Fall 2012 Trends: Opera Gloves

Posted on April 06, 2012


Diane von Furstenberg

Is it time, ladies? Has the stench of Gypsy Rose Lee and Miss Piggy been washed away?  Is it time for the long-maligned opera glove to come back to the world of fashion?

Alexander Wang, Antonio Berardi, Betsey Johnson

Carolina Herrera, Chanel, Christian Dior

Diane von Furstenberg, Doo. Ri., Givenchy

Haider Ackermann, Jason Wu, Jean Paul Gaultier

Lanvin, Nina Ricci, Tory Burch


Looks like it already has.

Honestly? These all look pretty fabulous to our gay eyes. Except for the pink Betsey Johnson and purple Chanel. There’s just no way we can avoid seeing Miss Piggy in those instances. The DVF look at the top is TO DIE.

But as we all know, there’s the runway and there’s what the 99.99999% of the other women in the world are wearing. Tell us:


The Opera Glove: YEA or NAY?


And we don’t mean it in some philosophical sense. Can you see yourself wearing opera gloves and not be at a costume party?


[Photo Credit: elle.com, vogue.com, style.com]

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  • I, for one, welcome our new gloved overlords.
    I love long gloves and even have a pair of white ones that my mom wore to her prom in the ’60s.  Now how I can work them into my generally casual wardrobe, I’m not sure, but I welcome the chance to try!

  • Mo Mo

    This trend will make Madonna happy.

    • joe_tey83

       She’s expanding her current apartment sized walk in glove wardrobe by 3 floors as we speak. You can literally see her hand veins pulsating with excitement.

  • I’ve always loved opera gloves, and if they made a comeback into normal fashion, I’d definitely wear them!

    • luciaphile

      me too. I’d love it if hats made a comeback too.

      • oh_dear_oh_dear

        Hats made a comeback like two years ago. Go free, behatted friend.

  • ryaddictive

    love them, especially the DVF at the top and the black and red carolina herrera.   the others are good, with the exception of the candy colors.  and the fur ruff.  … is that a fur ruff?  o god no.

  • The Dior one is the only one that really works for me…

    • MoreShoes

      I’d love to wear the Dior. Long gloves, not practical but they look great.

  • I haven’t worn long gloves since 1991 (my yr 12 formal i.e senior prom) but I LOVE them and if anyone invites me to a posh party I will.

  • MilaXX

    NAY! It’s a very hard look to pull off. Leave it on the runway or black tie event only. It’s only occasionally going to work in regular life.

    •  I wear gloves every day and am FLOODED with compliments, well, by those bold enough to stop staring and speak 🙂

  • I like them, except for the Betsey Johnson one- that just gives me epilepsy.

  • Having recently unpacked a box that contained no fewer than 10 pair of opera gloves, I say hell yes!

  • Call me Bee

    Not surprising considering the lady-like bent that fashion has had lately. I like the look, though I’d only wear them … well…to the opera.

  • Lilithcat

    You really don’t want to know how many glove boxes I own.

    Hell to the YES!

  • crash1212

    YEA!  I can hardly wait to get my hands on some long gloves! I love them under/with 3/4 length sleeve coats & sweaters! Haven’t been able to find any for the longest time! 

    • Oh yes – that 50s look of long gloves and bracelet-length sleeves is so chic. I love it!

      • UsedtobeEP

        This. I think they are a nice answer to the three-quarter sleeve. 

    •  My thoughts exactly. If you ever find a nice pair, do report back!

  • piecesofconfetti

    YEA! Not for any old occasion, but I’d love to pull these out for a special night on the town. Dramatic and chic.

  • Glammie

    Love ’em, but over-the-elbow length gloves are hard to wear–as in they take a while to pull on and off so it’s just kind of a hassle to wear, say, if you’re going out to lunch.  (Elbow-length gloves, though, aren’t bad and are useful with all those shorter-sleeve-length coats.)

    That said, long fingerless gloves/gauntlets/etc. have been around for a few years among the crafty/hipster set. Those are actually a little easier to manage as you can often roll them up or don’t need to because your fingers are free.

    Okay, off to get out my knitting needles.

    • giiiirrrr

       Yes to all of that.  I also don’t find the ones with fingers to be comfortable.  I feel like I’m losing one of my senses when my fingertips are covered.

      • RebeccaKW

         I have big hands with shorter fingers, so I always have a hard time with gloves.  They are usually too tight but then I don’t reach the end of the fingers.

        • giiiirrrr

           I hear that.  I have freakishly long toes–tabi socks and Vibrams are totally out for me.

