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Wearing Gloves: Glove Lengths

Martha Stewart Weddings, Summer 2001

Gloves are measured in inches from the base of the thumb to the top of the glove. Each inch is called a button.

Traditionally, this length extends 8 inches from the base of the thumb. Recently, longer elbow gloves up to 12 inches have become fashionable, particularly for bridesmaids. This cotton pair is edged with a fine pearl cord.

Typically 16 inches from the base of the thumb to the upper arm, opera gloves may extend up to 23 inches. The name may have originated in the nineteenth century, when ladies often wore long kid gloves to the opera.

Four to 6 inches, ending below the elbow, is the standard length for store-bought gloves. In the 1950s, classic white gloves were essential for the well-dressed woman. This pair incorporates nylon for a sleek, smooth fit.

Shorties rise up to 2 inches from the base of the thumb. Fresh and feminine, they were worn by Audrey Hepburn with her ballerina-length wedding dress in "Funny Face" in 1957. This leather pair has a bow at the wrist.