Glove Etiquette: The Top 7 Things You Want to Know About Dress Gloves

By: Maralee McKee

Greetings & Welcome to Wednesday!

Hope that you’ve recovered from any overdoses of marshmallow peeps and chocolate bunnies! For me it was Whoppers candy (malted milk balls)!

I filled a third of my boys’ plastic Easter eggs with them. After eating about four Whoppers, my 12-year-old said, “Mom, I’m sorry, but I don’t like these.” My little guy, always quick to echo big brother, whether it’s his true opinion or not, said, “Yeah, Mom! I don’t like them either! They’re kind of yucky.”

My heart was crushed in disbelief! My own children don’t understand the true candy genius of a Whopper! I shook my head in disbelief and began to worry whether they’ll turn out OK in life. Have I failed them in some way already? You know, it’s always the mom’s fault. 🙂

You see, Whoppers are a happy childhood memory for me. I have a brother who’s 13 years my senior. He was more of a second father, and I worshiped him growing up. We’re still close, and Whoppers are his favorite candy.

I remember being very young and he would buy them in large boxes shaped like milk cartons and share them with me. We would sit side by side on the sofa, on a hot Florida summer afternoon, in the one cool place in our small home, under the room air conditioner in the living room.

The cool breeze, the full attention of my big brother, and a box of Whoppers! Pure, simple bliss!

I told my boys the story of my happy memories with their Uncle Keith, hoping they would give the candy another try and carry on the family Whoppers tradition.

Marc, my older son, gladly popped one more into his mouth. Corbett, his little brother, mirrored him. “Sorry, Mom. They’re OK, but I still don’t really like them,” Marc answered.

“Me either,” Corbett said, shaking his head back and forth, his little nose all twisted up in a knot, his face shouting “yuck!” in every direction.

There was nothing to do but for poor Mom to sacrifice myself to the completion of the bag! They will always remain a sweet childhood memory for me. However, after I finished off the 24-oz bag, for at least the next six months they will no longer be a sweet temptation when I pass them on the candy aisle at Target!

On to etiquette! You know I always make it there eventually!

Wednesday Readers’ Q & A! This blog is about equipping ourselves to interact with ease, savvy, and sincerity in our everyday encounters. You won’t find bowing, curtsying, or tea-with-the-Queen etiquette here.

Today’s reader question is fun, but I almost didn’t include it.

Why? Well, because it’s about an etiquette that essentially doesn’t apply anymore: wearing dress gloves.

I remember that, when I was a little girl, my mom would go to Montgomery Ward every Easter and buy my dress, white patent-leather shoes, and a pair of gloves. She had a couple of pairs herself. They were laid out perfectly in a long, flat, dark red box with inlaid, fancy gold writing. I was too young to read what the box said, but I remember carefully taking the gloves out of the tissue-paper-lined box and putting them on, one finger at a time. My five-year-old fingers stopped about where my mom’s knuckles would be, so the end of each finger of the glove flopped back and forth. I would giggle, all the while feeling very grown up!

Because glove etiquette isn’t something you’re going to need every day, I was going to put the question aside. Then I thought, well, if you get invited to just one formal meal, tea, or costume event and purchase a pair of gloves on-line for the occasion, you’re going to enjoy knowing what jewelry to wear with them and what to do when shaking hands and eating.

Springtime is when a lot of these types of events occur, so now’s the perfect time for us to learn these seldom-needed but fun tips.

Glove etiquette evolved through the centuries and decades, like all of etiquette, to fit the sensibilities of the current generation. The tips below come from the last decade of glove wearers. These are from about the time that Mrs. Brady and Alice and the three Brady girls stopped wearing theirs to Sunday services.

Read and enjoy, and if you get invited to any formal teas or events, email and share all the details! I haven’t outgrown thinking that dressing up is fun! I hope you haven’t either. 🙂

Dear Maralee,

Absolutely love your blog! I have a question about wearing gloves. When wearing them to a reception, etc., when you’re going through the receiving line, do you remove your gloves before going through the line, or do you keep them on while shaking hands? What about when eating?

Here Are Your Top Seven Tips for Becoming Glove Savvy:

1.)  Gloves can remain on in both the receiving line (you’re the host) and the reception line (you’re the guest).

2.)  You may wear your gloves when shaking hands, except when meeting the President, the First Lady, or a high-ranking church or government official.

3.)  Remove your gloves before eating anything, either at or away from the table.

4.)  At the table, lay your gloves on your lap, with your napkin laid over them.

5.)  Your watch and rings are worn under your gloves. Bracelets can be worn over gloves, although many fashion experts say gloves look best by themselves.

6.)  Gloves are not worn while dancing. (It’s more intimate if you’re touching your partner hand-to-hand, instead of glove-to-hand.)

7.)  Today, gloves are rare fashion accessories for only special events and not part of our everyday wardrobes. You wouldn’t wear them to work in a typical office. If you do, make sure to remove them before shaking hands with anyone.

Now, I’m going to go to my favorite local antique store and search for a pair of white, wrist-length gloves in honor of this post and in hopes that they will continue on their rise in popularity and again be a part of our daily (or least occasional) outfits. They are practical. They keep our hands shielded from the sun while we drive our cars. While most of us wear a lotion or foundation with an SPF on our face and neck, our hands are left unprotected on a daily basis for the most part.

I will be wearing gloves today. Sadly, they won’t be the ones I hope to find at the antique store, and they won’t be my mother’s long white gloves with the pearl buttons from thirty years ago. I’ll be donning yellow rubber gloves. It’s Wednesday, housecleaning day, and I’m off to clean the bathrooms! It’s OK; I’ll just imagine I pulled them out of the long red box with the gilt red printing instead of the cleaning supply bucket!

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Until next time, keep doing what you were born to do. Bless those around you by being authentically you…at your best!

PS: Not long after this blog post was first published, my big brother, the one who enjoyed his Whoppers candy, passed away suddenly. He was gone from everyone who loved him too quickly. This post is dedicated to his memory.

I love you, big brother. I miss you, as do your wife and children. I admire you. I cherish you. I am better for having been your “little sis.” It will forever be one of the most precious titles of my life. I’ll see you at Heaven’s gate. Until then, I think of you every day!


Maralee McKee

About Maralee McKee

Maralee McKee is the founder of Manners Mentor. With her best-friend style, sense of humor, and knack for updating etiquette to meet our modern sensibilities, she has been referred to as "Sandra Bullock meets Emily Post!" Maralee shows you how to become the best version of yourself. No fluff. No pretense. Just you at your authentic best! The person you were always meant to be! To learn more about Maralee click on the "Meet Maralee" or "New? Start Here" links at the top of this page.

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