It's opera season, and the gloves are on, at least for opening night at the opera, the symphony, and other formal events. Here is what you need to know when wearing opera gloves (also known as evening gloves) for any occasion.
• Gloves should be kept on when shaking hands (as in a reception line), dancing, or presenting your hand to be kissed, but not when dining.
• When you sit down to dinner, you should take off your gloves, fold them in half, and put them under the napkin on your lap. When dinner is over, you may put them back on at the table.
• To remove your gloves, first push down the armpiece to your hand, then remove the glove by pulling on the hand portion. To put gloves on, first work in the hand from the wrist, then gradually smooth the glove up the arm, rather than pulling from the top.
• Gloves may be worn while drinking, though it's better to remove your gloves, or partially remove them if possible, to keep from spilling liquids on them.
• The basic rule for the length of all gloves is as follows: The shorter the sleeve, the longer the glove. Opera gloves are, therefore, properly worn with sleeveless or short-sleeved cocktails dresses or strapless, sleeveless (with straps), or short-sleeved evening gowns.
• If your opera gloves are mousquetaires, the popular style with a three-button wrist opening, you can partially remove them by undoing the buttons and pulling your hand out through the opening. The empty glove hand can then be rolled up neatly to wrist level and either tucked inside the glove or under your bracelet, if you are wearing one.
• White, ivory, beige, and taupe are the traditional colors for opera gloves and are appropriate for virtually any occasion of which opera gloves are worn.
• Black opera gloves should not be worn with white or light-colored gowns, only with dark-colored, or bright-colored clothing.
• It is permissible to wear rings or an important bracelet over a glove.
Lisa Mirza Grotts is a recognized etiquette expert, an on-air contributor, and the author of A Traveler's Passport to Etiquette. She is a former director of protocol for the city and county of San Francisco and the founder and CEO of The AML Group (www.AMLGroup.com), certified etiquette and protocol consultants. Her clients range from Stanford Hospital to Cornell University and Levi Strauss. She has been quoted by Condé Nast Traveler, InStyle magazine, and the Los Angeles Times. To learn more about Lisa, follow her on www.Twitter.com/LisaGrotts and www.Facebook.com/LisaGrotts.
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