      • Glammie

        Yep, it’s hard to do keypad stuff or even feel around in your purse for your keys with gloves on.  One thing I’ve seen are combo gloves–shorter cover the fingers gloves with a longer fingerless glove over them.  

        • ballerinawithagun

          My mother gave me a pair of gloves for Christmas that have little pads on the fingertips for keypads called Touchgloves!

    • Adriana_Paula

      Absolutely: if you read books on dressing from mid-century (like Mary Young’s great “In Search of Charm”) one would never wear over-the-elbow gloves with a daytime ensemble.  That’s what elbow-length gloves are for.
      I have a lovely green vintage coat with three-quarter sleeves, and I knit myself matching “sleeves” (no thumb hole or anything, but longe enough to come down to my knuckles).  They work great warmth-wise and I think they’re pretty elegant!

  • Sara__B

    Bring on the gloves! Gloves done right are fabulous. My mother had gorgeous gloves made from beautiful natural fabrics and leathers, and knew when and how to wear them. I especially remember her elegant suits worn with leather gloves, rather like the Christian Dior gloves in this post. YEA gloves, and the freedom to wear them or not!

  • Rrroza

    I like ’em! I’ve been fortunate to find a couple spring-weight wool vintage coats with the cropped sleeves, so the opera gloves work perfectly.

  • I think they are super chic. I think the challenge is finding a way to tie them in with a current, non run-way wardrobe.

  • Ms_Flyover

    These immediately invoke images of “Rich Man’s Frug” from Sweet Charity – which is not a bad thing.

  • Terence Ng

    No. OUT. I love opera gloves on my superheroes, and that’s because superheroes never have to deal with the reality of how opera gloves actually end up (not) fitting and not staying up.

  • Sunshine16

    Yea, and give me that DVF ensemble now!

  • Abby Davis

    I love them. I have a knitted pair for winter. Also, the Gypsy Rose Lee reference made me laugh, since burlesque is very popular again. That’s probably also an influence of why these gloves are fashionable again.

  • NAY. I don’t want my eyes burning when the starlets fuck it up in the fall. 

  • JulieTy

    YEA to the gloves, and THANK YOU to Downton Abbey for being the inspiration (I conjecture).

  • Snailstsichr

    I’ll take Miss Piggy as a fashion idol any day! So, yes to the opera gloves. I just wish I had somewhere to wear them.

  • I totally would wear some if I wasn’t seventeen, with no occasion of wearing them, and if they didn’t reminded me of my great-aunt teaching me “a lady never goes out without her gloves”. But yea for them in the fashion world, it looks great !

  • SewingSiren

    I say yes to gloves.About half of these do not look right proportion wise to my eye. The other half look great, but I don’t think this dress glove trend will take off. People are just to casual now.

  • Alisa Rivera

    Goddamn, that Chanel is UGLY.

    Oh, gloves. I wore them when I was younger and I’ll wear them again when I’m a grande dame, but right now, in my 40s, I think they would make me look like I’m trying too hard.

    • ballerinawithagun

      The Chanel is a bad Arts & Crafts project.

  • I love gloves going into sleeves are awesome.  Gloves and sleeveless = miss piggy. 

    • E_bee

      I basically agree with this. I love, and would wear, any of the half-sleeve/glove combos. But I also like the sleek, black, rock-and-roll looks: the top DVF, the Doo. Ri., and the Tory Burch.

    • Terrie_S

      Pretty much. I prefer a wrist or elbow length glove to a mid-bicep or shoulder length, and when you have those very long gloves with sleeveless looks, it ends up a looking disproportionate.

  • Isana Leshchinskaya

    would love to wear, but i’m not that cool. but YEA anyway. and btw, who won virgins vs vixens?

    • mjude

      yes we ARE that cool to wear the gloves.  we just choose not to. 🙂  but i do love the look!

  • Unfortunately, my life lacks the glamor factor. I don’t know that I have any events coming up in the next, oh, ninety or so years that would provide the proper venue for opera gloves. But next time I’m at the metropolitan opera in New York, you betcha! (Do they let people into the met who say, “You betcha”?). Or perhaps I can wear them  if I attend a snazzy cocktail party… I think they are really, really chic!

  • hughman

    Despite all “The Night Porter” references they evoke, I love this “trend”. Particularly when the woman wears a fab diamond bracelet over the glove on one side. 

