Allow us to set the scene: It was New Year’s Eve and we were ringing in 2022 by wearing our chicest outfit and clinking champagne glasses with our S.O. and friends. Then, we spotted her. An impossibly stylish woman wearing…are those…opera gloves? Indeed. Turns out, the ultra-glam accessory is majorly trending right now. With lineage dating back to ancient Egypt (more on that in a bit), opera gloves are currently reclaiming the spotlight and honestly, we’re thrilled. Here’s everything you need to know about the trend (including where to buy a pair of your own).
Opera Gloves Are Trending (& They’re Surprisingly Easy to Pull Off)
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When did opera gloves come into style?
Back in the days of Egyptian pharaohs, gloves held a significant socio-economic meaning. If a person was entombed wearing lavish gloves, it was safe to assume that they were wealthy and held a vital role within society.
Later, women of high social standings in the 16th and 17th centuries wore what were then known as evening gloves day and night as a show of modesty and proper etiquette. As times changed, so did the role of the glove. For example, women of high ranking wore gloves as protection against diseases that often easily infected the lower and middle class, or to keep their hands soft to show that they didn’t perform hard labor. It wasn’t until actresses like Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn wore the gloves in the mid 20th century that their place in high fashion became solidified.
How are opera gloves worn today?
Continuing their evolution, opera gloves recently made a resurgence once again in 2020. We began seeing well-known models and A-list stars on runways, red carpets and music videos dressed in opera gloves. Think: Ariana Grande in her decadent Grammy’s Cinderella dress, Olivia Rodrigo in her “good 4 u” music video, Lizzo at a Grammy’s afterparty and Instagram influencers like Nitsan Raiter and Matilda Djerf.
But unlike in the past, when gloves were reserved strictly for the upper class, contemporary gloves are for anyone and everyone. Whether you wear them to stay warm during cold winter nights or merely as a dash of extra femininity to pair with an elegant outfit, it’s safe to say that opera gloves are here to stay. Whatever your motivation may be, we fully support it.
Now that you’re aware of the history of the opera glove, we’ve curated 11 of our favorites to shop so you can be the belle of the ball at your next outing (even if it’s just to dinner).
1. Free People Tea Time Printed Lace Gloves
Channel your inner Emily in Paris with these shorter gloves and pretend you’re taking a stroll along the Seine fashionably late to your date with un café au lait et croissant.
2. Sleeper Zephyr Ruffle Gloves In White
With gorgeous ruffle detailing at the wrists, these gloves offer a modern twist on the classic accessory seen on stars like Grace Kelly, Sarah Jessica Parker and Jacqueline Kennedy Onasis. We’d wear these with a delicate slip dress to allow the gloves to be the star of the show.
6. Free People Daydream Velvet Gloves
Rich and velvety, these soft opera gloves add a dash of color to any ensemble are the perfect addition to your favorite winter outfit on those colder days
7. Shushu/tong Ssense Exclusive Black Bow Gloves
Wear these sophisticated black padded nylon taffeta gloves with bow detailing on the cuffs to a romantic winter date.
10. Miscreants London Velvet Opera Gloves With Ivory Train Puffs
Yes, you’re seeing correctly: Those long white trains are attached to the gloves by those giant poufs. Whether you’ve always had a flair for the dramatic or decided to dress-up and push your usual wardrobe boundaries on a whim, prepare to turn heads left and right in these babies.