Who is Miss Abigail?

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!


Posts Tagged ‘gloves’

Glove Personalities (1961)

Saturday, March 24th, 2012

One of my more popular posts on this site has been one I did many years ago on glove etiquette. I recently (re)found in my piles of smaller thinner books the pamphlet that this came from, and thought it would be fun to share another excerpt. Gloves: Fashion & Etiquette was published in 1961 by the Hansen Glove Corporation.

I can just imagine the personalities of some of the gloves that they manufactured!

"…sometimes it’s the way a glove falls into folds that says ‘elegance’

…sometimes the very opposite creates the effect ~ a short snappy jauntiness like the flip of the wrist

…sometimes it’s what a glove is made of that suggests its role: narrow-wale corduroy to point up fashionable tweeds or country-life leathers; doeskin in pale colours with the look of thick Devonshire cream for pure luxury; jersey for a sophisticated teaming with coats or suits with bracelet sleeves; string gloves in colours or combined with leather for a made-to-order air; a polka-dot cotton for a smart young thing; a hand-embroadered floral, frankly feminine

…it may be the season of the year or the time of day that is immediately associated with the picture of the glove you were wearing on that very important occasion

…and because gloves do have personalities of their own, many women make a certain kind of glove a fashion signature … a fashion editor who keeps several pairs of pale chamois gloves in her desk drawer so that she always seems to be wearing a fresh pair … the best-dressed woman who wears nothing but white kid … the collector of handsome accessories whose glove plan spotlights fabric gloves because they offer such a variety of textures, colors, patterns "

How Do I Shake Hands?

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

be vital, be aliveQ Dear Miss Abigail:

I was wondering what the proper etiquette is when a man comes up to you to shake your hand. Should you offer your hand or should he?

A Shaker and a Mover

A Dear Shaker:

I have a few tidbits for you from Ruth Tolman’s Charm and Poise for Getting Ahead. The first is from a chapter titled “The Art of Graciousness,” while the second appears in the “Social Postures” chapter and explains how exactly to go about shaking hands. I thought you might find that useful.

I don’t know about you, but after reading this I feel empowered to go out there and confidently shake hands with whomever I want, whenever I want. I am poised, hear me roar!

1969: The Handshake

A handshake is an expression of friendliness, it tells the other person that you are really glad to see him. Strive for a happy medium between a vise-like grip and a dead-fish grip. Your handshake is as expressive of your personality as your clothes and your speech.

And, if you are wearing gloves, my lady, would you remove them before shaking hands? No, a woman may shake hands with her glove on. However, because gloves are for street wear, they are removed as soon as you come indoors.

These are occasions when handshaking is necessary:
~~Whenever anyone extends his hand to you. If you are a young woman, you would wait for an older woman to extend her hand to you.
~~When men are introduced to one another. Even in a group a man will shake hands with each man to whom he is introduced unless it is most awkward for him to do so.
~~A woman may shake hands with a woman her own age, with a man to whom she is introduced as she chooses. It is the woman who takes the initiative in handshaking when men and women are introduced.

1. The right hand is brought from the side of the body to the waistline with the inner wrist leading in a semi-circular motion and is placed firmly in the palm of the other person’s hand for one or two visible hand shakes.

2. The left hand may be allowed to remain at the side or may be brought toward the waistline. It also may be necessary to use the left hand to hold one’s purse and gloves while shaking hands.

Please don’t hand someone a “wet dishrag” hand to shake. Be vital, be alive. Let the other person know and feel that you are genuinely glad to make his acquaintance.

Source: Tolman, Ruth. Charm and Poise for Getting Ahead. Bronx, NY: Milady Publishing Corporation, 1969.
~ pp. 234-35 (1st); 99 (2nd) ~

Glove Etiquette

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

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?

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 ~