  • MoHub

    I love the opera gloves, especially when I’m on the opera stage in a gorgeous late Victorian gown. I just hope this isn’t a precursor to the return of little white wrist gloves, though. Those make one look like a cartoon character.

  • mom2ajs5

    I had to wear white ones to a Mardi Gras ball this year. They looked great with the dress, but unless your arms are in great shape (mine, not so much) they make your upper arm look big. I took them off as soon as I was done sitting in the section that required their use. But I would consider them again if in a different color, that may help. 

  • I would wear opera gloves in a heartbeat. (The heartbeat of a lovestruck tween who has just been hugged by JBiebs, in fact.) Adore them, and always have….

  • random_poster

    I’ve only worn them at my senior prom in 1985.  I think they are awesome, but, by TLo’s criteria, no I cannot see myself wearing them today unless it’s at a costume party.

    I loved my prom gloves, though.

  • Melanie S.

    I love them! As evidenced by the fact that I made Slither gloves and have been wearing them whenever my arms get cold. *nods*

  • TLo, you’re prescient. I checked zappos.com; the only gloves there are winter gloves. Neiman-Marcus has an elbow length glove, but not as fancy as the ones that you show here. I saw nothing in Kate Spade, Nordstroms, and Saks Fifth Ave.

  • OmegaMu

    I just read a Miss Manners answer about opera gloves today!  The letter writer asked if it would be appropriate to wear opera glovers to cover her wrist surgery scars and Miss Manners replied:
    “Opera gloves go past the elbow half way up the upper arm. If you have been told that marks from surgery are going to extend that far, you might consider changing surgeons. Otherwise, Miss Manners would think that gloves to just below the elbow would do. They are proper for black tie events, while the longer ones are proper for white tie events.”

  • Yay!!  I have a pair of luxurious black velvet ones that were my grandmothers… can’t wait to rock them out this fall!!

  • Louise Bryan

    Sure, I can see myself wearing opera gloves the next time (er, first time) I attend an evening opera.  Technically, that’s not a costume party, at least off-stage.  But in real life…. Hah!

  • MitchellGilburne

    I think the Dior gets it right. Combined with outerwear and acting as sort of a hyper-extended second sleeve, and especially in leather, they look chic and modern and completely avoid costume territory. 

  • They certainly look chic on the runway, but I’m reserving judgment for when I see someone wear them in the wild.

  • Judih1

    I would wear them if it was cold outside, and then take them off when I come inside

  • formerlyAnon

    YEA.  Though I will have few opportunities to wear them before the trend passes.

    Though maybe, if the baby boom contingent applies their/our buying power and adopts gloves to cover our sadly no longer lovely hands, the trend might have legs.

    doubt it

    (edited for grammar)

  • RebeccaKW

    I think they are pretty fabulous, but also very impractical.  I guess if you were wearing them for a short period of time.  My first consideration is always ‘how do I go to the bathroom in that?’  A lot of trouble to get them on/off, especially if you are in a hurry and have a complicated dress on along with them.  I guess you could just not drink anything for several hours and then just hold your glass of champagne in your fabulous gloved hands all evening, never taking a sip.

  • IN.

  • I want the Dior outfit for everyday and I want the Givenchy outfit to fight crime in.

  • I actually have a lovely swing jacket with cropped sleeves, and a pair of opera gloves would kick that look up a notch! That is a “YES” from me.

  • What’s with the Groucho Marx eyebrows on that model in the purple gloves?!  How did they not see how unattractive that is?!

  • guest2visits

    I love the pink Betsy Johnson’s and could see the whole look at a music awards, like MTV, etc…
    My favorite gloves are probably the Jason Wu or Ackermann.   Now; I have no clue where I’m going.
    by the way…. 99% of these outfits are: ri-dic-u-lous.

  • YEA!

    By god, I will make this work.

  • Amy Ellinger

    yes, yes a thousand times yes.  Lets hope its an indicator of the return of elegance and class.

  • Kayceed

    Yea – and especially with outerwear.

  • Miss_Magpie

    Always Have, Always Will.  I ADORE them, collect them, and think they add a certain polish that nothing else can!

  • nancylee61

    I love opera gloves and any other kind of gloves. Takes me back to my childhood in the 60s, when my mother and my sister and I all had our gloves on for church. I don’t know where I would wear them, but I love them anyway!!!

  • Maybe if they’re fingerless. I don’t see any trend catching on these days that makes it harder to text or use your smartphone/ipad/etc. And just looking at these, the fingerless purple Chanel ones look most contemporary to my eyes.

  • mcarlson

    I love love love the opera glove look! Especially the Carolina Herrera and the Jean Paul Gaultier.

