There are trends that you register and then avoid like the plague (feather dresses, for example), and then there are those that get your blood pumping.
Gloves-short and long-appeared on almost every fall runway, but the defining moment, when one sensed that they could be elevated from an accessory to a new means of layering, came at the Marc Jacobs show. Gloves complemented almost every elegant seventies look, which made me wonder about armwear and its modern-day significance. Were gloves just a momentary flourish, or could they become as ubiquitous as leggings?
THURSDAY When I step outside in elbow-length shearling gloves from Bottega Veneta, I learn that this accessory is too dramatic for an afternoon coffee run. People look at me as if I might at any moment whip out my monocle.
FRIDAY My fashion-forward friend Claire has been working long gloves for some time. Taking a cue from her, I pair Yohji Yamamoto black cotton elbow-length gloves with a cap-sleeve jacket-sexy in a covered-up way. For drinks that night, I experiment with something barer, throwing on the gloves and a sleeveless hippie dress with an empire waist. The effect is too Jane Austen. I feel as if I should be guzzling tea, not beer.
SATURDAY Shorter gloves baffle me. All I can think of is Karl Lagerfeld and the dandy girl pop star Rihanna. But a breakthrough comes in the form of the 2008 Gucci Cruise Collection, which is introduced while I’m writing this piece. The models look sweet in leather driving gloves and fifties-style dresses. Inspired, I go to the movies in quilted white Chanel gloves and a cute sweater (fun, flirty, Carrie Bradshawesque, I think). My roommate says, “You look like a fabulous little Minnie Mouse.” Well, that stung a bit.
SUNDAY The Burberry gloves from the designer’s medieval-inspired runway were always going to be a challenge, but when they arrived they were even more period drama than I had expected. “Going falconing?” a friend asks. Smart-alec remarks aside, they prove a successfully tough counterpoint to a feminine Doo.Ri top when I head to the corner bar that evening. It’s that whole emphasizing-your- femininity-by-dressing-a-bit-tough thing, and I’ll tell you, the men are intrigued.
MONDAY The thing about working with rationalists is that they are always so damn rational. In a pair of Narciso Rodriguez elbow-length leather gloves, I walk around the office. “Ridiculous” seems to be the general consensus. “The skin looks very delicate,” says my friend at the copier. “Leather gloves stretch out at the elbow-careful,” my editor warns. “You are not at the opera!” says one coworker. I sulk at my computer in fingerless wool gloves from Uluru that reach to my elbows-tricky for typing, excellent for warding off air-conditioning chills.
TUESDAY An event at Rockit Bar & Grill with my fashion colleagues calls for above-the-elbow Costume National cotton gloves with a decorative buckle. I am also wearing a gold medallion necklace, a tank top under my dress, and striped pumps. This time, my outfit is edgy enough to dispel any costume feel, and the crowd and context seem right. Unfortunately my officemates had a point about practicality-all appetizers pass me by unless someone is willing to put them in my mouth. (No one is.)
WEDNESDAY At a cocktail party at the Louis Vuitton boutique, I’m in my go-to black strapless dress and the long wool gloves from Uluru again. They suggest that you might have just gotten a bit chilly and have thrown them on, like a pashmina shawl. Twice, strangers compliment me. I feel comfortable and sophisticated, like a modern-day Holly Golightly, and I’ve finally untangled myself from the irony game. I’m still not sure about the monocle, but this fall, it seems that gloves will suit me just fine.
Illustration by Tina Berning