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A glove is an accessorising garment that covers up a hand. It is also variously known as cuff, finger mitten, gage, gauntlet, mitt, mitten and muff. To describe close proximity, the phrase hand in glove may be used to mean thick as thieves.

Gloves can be loosely categorised according to purpose:

Gloves which protect the wearer from the elements or from injury

  • gloves used for sport
  • gloves used in industry
  • winter gloves
  • gloves used in hairdressing, chiropody and cosmetology

Gloves which protect that which is being handled from damage or contamination

  • scientific and medical gloves
  • hobbyist's gloves

Fashion gloves

Fashion gloves are manufactured and sold in pairs; each glove is specifically designed for either a right or left hand.

Women's gloves

Gloves were once an essential part of women's street wear and formal wear. Through the mid-20th Century a lady[1] did not "go out" without gloves. Social mores have relaxed considerably and today fashion gloves are generally only an optional accessory, although they are still proscribed for ultra-formal wear.

The length of formal gloves is measured by buttons. A one-button length glove may extend to the wrist, where a sixteen-button length glove extends past the elbow to the shoulder.

Long length opera gloves are also called mousquetaires, due to the buttoned opening which allows the hand to be uncovered without removing the glove.

Men's gloves


  1. The accepted 21st century term for an adult female is "woman", the word "lady" is being used here advisedly.