grotke
Silver Spring, MD
email: missabigail at missabigail dot com
twitter: @DearMissAbigail

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Miss Abigail has a collection of over 1,000 classic advice books, spanning from 1822 to 1978 and covering a variety of topics, from love and romance to etiquette and charm. The collection sparked the idea for this site, then a book, Miss Abigail's Guide to Dating, Mating, and Marriage, which has inspired an off-broadway production of the same name!

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Glove Etiquette

an integral part of your costumeQ Dear Miss Abigail:

I’ve heard that dressy gloves are really in at the present. Since I’ve never had occasion to wear them, I’d like to know if they’re taken off for dinner, and where the proper place to lay them would be?

Signed,
Ms. Jordan

A Dear Ms. Jordan:

Betcha didn’t think that I’d have a booklet all about gloves! But I do. Gloves: Fashion and Etiquette was published by the Hansen Glove Corporation (and written by Edith Heal) in 1961. I don’t see anything about the placement of your gloves at dinner, but hopefully these general guidelines will help you make some wise decisions about wearing gloves at any occasion.

1961: Glove Etiquette and the Times

Etiquette is always a reflection of the times. Today, it is natural to find rules of conduct relaxing in tune with more casual living. In our democratic society there are fewer differences in social status, fewer occasions to pay homage to superiors. We have only to look at certain rules of glove etiquette that belong to the past to see how manners ape the structure of the society of the times.

. . . in that early Age of Queens, a lady-in-waiting was expected to remove her gloves in the presence of the Queen, and in turn, she expected those in lower positions than her own to remove their gloves in her presence.

. . . gone also the lore of superstitions and meanings so closely associated with etiquette. At one time a slap of the glove was an insult, a glove tossed at the foot of an enemy a challenge, and the man who wished to pay homage did so by offering his glove on bended knee.

But even in our streamlined society, there is plenty of evidence that tradition has strongly influenced the etiquette of wearing gloves.

20th Century Glove Etiquette

Definite Don’ts
Don’t ever appear in public without gloves.
Don’t eat, drink, or smoke with gloves on.
Don’t play cards with gloves on.
Don’t apply makeup with gloves on.
Don’t wear jewelry over gloves, with the exception of bracelets.
Don’t make a habit of carrying your gloves ~ they should be considered an integral part of your costume.
Don’t wear short gloves to a very gala ball, court presentation or ‘White Tie’ affair at the White House or in honor of a celebrity.

Definite Do’s
Do wear gloves when you go shopping, visiting, driving; and for outdoor festivities such as garden parties, receptions.
Do wear gloves as a mark of respect in a place of worship.
Do wear gloves for formal indoor occasions: receptions, balls, and on arrival at a luncheon or dinner party.
Do keep gloves on in a receiving line.
Do keep gloves on while dancing at a formal party.
Do keep gloves on at a cocktail party until the drinks and hors d’oeuvres are passed. Then turn gloves back at the wrist or remove one glove.
Do remove gloves entirely at the dining table.
Do remove gloves after your arrival at an informal party or luncheon, leaving them with your coat. 

Source: Heal, Edith. Gloves: Fashion and Etiquette. New York: Hansen Glove Corporation, 1961.
~ pp. 20-21 ~

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