Obviously, gloves have been around for centuries, but they really became a part of fashion in the 1700’s, when over-the-elbow gloves came in vogue. When Napoleon’s Josephine (who wore them because she didn’t like her hands) wore them long enough to reach the puff in her short sleeves, long gloves swept the empire. Here’s another empress, the Austrian Empress Sissi in her gloves circa 1854.
By the end of the 1800's, women’s everyday clothes tended to cover most of the arm, so wrist length gloves became popular—except for evening, of course, when dresses showed off the arms. To ease getting into the long gloves, a slit was added, and the opening was closed with three or four buttons. Snaps became vogue in the late 1890’s. But putting those long gloves on was a chore and often required a buttonhook, and as such it was not proper to put them on in public. You put them on and kept them on until you went home. Actresses Sarah Bernhardt and Lillian Russell added to the craze.
|Actress Sarah Bernhardt|
|Drinking tea outside the glove|