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Terry Foreman  •  Link

The Symbolism of Gloves in the 17th Century, By Deborah Swift

" In the 16th and 17th centuries so much etiquette developed around them that men’s gloves in particular grew wider and more decorative as they were so often carried rather than worn. It was taboo to offer to shake a hand wearing gloves, or to accept a gift in a glove. Nor was it acceptable to remove them with the teeth. Approaching an altar in Church, men had to remove their gloves, and the right glove had to be removed when coming into the presence of a social superior as a mark of respect. The keeping on of your gloves indicated that you retained power by declining physical contact, whereas the removal meant you deferred to a higher position....

"From the symbolic use of gloves the custom grew up of presenting them to people of distinction on special occasions. The wardrobe accounts for Charles I record the making of more than 1,000 pairs of gloves during a three-year period."


Terry Foreman  •  Link

Not all men carried or wore stylish gloves in the 17th Century. Gentlemen wore or carried gloves.

E.g. in 1667 -- having risen in the world -- Samuel Pepys Esqr: (so John Evelyn has addressed him in letters) remarks concerning a fellow-vocalist that "[Benjamin] Wallington...did sing a most excellent bass, and yet a poor fellow, a working goldsmith, that goes without gloves to his hands [i.e. in readiness]. http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1667/09/15/

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Gloves in the 17th century were indeed a feature of both women and men of the the higher classes

(See *The Ephemeral History of Perfume: Scent and Sense in Early Modern England*, By Holly Dugan. Chapter Five: Oiled in Ambergris: Ambergris, Gloves, London's Luxury Market

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.