How to wear opera gloves in the summer: Style Notes

It might’ve been Valentino that solidified the trend for me. More specifically: its spring-summer 2021 haute couture show, set in gorgeous gilded halls of Rome’s Palais Colonna. 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 brought 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 two years. Back in 2020, 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.” And now, two years later, we’re still seeing the trend crop up on runways like Balenciaga, Christian Siriano, and Fendi.

Of course, gloves are hardly a warm-weather accessory — especially in California, where mercury’s been exceeding triple digits lately. But there are ways, if you’re devoted enough, to wear it. Like, these Cult Gaia gloves. The fabric is breathable and thin, and the finger loops offer a great summer alternative to a more traditional design. Cult Gaia sells a dress that perfectly matches the gloves, but I take a stab at creating a more dynamic, layered look. So, I juxtaposed the elegance of the opera gloves with a ribbed jersey tank top from Atoir and a linen skirt by Jacquemus. The skirt’s straight-cut tailoring and draped waistband adds a certain je ne sais quoi to the entire look. 

The best part of this outfit is that you can pluck the formula and play around with different pieces here. Try a strapless top instead of a tank top, for example. Swap out the linen skirt with denim cutoffs or knee-grazing tailored shorts. Make it your own. And now, if you’re ready to hop on the opera-glove trend bandwagon, here are all the deets on where I snagged my outfit and opera gloves — plus a few spectacular iterations of this historically important accessory you’ll surely love. (Sanitary powdery vinyl need not apply.)

Shop My Look

Note: The Jimmy Choo Ria 65mm mules are currently sold out everything, but I’ve provided a close alternative!

More Opera Gloves!

Shop these easy-breezy gloves that won’t have you breaking too much of a sweat in the summer.

LA-based journalist and blogger sharing her deep-seated, honest love for fashion and travel. Check in every week for new stories of exploration and roundups!

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