  • Joyce VG

    NAY but still love the idea of opera gloves.

  • IMNAngryLiberal

    NO oh hell NO!

  • They’re called opera gloves for a reason.  Unless you’re at the opera it’s a big, fat NO!  What about them (outside of a formal night out) DOESN’T say “drag queen”?

  • kimmeister

    Absolutely YEA.  Have a few leather ones that I wear with my coats with 3/4 sleeves, but I haven’t managed to find an opportunity to wear the fuchsia satin ones I bought on a whim many moons ago.

  • I think that DVF look at the top exists just to mock me – days ago I finished saying that colour combo never gets a good reception round here. I guess done right makes all the difference. It is a gorgeous look, and if I looked like that model, I’d wear it in a heart beat. 

  • janetjb


    I appreciate the look, but I’m pretty sure I’d look like Miss Piggy.

  • chitowndg

    Opera gloves are fine (and some of the looks above are stunning) for occassions where wearing gloves are logical, i.e., outside or at a VERY formal event.  Otherwise, they hinder the use of your hands- you can’t use any technology that depends upon finger warmth among other things – and are therefore inappropriate.  There is a reason that the requirement that ladies wear gloves disappeared, and it has a lot to do with the changes brought by feminism.

  • Lisa

    For shame, TLo!  Don’t you talk that way about Miss Piggy! 😉

  • I like it with the Carolina Herrerra and the Dior but hate them with the sleevless dresses. Long gloves with a sleeveless dress? Are we cold are we hot? What’s going on. No, no, NAY.

  • Ben

    The Chanel one must be a joke, right? 

  • filmcricket

    Don’t be dissing Miss Piggy. Girlfriend is awesome. And while I don’t want those Betsey Johnson neon pink gloves, I’d kill for the silver boots, those are FAB.

    Gloves of any kinds help hide one of the most aging parts of a woman’s body, her hands. Opera gloves, sadly, emphasize the another one: the upper arm. But so long as I can wear them under something, a la the Herrera and Dior shots, I’m glad of this trend.

  • TheLaurenJean

    Nope. Never gonna happen.

  • Daenyx

    Oh so very YEA. 

  • Samantha Irene

    I like them – for me though I’d only ever venture to wear them like the Christian Dior, JPG or Carolina Herrera  way. I just don’t think they would work on me without something looser covering the top half…

  • annrr

    Yes!! I have a pair of gloves that goes to my mid mid forearm that I’ve been wearing with a cashmere poncho and it looks fab. I am all over a pair that goes up higher. I like it more with the styles with longer sleeves, although  I do like the first Diane Von Fursenberg look a lot. 

  • DaringMiss

    Sign me up!

  • marilyn

    Yea.  They are being accessorized well with the looks.

  • Susan Walker

    I will speak up on the side of NO.

  • Nonnah

    Yea!  I already own them!

  • Nay for me. I will probably never wear opera gloves, but I do think they look lovely on the runway. 

  • butterflysunita

    Oh, I love it. I think it would be kind of fabulous to wear them with a cocktail dress.  In fact, I feel inspired–I may go buy a pair this week.

  • LesYeuxHiboux

    YEA! I have been actively looking for a pair of elbow length slouch gloves (like the Jason Wu pair) for everyday wear for about a year now.

    • holdmewhileimnaked

      oh heavens, next time just ask me. i can find anything. i just bought a perfect pair like those of which you speak for, um, ten bucks. vintage, designer, italian & kid leather.

      • LesYeuxHiboux

         Offer accepted! I’ve been struggling because my hands are long and slender, if they fit well in the palm the fingers are too short.

  • travelingcat

    Yea, love them!

  • lalahartma

    Yeah!  But sorry, I won’t be wearing them!  I would though, if I wore nice things and went to nice places.  😉

  • Linderella

    OK, I’m not a woman so it’s moot, but huge YEA from me!  They are about one short step away from fetish for me–LOVE LOVE LOVE opera gloves.

  • Dani619

    This Betsey Johnson look prompted me to write my first comment. I agree that it just doesn’t work.  The first thing that I thought when I saw it was a prostitute attending space age prom.  The purple Chanel also offends my eyes if for different reasons.  Other than that I love the looks!

