Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Shorter the Sleeves, the Longer the Gloves

[Ladies Home Journal 1951 ad for Van Raalte Gloves]

The Van Raalte glove ads always reminded women of the main glove rule, "The shorter the sleeves, the longer the gloves."

Did any of you wear above-the-elbow gloves with a strapless dress to the prom? 

I did but I never realized that wearing gloves as a "career woman" was as important as wearing my panty girdle back in the early 1960s when I was hired as a receptionist at a large religious publishing company in Nashville. 

Soon after beginning work one of the young editorial assistants firmly suggested she go with me to Cain-Sloan department store on our lunch break to help me choose a pair. 

They were soft black leather wrist-length gloves and I wish I still had them. I was wearing them here -- on my honeymoon -- with the tailored red wool suit my mother made me.

And I was wearing my mother's mink stole. You can bet I felt sophisticated, even in my white harlequin glasses. [I wrote about it here, at my old blog Across the Way.]

I didn't know any women then who thought wearing fur was wrong. All of my girlfriends wished we could afford furs.

I have to admit that if someone had given me this gorgeous chinchilla coat that was in the Ladies Home Journal of 1951, I would have worn it proudly then.

I know--bad, bad, bad. But we didn't know any better, and honestly, speaking from first hand experience of our son's utterly mean tempered pet chinchilla, I might not turn down the coat now. 

After a few months of him always biting the hand that tried to feed him -- me -- I ignored my son's tears and begged the pet shop to take him back.

And believe me, I knew it was a him. The chinchilla knew he was a him too and was very proud of it. [Don't ask.]

So while today if I could squeeze into this to-die-for red wool suit, I would not buy the Persian-lamb collar, or the fur of any other animal.

But it's best not to tempt me with an offer of a chinchilla coat. 

And I still miss the ratty old mink jacket that I left in Nashville when we moved to Florida. I bought it for $40 at a yard sale back in the 1970s, and nothing was warmer on a cold windy winter day when I took Tex and Penelope, and later Otis and Milo for walks through the valley. 

I may have to haunt the estate sales when we move back to Tennessee. Is wearing old fur coats PC now? If I don't wear them out in public and risk getting paint thrown on me? If I only wear a ratty old yard sale one in the privacy of my own back yard? Isn't that just a thrifty form of recycling?

What do you think?


  1. While I'm not the age wear I ever wear long gloves, I did wear the short white ones to church on Easter! My grandma used to buy me and my sister matching rabbit fur coats, too. My mom has a vintage mink coat that was passed down to her and she does wear it to church once in awhile, or to fancy, special occasions.

  2. LOL! as to your experience with the mean chinchilla!!! :D
    my aunt mabel always wore a mink stole. she also always smelled heavenly. I remember thinking she was the most glamorous lady I knew! and you're right. we didn't know back then. now we do. but I think you would look very warm and lovely walking around your own back yard in an old one.
    I am sad though... to see that the big fashion ads are advertising furs again... apparently with NO guilt at all.
    THAT to me is very disturbing. and we fought so hard to save those baby seals.
    as to the gloves... I loved them! I had elbow length black ones to go with a little Audrey Hepburn black dress.
    and I loved the small just~at~the~wrist~bone white pair she wore in funny face. so I had a pair of those too! they were my all time favorite!
    love this post! XOXO♥

  3. I loved this post! I miss the days of ladies donning their hats and gloves to "go to town". You just didn't go WITHOUT them. The last gloves I spotted were short white ones on all the Homecoming queen candidates back in the 70s--then I never saw anyone wear any anymore except maybe at beauty pageants and of course little girls on Easter Sunday. And weddings of course, I wore white lace gloves at our wedding.I remember the old panty girdles and the garter belts and nylons. Getting your first pair of nylons was SUCH A BIG BIG DEAL and a big step in becoming a young lady.And we wore SLIPS under our skirts and dresses back then too......whatever happened to SLIPS??!! No one wears them anymore....and some women NEED THOSE slips--you can see right through many of the thin dresses especially in summer. Good will and thrift shops have racks and racks of old shimmery lace trimmed slips, seems like everybody suddenly decided "we dont' need those anymore"--and donated all the slips to Goodwill! ha ha ha LOL

  4. I never have had a fur coat. I always wondered why the furry part wasn't on the inside, where it would feel really warm. I never had a fur coat, and don't recall my mom having one. But, we had fake fur collars on our coats that were pretty. I also had something called a muff, which was a ring of furry material to put my hands into. It was fake fur, and white -- maybe it was supposed to look like polar bear fur! Like the little white gloves I wore to church, the muff was just something to have to keep track of, and kind of a pain. But cute!

