Fine leather gloves were once a staple of a lady’s wardrobe. In Victorian times, watching a lady carefully unbutton and remove a glove might set a man’s heart racing.
When writing about a woman wearing such gloves, it is helpful to know how she would properly put on or remove them. Below is an instruction for putting on, and removing, a brand new pair of gloves, from The New Little Giant Cyclopedia of Ready Reference, 1903:
A great deal depends on the first putting on of gloves. Have the hands perfectly clean, dry and cool, and never put on new gloves while the hands are warm or damp. When a person is troubled with moist hands, it is well to powder them before trying on the gloves; but in most cases, if the hands are cool and dry, this is not needed.
First, work on the fingers, keeping the thumb outside of the glove, and the wrist of the glove turned back. When the fingers are in smoothly, put in the thumb, and work the glove on very carefully; then, placing the elbow on the knee, work on the hand. When this is done, smooth down the wrist, and button the second button first, then the third, and so on to the end. Then smooth down the whole glove and fasten the first button.
Fastening the first button last, when putting on a glove for the first time, makes a great deal of difference in the fit, although it may seem but a very little thing. It does not strain the part of the glove that is easiest to strain at first, and prevents the enlarging of the button hole, either of which is sure to take place if you begin at the first button to fasten the glove.
When removing your gloves, never begin at the tips of the fingers to pull them off, but turn back the wrist and pull off carefully, which will, of course, necessitate their being wrong side out. Turn them right side out, turn the thumbs in, smooth them lengthwise in as near as possible the shape they would be if on the hands, and place them away with a strip of white Canton flannel between if the gloves are light, but if dark colored the flannel may be omitted. Never roll gloves into each other in a wad, for they will never look so well after.