Roundup: How to wear opera gloves

A few weeks ago, I hunkered down on the couch, with a plate of washed and destemmed grapes and the remote control within reach. By my feet, my fluffball of a poodle sighed, perched like a cute little cherry on top of a swirl of blanket. In other words, it was an evening of endless comfort time opportunities. Instead of making a mad dash to Netflix, I opted to play catch-up on some haute couture shows I’d missed during a busy work week. Of those shows, one that I was most eager to watch, was Valentino. 

I’d caught glimpses of what went down in the gorgeous gilded halls of Rome’s Palais Colonna on social media, and being the Romanophile that I am, I just couldn’t wait to watch the whole thing. From start to finish, Pierpaolo Piccioli pulled out all the stops. (One of my favorite parts, I’d be remiss not to note, happened at the very end, when the designer chose to bring out the wonderful folks behind the handwork.) There was so much love here — towering, sky-high platforms, some mind-boggling lattice work and lots and lots of glitter. Another important observation? The prevalence of opera gloves. 

But Valentino’s show wasn’t the first to bring this trend forward. Once reserved for ultra-fancy evenings at the, well, opera, elbow-length gloves have been having a major moment in fashion for the past year or so. You don’t have to be going to a gala (and chances are, in the middle of this pandemic, you aren’t) to slip on this accessory. In fact, almost a year ago, when the trend had just poked its head through the surface of the fashion stratosphere, Vogue reported that today’s generation “upended the old rules about when, where, and how gloves should be worn.” 

I’m not surprised the trend had a resurgence; I’m surprised it’s still alive and well. I thought, just like the micro-bag craze that swept through the fashion world, opera gloves would also tiptoe out of style and quietly shut the door behind it, not to be opened for at least another decade. But perhaps it never got its chance. Perhaps this trend vroom-vroom-ed without truly taking off. That Vogue article I mentioned? It was penned right before the world as we knew it changed. Opera gloves, in a pandemic-ridden era, made no sense. Perhaps that’s why we hit the pause button. Whatever the reason this micro trend is still around — and validated by the likes of Valentino — I’m for it. And if you’re ready to hop on the bandwagon, here are some spectacular iterations of this historically important accessory you’ll surely love. (Sanitary powdery vinyl need not apply.)

Editor’s note: I don’t earn anything from these recommended products.

Marine Serre

Second Skin print gloves

Manokhi

Elbow-length gloves

MM6

Beige logo sleeve gloves

COS

Long leather gloves

Amazon

Long leather opera gloves

Tender and Dangerous

Neutral Frida Kahlo embroidered gloves

Marine Serre

Printed stretch-jersey gloves

Manokhi

Mano long leather gloves

Sleeper

Zephyr Ruffle Gloves in Pink

AUNÉ

Trompe L’oeil print mesh glove scarf

Manokhi

Geometric print gloves

L’Autre Chose

Long sleeve leather gloves

MM6 Maison Margiela

Zebra-pattern longline gloves

Isa Boulder

White & Beige Argyle gloves