  5. I have a fur coat that my mom bought me years ago from a consignment shop - it only comes out for very special occasions, like the black tie charity ball we attend at the end of each winter. Love that photo from your honeymoon - gorgeous!!

  6. Dewena, If it's an old coat wear has to be used for some good, why not to keep warm. I love gloves, wish they were back in's tempting to wear them when shopping ...since it's easy to pick up germs with our hands. .My guardian angel had all kinds of fur coats was the style back in the 50-60's. Once she came to our house with a sable know where one is connected to the next one and they look whole. My little brother said, "Mrs. Russell, where did you get them squirrels?" LOL He was 4 and did not know. We still laugh about that. I loved the pictures. Blessing to you, xoxo, Susie

  7. I'm laughing along with Tammy about that meanie chinchilla. Truth be told, chinchilla is my favorite kind of fur. SO soft!! So go ahead and wear it if they're mean lol.

    I have one fur now. It is a reversible mink jacket that is pretty versatile. There is a story behind how I came to own it. We were in Manhattan on a Saturday and suddenly it got cold. The only store that was open was a fur store! I did have a beautiful mink coat for several years but about 2 years ago sold it at a consignment shop. I got $1000 for it! These days, I would never buy a fur but I wear the one I have ocassionally, but not often, as we are not here when it's really cold.

    As for gloves, love the way they look but rarely wore them. Beautiful pic of you on your honeymoon!!


  8. I always think gloves can look so elegant!
    These days I just wear them to keep my hands warm in cooler weather.

    Lovely to see your honeymoon photo.

    Enjoy the up-coming weekend

    All the best Jan

  9. I love the picture of you on your honeymoon; you look so elegant and stylish and happy!

    I didn't wear the glove or the minks - guess I missed those eras, but I do like the idea of wearing long, silky gloves with sleeveless party dresses. The minks, not so much (your scary chinchilla story dismissed that idea instantly!).

    Wishing you a very cozy weekend,

  10. I can just see you in your prom dress and long gloves, Dewena. No gloves for me worn to the prom, but it sounds very elegant to me. I've always loved the look of gloves. You look so stylish wearing your mother's mink stole. And that red wool suit is very cute. :)


  11. Oh- I wore the gloves and I wore fur coats back years and years ago when EVERYONE wore them. It just felt glamorous and sophisticated to do that. From mini-skirts to I hit all the fashion highs back then. lol You sure were cute in your honeymoon picture. xo Diana

  12. My mom was born in 1931 and gloves and furs were a staple. I grew up swooning over her collections. I actually wore her mink coat a few times...years more of course...and you are right. It's the warmest thing I have ever put on. I would love to see gloves come back though, frankly, I'd love to see the idea of "getting dressed" come back,b ut I am afraid that ship has sailed.

  13. I remember my older sisters wearing those long gloves with there can-can prom dresses, Deweena. They were so beautiful.
    You look every bit the socialite on your honeymoon. I bet your hubby was so proud!
    Now, as far as furs go my opinion is that it is a cultural thing largely. I lived and worked in the Yukon and the NWT where it can be -45 for weeks and many people still wear furs there. In the gallery that I managed we sold Inuit and Dene handmade product. This included seal skin kamiks and many leather fur trimmed mitts. This was a large source of income for those in the Arctic. I personally have a collection of several lambskin coats and a couple of furs. I say wear your coat about walking the dogs, but sorry to say it might be too risky to wear in the city!

  14. Oh yeah, I wore gloves that went up over my elbows. They had tiny pearl buttons on the inside of the wrists. I had a raccoon coat that belonged to my aunt - she bought it as a working gal during the war. I don't have a problem with wearing fur and have made fur garments. We lived in the north and it just made sense.