  • holdmewhileimnaked

    & the DvF w/ the YSL homage hands is too die for twice.
    i say yes indeedy doobity do to the opera gloves. in fact, i just bought myself a pair of black italian kid 3/4 length to go w/ a vintage deep red leather fur collar fur cuffs bonnie cashin coat, for sills i think, two big buckle straps on the front. just stunning! & all, of course, ebay.
    even longer gloves never hurt anybody: i say this also.
    in fact, it’s time we went back to the 60s & 70s trope of wearing whatever makes yr heart flutter & jump w/ desire. to work, even. life is relentless & short. too short to compromise about this, of all things.

  • IN. Love gloves.

  • quiltrx

    YEA, if I had them on under an awesome cape (which I fully intend to make myself by fall).  I can’t see walking around indoors with them on, though.

  • bailey debruynkops

    hale yes.

  • prettybigkitty

    Yea! Heart.

  • rowsella

    They look very stylish.  I’ll probably never wear them unless fingerless so I can use my phone and well, be able to handle things.  I almost always push my sleeves up past my wrists so I don’t know if I could handle my entire lower arms covered.  Of course, finding gloves that will cover my man hands and short enough for me would probably be another issue altogether.  I’ll have to try dinner length gloves first (how the heck does anyone eat with gloves?– it’s bad enough I have to wear the nitrile ones at work).

  • The only ones that work for me are the very 1st DVF, the Carolina Herrera, and maybe the Nina Ricci & Jean Paul Gauthier. But I only LOVE (and would wear) the Carolina Herrera & DVF #1. Also Alexander Wang’s dress and gloves terrify me for some reason.

  • Also… Jason Wu… wtf is that hat?

  • ccm800

    yea – sure why not. 

  • Dani Colman

    The Chanel are the perfect colour for my Jessica Rabbit costume.  But I do kind of adore opera gloves.

  • annamiklo

    “Can you see yourself wearing opera gloves and not be at a costume party?”  No.  Nay.  Love the idea of the drama, but it only works for the ridiculous (fabulous?) few. 

  • Opera gloves don’t go with my personal style, but I’m loving the red and black gloves with the DvF dress. Genius.

  • ballerinawithagun

    Yea, I’m a glove fanatic! Love the top DVF, hate the DVF with “hands”.

  • laughingacademy

    Also, love the black and white jazz hands dress.

  • Sally Brownson

    I love them, but they’re not exactly daily wear, are they? Only with a nice sleeveless dress.

  •  He alone is wise who can accommodate himself to all
    contingencies of life; but the fool contends, and struggling, like a
    swimmer, against the stream.

  • I will never cease to love opera gloves.  Even if the only acceptable place to wear them is a red carpet, black tie event or the actual opera.

  • CatherineRhodes

    I love the idea of it, but would never do it. It would cross over into pretension. So, YEA for the fashionistas, but NEA for me.

  • girliecue

    Yea, yea, a thousand times yea!

  • mrspeel2

    Right now I’m beyond wearing opera gloves because I don’t go anywhere requiring couture, but in my HS years I loved wearing them to the proms. I do hope they make a huge comeback. Especially for those who dress to the nines whenever possible!

  • ThaliaMenninger

    Yea. I love a good opera glove.

  • I wish the opera glove would never go away; I’ve always admired that particular fashion accessory, and loved it when they came back in the Eighties.  In Second Life, the virtual world, opera gloves are a very popular part of evening fashion, and you even see some people wearing street gloves at times during the day.

  • jjfg

    Nay.  Not my style.

  • I bought a really beautiful pair of buttery soft leather gloves from the Lanvin / H&M collection that go up to my elbows. I never wore them and they’ve been sitting in a box in my closet. I’ll have to pull those beauties out and dust them off for fall!

  • bellafigura1

    Nay, I need my hands.

  • LambeeBaby

    Yea! Would wear them in a second.

  • KathKo

    It might works on a runway but on a real life woman on her everyday shopping ? Not a chance.
    Opera gloves are not for us mere women.

  • TheOriginalLulu

    Love them. YEA

  • bitterk

    Indifferent really.  But that Haider Ackermann design caught my eye.  Can we see more of the collection?

  • BigWhiteGrannyPanties

    I want gloves and hats to come back.  It was Easter Sunday and I wore no hat and no gloves and strappy sandals to the Big Liberal Church I attend.  Sigh.  I long for just a teeny bit of Mad Men fashion, but only on holidays.  

  • Yea …….. BUT I don’t really like them in leather. Leather is too Dexter-y, and just not sexy or feminine IMO.

  • lesmaha

    Nope, can’t do it….

  •  I’m well-know for my glove jonez. Ah, ALWAYS ahead of the pack because HAVING style never goes OUT of style 😉 ♥