Friday Fun Victorian Style

Gloves were an important accessory for both men and women in the Victorian era.

As was the case with most elements of Victorian life, there were many rules of etiquette regarding the wearing of gloves. Of those below, which one do you think is untrue?

1. Always wear your gloves in a theater.

2. Always remove your gloves in church.

3. Where dancing is expected to take place, no one should go without new kid gloves.

4. Neither ladies or gentlemen should ever wear gloves at table (when dining).

5. You may wear gloves at table if, for some reason, your hands are unfit to be seen.

6. Never offer to shake hands with a lady in the street if you are wearing dark gloves.

7. Do not remove your gloves to shake hands.

8. Great care should be taken to see that your gloves are well made and fit neatly.

• • •

Leave your guess in a comment. To make this more fun, use only your current knowledge rather than performing a search on Google or making a dash for your reference books.

At the end of the day, I’ll update the post to include the answer and leave it in a comment. If you want to know the answer, you could subscribe to the comments on this post.

Have fun guessing!

• • •

Update and Answer

I had such fun reading the guesses left in the comments.

Four of those who left comments guessed correctly: Lacie, Loree, careann, and Gabrielle, who chose #2. The rule in Martine’s Hand-book of Etiquette, originally published in 1866, is, “Always wear your gloves in church.”

For the benefit of those who were curious about #6, the reason Arthur Martine gave for the rule in his book about a man never offering to shake hands with a woman if he’s wearing dark gloves is that he might soil her white ones.

Regarding rule #5, Martine didn’t elaborate on what would make a person’s hands unfit to be seen. I wonder if my age spots would qualify. 🙂

• • •

The royalty-free image above comes from the Victorian Fashions book and CD-rom from Dover Publications that is part of my reference library.

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About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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22 Responses to Friday Fun Victorian Style

  1. Uh, number 6, I guess. It sound so ominous…but then again, that probably means it IS true. LOL.

    Happy Friday!

  2. I’ll go with # 5. You may wear gloves at table if, for some reason, your hands are unfit to be seen.
    Just a guess but think the others may be true.
    Wilma

  3. Oh, what the heck #3. I have no idea. 😉
    ~ Wendy

  4. #2? I really love these Friday questions, Keli!

  5. Melissa Tagg says:

    Okay, I don’t know if this is the untrue one, but it made me laugh: 5. You may wear gloves at table if, for some reason, your hands are unfit to be seen. I can’t stop thinking of funny reasons why someone’s hand may be unfit to be seen!

    I’m excited to hear the answer…

  6. I think it’s #6, Keli, because if a gentleman was outdoors his dark gloves might be dirty, right? And it would be unseemly to shake a lady’s hand with a dirty glove, right? haha

    You know, my Nana never left the house without wearing a hat AND gloves until the 1970’s. I’ll always remember that about her.

  7. Okay. Self-editing. Couldn’t let it pass.

    “Were.” At least I think. Keli, quick! Help! 🙂

    Happy weekend!

    • Here we are again, me tagging along with no comment support from WP. I am inclined to think #6 … although I am on the border line with #5. In the forties and fifties, gloves were still an important part of a woman’s wardrobe. I remember how delightful it was to go through my mom’s glove drawer, how special I felt when I got a pair for a special event, and how important it was when I was a young adult to be sure and wear good gloves that matched your handbag, shoes … and often your hat 🙂 Now how funny is that ??

  8. Keli Gwyn says:

    I’m having fun reading the answers–and the reasons for them. 🙂

  9. Donna Pyle says:

    How fun! I’m guessing #5 is untrue.

  10. Loree Huebner says:

    I don’t know…I’m going to go with #2.

  11. careann says:

    I have absolutely no idea on this one, Keli. I’ll guess at #2 just because it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. If ladies’ hats, unlike men’s, were kept on in church, maybe their gloves were suppose to be, too???

  12. What a great trivia question! I am going to guess #2 is not true, simply because Sundays were the day to be seen in your latest and most fashionable ensemble and gloves were such an important part of the look. Just a guess! I remember wearing gloves on Easter as a little girl and you can still find them around that time at some stores, but it is definitely a dying trend. I look forward to the answer!

  13. I am guessing never eat with gloves on. BTW, I have my great, great grandmother’s white kid gloves with the little buttons plus the blue velvet case they sit in. There is a hook that closed the buttons into their holes. They are so soft and so tiny. My four year old couldn’t get them on her hands.

    Fun, Keli.

  14. Sherrinda says:

    Oh goodness, I think it is the dark gloves. Surely it doesn’t matter the color. 🙂

    I think I would have to wear gloves all the time, as my hands are rarely at their best. Sigh…

  15. Keli Gwyn says:

    I had such fun reading the guesses left in the comments.

    Four of those who left comments guessed correctly: Lacie, Loree, careann, and Gabrielle, who chose #2. The rule in Martine’s Hand-book of Etiquette, originally published in 1866, is, “Always wear your gloves in church.”

    For the benefit of those who were curious about #6, the reason Arthur Martine gave for the rule in his book about a man never offering to shake hands with a woman if he’s wearing dark gloves is that he might soil her white ones.

    Regarding rule #5, Martine didn’t elaborate on what would make a person’s hands unfit to be seen. I wonder if my age spots would qualify. 🙂

  16. i’m bummed that i missed out on this one!! next week then!

    thanks for your help with my google reader issue. looks like it’s all back online the way it’s supposed to be. 🙂

  17. Anne Payne says:

    I’m sorry I missed this one! Hopefully I have that fixed now 🙂 Looking forward to next time.

  18. Oh my goodness! Those rules sound tedious. lol I never would’ve guessed #2!

  19. I enjoyed reading not long ago that Jackie Kennedy favored gloves because she had a nail-biting habit.

    “Unfit to be seen at dinner.” 🙂

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