Opera Glove Etiquette

Opera Glove Etiquette

Gloves worn with gowns can be the height of chic and sophistication.  However, it is important to keep in mind some basic rules when wearing: gloves are worn during the cocktail hour, removed entirely while dining, then worn again for the remainder of the evening. Etiquette consultant Lisa Grotts shares the details:

Eating, Drinking and Dancing

Gloves should be kept on when shaking hands (e.g., in a reception line) or when dancing, though never when dining.

Take off your gloves when you sit down to dinner, and put them back on when dinner is over.

Gloves may be worn while drinking, though care must be exercised not to spill liquids on them, especially when the gloves are made of kidskin or some other delicate leather. It is better to remove them, or partially remove them (see below), when possible.

Taking them Off

Removing: When you remove your opera gloves, do not take them off in a way that calls undue or seductive attention to the process (unless, of course, you are attempting to seduce the viewer!).  Loosen the hand from the wrist, and gradually and smoothly work the glove down the arm, rather than pulling from the top.

Partially removing: You can partially remove your opera gloves by unbuttoning the mousquetaire, or wrist opening, and pulling your hand out through the opening. Tuck the empty hand portion under your wrist or under your bracelet, if you are wearing one.  Nowadays it is permissible to wear rings or bracelets over gloves.

Choosing Gloves 

Length basics: the shorter the sleeve, the longer the glove. Opera gloves (long) are, therefore, properly worn with sleeveless or short-sleeved dresses or strapless, sleeveless (with straps) or short-sleeved evening gowns.

Six-button (14″ or thereabouts) gloves, also known as three-quarter length or coat-length gloves, may properly be worn with just about any length of sleeve. With longer sleeves, the arm pieces are generally tucked under the sleeves.   White and its various shades, including ivory, beige and taupe, are the traditional colors for opera gloves and are appropriate for virtually any occasion on which opera gloves are worn.

Lisa Mirza Grotts, Etiquette Consultant, www.AMLGroup.com
photos courtesy of Drew Altizer Photography