The Do’s & Don’ts of Wearing Gloves

Downton Abbey sisters in summer

I love Downton Abbey dearly but it turns out they’ve got their gloves all wrong!

I came across this fun little piece on the etiquette of gloves and Downton Abbey on Etiquette with Maura Graber. There, she points out how the ladies wear gloves pretty much all the time, even while handling food, which would never have happened back then.

Here are some other takeaways:

  1. You should wear your gloves while dancing but not while drinking or eating.
  2. If served a refreshment while standing, remove your gloves and place them in your evening bag. If your bag is too small, expect to hold onto them in one hand and sip your drink with the other.
  3. When sitting to eat, you may need to get creative with gloves too big for your bag. Sitting on them may be the answer!

My guess is the Downton consultants know all about these glove rules, but the show has decided to have the ladies wear them nearly always because today when we think of the past, well, ladies wear gloves.

This is a ridiculous analogy, but: One year I dressed up as a housefly for Halloween because I thought it would be funny to go as something extremely mundane. Houseflies don’t have antennae, but I felt I needed antennae for folks to recognize me as a bug. So I attached black pipe cleaners “antennae” to a big fabric headband, which already had a tea ball broken in two — my housefly eyes — super-glued to it. (Yes, I am very proud of those housefly eyes.) I think the antennae helped make me immediately recognizable as a housefly.

That’s a long way of saying: Sometimes we have certain associations in our head that items trigger (antenna=bug or gloves=lady from the past), even if they’re not accurate all the time.

And now that I’ve written at length about gloves, I kind of want to buy a pair.

Source (excluding the housefly costume discussion, of course): Etiquette with Maura Graber .

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