Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Language of Gloves

From Geri Walton:
Women first began to wear gloves as a fashion accessory in the 13th century, despite many people viewing them as a display of vanity. These gloves were made from linen and silk and reached to the elbow. Sometime in the 1600s, gloves known as “chicken-skin gloves” became popular and were worn by both sexes. They were made of “thin, strong leather … dressed with almonds and spermaceti [a white waxy substance produced by sperm whales], and … the softening, balmy nature [of them] soften[ed], clear[ed], smooth[ed], and [made] white the hands and arms.”[5] Some people liked these chicken gloves so much they occasionally slept in them to ‘bleach the[ir] hands’ properly.”[6] Because of their name you might think the gloves were made from chicken skin, but German women gave them the name because of “their innocent, effectual quality,”[7] and if the gloves were made from chicken skin at all, it didn’t last long as they were quickly superseded by other materials, such as the skin of unborn calves. (Read more.)

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