Nowadays most people only ever wear gloves in the dead of winter to keep the chilly air at bay, but as recent as two- or three- hundred years ago it would have been unthinkable to venture out with one’s hands bare. To shake a hand or greet an acquaintance without gloves on would have been considered rude and crass, but over the years, as formality has waned, so has the wearing of gloves.
Along with many other accessories, gloves used to be rigidly coded for different times and places, with many of these “special” gloves being extremely hard to find these days. The various incarnations ran the full gamut of formality, all the way from court appearances to a weekend at one’s country cottage. These include the famous “kid gloves,” wore with white-tie formal wear (now commonly made of cotton or calf instead of the namesake goat), grey buckskin for morning dress, yellow chamois or black calf for city wear, and brown pigskin for the country.
Gloves are something which have always both fascinated and vexed me – I have particularly small hands, so while I love the idea of gloves I often find them ill-fitting and unenjoyable to wear. Enter Chester Jefferies. Based in Dorset for almost a century, Chester Jefferies supplies made-to-order gloves to gents worldwide. They offer a full range of dress, sport, equestrian, driving, and everyday gloves for men and women in too many styles to name. Most models allow you to choose from a variety to leathers (cape, hogskin, deerskin, chamois, &c.) in colors ranging from the typical blacks and browns to greens, blues, purples, reds, and any other color you can imagine. And that’s just for the outside – they have an equally versatile series of options for linings, including silk, wool, chamois, and fleece for whatever climate you might inhabit.
Their typical MTO option asked you to measure around your knuckles and to indicate if you are a male or female, but for only a twenty pound one-time fee you can trace your hand and have the gloves made completely to specifications. I’m currently planning on ordering a pair in the next few weeks in either blue or green cape with a wool/cashmere lining for the winter. Anyone have experience with CJ already and want to offer any advice? I’ll certainly post a review when they come in, and hopefully my days of cold fingers and ill-fitting gloves are over.