In the beginning of the eighteenth century, gloves were no longer a luxury article available only to the wealthy and those of high social status. The expansion of the glovemaking trade and increasingly well-organised production in such centres as London, Paris and Antwerp had made gloves into a mass-market accessory. Most gloves were knitted or made of soft animal skins or silk, with the finest quality articles being embroidered and decorated.
Gloves would often be worn in Georgian England for purely practical reasons: thus mittens or knitted wool gloves would be worn by both sexes in cold weather, and leather gloves, sometimes in gauntlet style, would be worn while riding. Socially, it was common for both men and women to wear gloves to evening events, although men would generally remove theirs once indoors. For most of the eighteenth century, women’s sleeves were long, and most female gloves were shaped in the same way as male gloves, to cover the hand as far as the wrist. The advent of short sleeves from the 1790s increased the popularity of long ladies’ gloves that reached above the elbow.
Links to resources:
The Worshipful Company of Glovers www.glovecollectioncatalogue.org