Gloves evoke a romantic elegance of years gone by and remind one of more formal eras when wearing gloves was de rigueur. Actually, women wore gloves up through the early '60s (think Jackie Kennedy with her pillbox hat and two-button gloves). Longer gloves are usually more appropriate for formal weddings, and shorter ones work best in a more casual setting. The right glove in the right length and the right fabric will give your dress that perfect, sophisticated touch. Long or short, trendy or classic, stretch organza or satin -- whatever your dress, there's a style that's right for you.
A few tips:
Gloves are classified by length and are measured by inches or number of buttons.
Generally, the longer the sleeve, the shorter the glove.
Shorter gloves are usually more appropriate for less formal weddings.
If you have a heavily embellished gown, go with simpler gloves. If your gown is pared-down and modern, balance it with embellished or embroidered gloves.
Match your gloves to the color of your gown, i.e., ivory gloves for an ivory gown, white gloves for a white gown.
If you're wearing gloves, then your bridesmaids should, too. Their gloves should be the same length or shorter than yours.
Fabric is also a factor. Kid leather styles are considered the dressiest, though keep in mind that they "slouch" a bit at the tops. Satin spandex, crushed velvet and sheer organza are sophisticated and modern.
Taking your vows:
If you're wearing short gloves, simply remove your left-hand glove. If you have eight- or 16-inch gloves, use a seam ripper to split the seam on your ring finger so you can slip your finger out.
Long gloves often have an opening with buttons under the wrist, called a "mousquetaire." This allows you to unbutton the glove at the wrist, slip your hand out and tuck the fabric up under the glove, exposing only your hand. You can do this at the altar or before you walk down the aisle, as your bouquet will probably hide your bare hand.
Here's your key to the gloves that will work best for you:
Fingerless: Covers the palm but leaves fingers bare. Perfect for exchanging rings.
Gauntlet: No hand-covering at all -- more like a sleeve. Stretches from wrist to elbow.
One-button: Ends just above the palm, at or below the wrist. Best for long-sleeve gowns.
Two-button: Ends just above the wrist. Also called a wristlet. Best for long-sleeve gowns. About eight to nine inches long.
Four-button: Covers the wrist and ends a few inches above it. Best for long-sleeve gowns. About 10 to 11 inches long.
Six-button: Ends just below the elbow. Also called quarter-length. Best with short-sleeve gowns. About 12 to 13 inches long.
Eight-button: Reaches the elbow. Best with short-sleeve gowns. About 14 to 15 inches long.
Twelve-button: Ends just past the elbow. Best with sleeveless or strapless gowns. About 18 to 19 inches long.
Sixteen-button or Opera Length: Ends well above the elbow. Best with sleeveless or strapless gowns. About 27 inches long.