Opera Gloves Are Trending (& They’re Surprisingly Easy to Pull Off)

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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).

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.

best opera gloves to wear audrey hepburn
Paramount Picture Studios

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).

best opera gloves to wear free people tea time printed lace gloves
Free People

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.

best opera gloves to wear sleeper zephyr ruffle gloves in white

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.

best opera gloves to wear free people tulle ombre gloves
Free People

3. Free People Tulle Ombre Gloves

No fingers, no problem. Ombre is having a moment, from ombré hair colors to ombré lips. Why not rock the look on your forearms for a little edge? Just throw a leather jacket over your shoulders for the ultimate grunge-inspired look.

best opera gloves to wear cult gia melange suiting gloves

4. Cult Gia Melange Suiting Gloves

It’s all in the details when it comes to these subtle yet sexy textured Ecru gloves. Paint your nails a delicate nude color to really elongate your fingers.

best opera gloves to wear free people coucou lola swiss dot gloves
Free People

5. Free People Coucou Lola Swiss Dot Gloves

Looking for something bold and bright? Look no further than a red, sheer and fingerless glove that you can wear all day and night without having to take them off to answer text messages.

best opera gloves to wear free people daydream velvet gloves
Free People

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

best opera gloves to wear shushu tong ssense exclusive black bow gloves

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.

best opera gloves to wear free people longingly lace gloves
Free People

8. Free People Longingly Lace Gloves

Want to take these vintage-inspired gloves to the next level? Slip a few rings on (over the gloves) and thank us later.

best opera gloves to wear asos design long lace gloves

9. Asos Design Long Lace Gloves

LBGs are the new LBDs. These semi-sheer, floral lace gloves will elevate any look, from your favorite date-night mini dress to your GNO fit.

best opera gloves to wear miscreants london velvet opera gloves with ivory train puffs
Miscreants London

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.

best opera gloves to wear miscreants london black velvet gloves with green bow
Miscreants London

11. Miscreants London Black Velvet Gloves With Green Bow

For a touch of drama, opt for these over-the-top black velvet gloves accentuated with detachable satin green bows on a night out.

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Associate Fashion Commerce Editor

Stephanie is a natural savant in the fashion, beauty, and dating & relationships beats. She graduated with a bachelor of arts at the University of San Diego, where she majored...