Love A Glove

— by Nilgin Yusuf

Erwin Blumenfeld Credit: Somerset House



It’s not a fetish. And it is not an obsession, nor an addiction, but I would definitely say, I have a thing for gloves. I would classify them as one of my favourite accessories – alongside sunglasses –  and will never forgo the opportunity to add a new pair to my collection. This includes a drawer full of leather ones to match my various items of outerwear: navy blue, black, chocolate brown, khaki, camel and grey. I have accent gloves like my thermal leopard spot or (fake) fur trimmed ones. There are the ones I’ve picked up in the sportswear aisles including horse-riding gloves, weight-lifting gloves and driving gloves. Then, I have my novelty/slash vintage gloves like my enormous 1930s snow gloves that I’d hankered for ever since I saw a portrait of the artist Alexander Calder wearing a pair.

It may seem strange writing about gloves as the clocks go forward and temperatures rise, but this isn’t any normal spring. Covid 19, the viral pandemic has resulted in lock-down, self-isolation and social distancing. We know the drill. Only leave our homes for essential journeys, wash our hands often and maintain distance from others, hence, the extension of my glove story out of winter into spring. Just like Napoleon’s proverbial ‘iron hand in a velvet glove’, there’s nothing quite like pulling on a pair to mentally prepare you for life’s challenges.  And, it looks like, I’m not the only one trying to ward off the evils.  On March 25th, Emma Roberts wore black leather opera gloves at the London Fashion Awards and the week before, Naomi Scott wore black PVC ones at the Charlie’s Angels UK premier. Even the Queen was observed to be wearing a pair of cream gloves to an investiture at Buckingham Palace for the first time since the 1950s.

1950’s Neyret advert Credit: Pinterest

In Victorian times, before there was hand sanitiser and disease was rampant, many feared catching something deadly while out in public. So, gloves, as well as being symbols of status and rank, were an essential physical barrier that helped maintain health. However, according to official guidance, gloves are not recommended as a safety measure. The very real danger with regular gloves is they might pick up the virus which you pass on to yourself by touching your face. Judy Melinek of the medical publication, Medpage Today writes: “the frilly cotton ones are useless for infection control, but leather or polypropylene gloves might be helpful if they make you less likely to touch your face, and if you can figure out a way to wash or sanitise them. If you don’t clean them regularly, then you’ve just covered your paws in fomites”.

I’m not a big fan of those medical or latex disposable gloves. They remind me of cervical smears and irritate my hands. However, it’s worth remembering in these strangest of times that while gloves might make us feel many things: sexy, sharp and stylish, they don’t make us invincible.



Nilgin Yusuf is a freelance writer. You can find her on Twitter @Nilgin and Instagram @nilgin_yusuf

*Please note affiliate links in this post may generate a commission. If you are buying vintage gloves we recommend washing cotton and wiping clean leather and vinyl. There’s a feature on How Long Coronavirus Lives On Clothes and How To Wash Them HERE.

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    It’s not a fetish. And it is not an obsession, nor an addiction, but I would definitely say, I have a thing for gloves.