  15. I enjoyed this post. I love style and class. I wish it was something women and men cared about more today. I'd rather see fur instead of PJ's at the market. ;-)
    I love the idea of bring back the gloves, so fun and classy!

  16. Dewena,
    I always get a chuckle from your posts....Lol, nasty sister had one and it was very sweet! I didn't wear long gloves but I remember shopping for short white ones for Easter and Girl Scout Sunday! I've never owned a fur but if you find an old one I don't see why you can't wear it! Enjoy the rest of the weekend. I should get to bed, we lose an hour tonight and it's late!

  17. I once wore short white gloves while helping my husband to roof the overhang we built over our deck. The asphalt shingles were too rough on my hands and I didn't have any garden gloves, so there I was, blue jeans and t-shirt and white cotton dress gloves, pounding roofing nails with my hammer. Chic.

  18. Dewena,
    I can relate to the Chinchilla! Growing up a neighbor Lady raised them for the purpose of coat making, and yes they made the most beautiful furs. On another occasion when we lived in North Carolina there was a fur sale going on in a very lovely boutique and my Mom treated herself to what was affordable. She bought me a rabbit coat and herself a fox. I totally understand all of the thinking of another time period and quite frankly I miss most of it!

  19. You look so stylish in your suit and gloves and fur and those glasses, Dewena!!! My mother always said I was born in the wrong era. Early on I loved fur, back before it was politically incorrect. I always thought a mink coat like the one Marilyn Monroe wore would be so chic. It never happened, I could never afford one. As with your chinchilla, I found out mink were very vicious semi aquatic critters, we have them at the lake. They can take down a 35 pound dog.

    I have a faux fur scarf that is so pretty. I don't think anyone is fooled but still, there are some really opinionated people out there.


  20. I remember wearing gloves to church on Sundays, and my mother had the long gloves that I used to love wearing. They felt so cool and soft on my arms. I have a fur hat that belonged to my grandmother, but I don't know what kind of fur it is. Being fashionable was so lovely in those days. Not at all like the 'fashion' of today.

  21. I was in love with my grandma's driving gloves. I've never known anyone else who wore them. If I think about it I can still smell those gloves, the leather and the smell of Grandma's hand cream together...

    I inherited a fur jacket from my aunt, her sister. I kept it around for years just to wonder over, but it was pretty tattered and I didn't want to make a spectacle of myself anyway, wearing it, so I gave it to the thrift store where I trust someone found a prize in it.

  22. I have several real fur collars I've picked up at consignment stores and would love to sew them on a winter coat. They're super soft and warm. And I would just say I was "honoring the animal's life" to any who might question it. What's the alternative -- throw it out? No, I wouldn't buy a new one, but I think it's okay to wear a vintage one. And oh, those gloves, just love them! I only wore short white gloves as part of my Easter outfit growing up. The long gloves with the short coat sleeves looks so elegant. Probably not warm enough for the Michigan winters though! xo Deborah

  23. I love gloves and hats (although hats look horrible on me). Clothing styles were much more elegant back in the 40s, 50s and early 60s. I do miss those styles and wish they would come back around like everything else has! Love you sweet lady!!

  24. I agree with Benita about the elegance of the styles back then! :)

  25. Gloves are very elegant, in my opinion. Fur coats... I think they are quite fancy and cute ♥

  26. I've never worn a long glove. I can only imagine how elegant it must make you feel.

  27. I have my grandmother's mink coat and wear it when it's bone breaking cold. Grandmother worked HARD to afford that coat and I wear it with pride and in honor/memory of her. If someone throws paint (or whatever) on me for wearing it, they'd better be prepared to make friends with Big Bertha in jail because I *will* do everything in my power to send them there. I'm find with folks having their own opinions but *not* when they intrude on my rights.
    As to gloves...still wear them...leather, silk, cotton...dress up, warmth, farm work so yes to gloves as well.

  28. I have gloves from dear ones but they all had hands a bit smaller than mine. I think about popping the gloves on Ebay to find them new homes...but thus far I have resisted. I wore little white gloves to church as a child, gloves at formal dances and then they disappeared from my life, unless garden gloves count. Sweet blog you have...nice to have wandered in here.


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