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Cream, kid-leather gloves

24 January 2009

A coincidence of two events and thoughts spurred my most recent accessory purchase.

The first was the posts of Scott Schuman on the Sartorialist that picked out gloves as a bright accessory to an otherwise conservative outfit. Like most stand-out accessories, this can easily be overdone, but a little touch here or there can make an outfit.

In this particular case it was yellow gloves, but I have equally seen cream, green and even purple work very well in this role. It also pays to bear in mind the other, duller items in the outfit – here the yellow gloves are given a harmonious backdrop by the tan suede boots this gentleman is wearing.

The second event and thought was the blog written by Winston Chesterfield on this site back in December. He bemoaned the lack of well-fitting glove options available to him. Driven by the descriptions of gloves in that blog, I popped into Pickett on the Burlington Arcade soon after (in case it helps, Winston, they told me that they still do reasonable bespoke gloves).

There, cream kid-leather gloves caught my eye. Indeed, Winston’s reference to dove grey gloves for morning dress in another post may also have been floating around my subconscious.

These cream gloves would, of course, be for evening wear. But such is the robustness of kid leather that they would not look out of place as an unusual accessory to a conservative outfit like that described above.

Kid leather today has associations with both weddings and driving. Traditionally, unlined and untreated gloves made from the skin of a kid goat were worn for formal evening occasions. Their smooth suede texture is fine enough to complement other evening accessories such as silk scarves and cummerbunds.

The Pickett options were unfortunately too rich for my budget. But while in York visiting family I chanced into a great vintage shop up there – Priestleys on Grape Lane, near the Mulberry factory store. All vintage shops should be like this, with such obvious care and investment in all the items carried.

They had kid-leather gloves. Unlined, handmade and apparently over 50 years old. But only £24 and as clean as the day they were made.

Interestingly, it is easy to tell they are handmade because the ridges that box in each finger (when the stitches are made on the outside rather than the inside of the glove) were much finer than any machine-made gloves I own. That also made the ridges much finer, something Winston seemed to be talking about when he referred to the “delicacy lacking on most of the glove models available to men.”

I thank my luck and I highly recommend a visit.