Gloves have been around since, well, forever. They’re so old that the earliest known examples have no doubt disintegrated into dust long ago. Because of that incredibly lengthy existence, though, they’ve come quite a long way since their purely utilitarian history finding use in all manner of things, whether it be protection from the elements, in the midst of battle, establishing status or position, sporting activities and—of course—fashion.

Gloves have been a certified and colloquially “fashionable” item since the beginning of the 20th century with the advent of the sewing machine that paved the way for mass-production. Before that, they were sewn by hand, which is, of course, time-consuming (and, in other words, costly). Traditionally, a man’s gloves were a gentlemanly accessory, denoting status, grace and financial status. With traditional depictions of social status evolving (or simply becoming outmoded) gloves have found a rightful place as functional and fashionable accessories isolated mainly to the winter months.

While you might only wear gloves during one part of the year—the part we, in the northern hemisphere, are currently in—they’re without a doubt a necessity. In fact, there’s nothing more irritating than leaving the house on a freezing cold day only to realise that you’ve forgotten your gloves and there’s no turning back as you’re most likely late for whatever it might be.

With various materials, different constructions, styles and general care advice, this is what to look for when buying gloves. From identifying the best winter gloves, to understanding how gloves are made, this is the Complete Guide to Buying the Best Gloves.

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Tags: leather, skiing, gore-tex, gucci, nike, winter-style, winter-fashion, gloves