Opera Gloves Are Poised To Be The MVP Of Holiday Party Season

Here’s how to wear them.

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Tiffany Hsu wearing opera gloves
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For an accessory with main character energy and glamour to boot, the opera gloves trend more than fits the bill. It gives Old World charm and romance to any look, and with the holiday season in our midst, an evening glove feels like a good fit for the moment. “I love the extra drama a pair of opera gloves brings,” Cult Gaia Founder Jasmin Larian Hekmat tells TZR. Whether teamed with a cocktail dress or styled beneath a statement top, this set of gloves reliably makes a splash. “I love that opera gloves have been completely repurposed,” Zoe Moderski of Cornelia James says (the British glove-making brand has been around since 1946 and by Royal Appointment since 1978). “Originally used by pretty much every Victorian woman, opera gloves were considered an etiquette must, but today they're used simply because they look great.”

They were also a major trend on the Fall/Winter 2022 runways. At Fendi, Kim Jones accented his collection of frilly lingerie-inspired separates with long gloves made in rich hues of mint green, crimson red, and classic black. Simone Rocha leaned into the nostalgia with flapper-looking dresses accompanied by barely there gloves, showing the delicate approach to the trend. And on the other side of the spectrum, there were brands like Jil Sander and Dion Lee that introduced sturdier leather iterations. Bottega Veneta, meanwhile, debuted translucent sequined gloves that will no doubt come in handy come New Year’s Eve.

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Jil Sander F/W 2022Estrop/Getty Images Entertainment
Simone Rocha F/W 2022Simone Rocha

It’s not just runways and red carpets — the opera gloves trend has trickled down into IRL, with fashion figures giving their stamp of approval on the statement accessory. But how to wear them without feeling overly cinematic? “You can style opera gloves with any type of evening gown or party dress that's sleeveless or strapless,” Nana Jacqueline Founder and Creative Director Jacqueline Zhang says. Color matters too. “I like when gloves match the outfit in color and with a strapless top or a dress. Otherwise I feel like it can look costume-like,” Hekmat says. Also keep in mind that opera gloves can be worn with more than just a dress. “You can wear them with anything, not just evening gowns,” Extreme Cashmere Founder Saskia Dijkstra says. “Try them with shirts, cashmere short sleeve sweaters or even a tank top.” Ahead, a few ideas for how to wear opera gloves during the holiday party season, plus where to find your inaugural pair.

Alongside A LBD

You already know the value of a really great LBD, so reach for your favorite one and accessorize with matching opera gloves. The look is simple but refined and can be reworn a few times throughout the season. Finish off the duo with a pair of strappy heeled sandals and a festive clutch to jazz up the all-neutral look.

For A Twist On Minimalism

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Keep things sleek with a black strapless top and matching trousers. The two pieces are strong enough to stand on their own — but when complemented with a pair of opera gloves, the overall look becomes a moment. You don’t need much by way of other accessories, just a chunky chainlink necklace and heels.

To Add Texture

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If ever there was a time to break out textured opera gloves and sheer lace separates, it’s the holiday party season. Ground the two statement-making pieces with a romantic top and finish with platform heels or even pointed-toe flats.

With A Tea-Length Dress

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Dial up the nostalgia factor with a charming tea-length dress paired with evening gloves and flats (kitten heels would work well here, too). The look reads Breakfast at Tiffany’s without feeling costumeish and gives an elegant twist to holiday party dressing.

For Some Unexpected Color

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If your occasion wear MO is brighter and bolder, go with a pair of colorful opera gloves. Together with a splashy cocktail dress, the combination is lighthearted and ideal for celebrating the festive season. Finish with a classic shoulder bag and heels to ground the look.

With A Matching Set

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Not all holiday parties call for a cocktail dress — if you’re heading to a get-together that’s less formal, incorporate a pair of opera gloves by wearing them with something understated like a matching set or jumpsuit, accented by statement earrings and versatile heels.