One of the most expensive, as well as most important, items in dress is that of gloves; but a woman who knows the art of caring for her gloves not only knows how to diminish her expenses, but how to add to her personal attractiveness.
There is as much charm of personality to be found in a modern lady's glove as there ever was in the days of chivalry. It is, however, a charm carefully acquired, and not one of happy chance; and it is the result of a certain expenditure of thought and taste rather than of cash.
One good pair of gloves, costing the price of two pairs of cheap ones, will last the time, meanwhile giving pleasure and comfort, of three pairs of low-priced ones, which must be, in the nature of things, of poor material badly put together. Now and again it is possible to buy gloves cheaply at sales, but even here experience shows the advantage to be only with the woman possessing hands of " out sizes " - that is to say, she must be able to wear gloves either too small or too large for the average hand.
But the main point for the economical woman to consider is the quality of her gloves, as only a good quality will wear and fit well and be worth while cleaning. Do not make the mistake of buying too small a size; the gloves wear out much more quickly, and, moreover, the idea of making the hand look small is defeated, since a tightly fitting glove gives an appearance of undue size and bad shape to the unfortunate member it is imprisoning.
Examine a glove to see that the stitching is perfect, and the skin is of even and fine texture, and that of the thumb corresponding with the main part. See also that the thumb is well set and gusseted in place. For economy's sake choose, when possible, the same neutral tints and shades that wear well and with most costumes. There is a certain charm as well as economy in having one's own colour.
As with corsets, boots, and shoes, so with gloves - their future life depends upon the first wearing. Never put on new gloves in a hurry, but give them always a leisurely dress rehearsal. First sew on the buttons. In hot weather powder the hands, and sprinkle a little in the gloves. Turn them back an inch or so from the opening, and gently insert the fingers, taking care that the glove sets so that the seams are not in any way twisted. Stroke down evenly, having the fingers well in place before inserting the thumb. If the glove is well-chosen and fitting it will not stretch and show white at the seams. A properly priced glove is, of course, guaranteed. Button the second button first, and the first button last.
When removing the glove, turn back from the wrist and ease off the fingers gradually. Smooth into shape whilst the skin is warm and pliable, and, after leaving to air awhile, put away without folding.
The ready stitch here saves the whole glove, and not merely nine stitches, since it is impossible to wear a badly torn glove. Mend with cotton, and not with silk, because cotton is not so aggressive, does not cut the skin of the glove so readily, and holds better than does its richer looking relative. Of course, silk gloves must be mended with silk. A large tear is best mended with buttonhole-stitch. Observe the close, narrow stitch elsewhere on the glove, and copy. As little of the texture as possible must be taken up by the needle. Work all round the tear. Sometimes it is advisable to put a bit of skin of the same colour beneath the rent, and this must be caught up with the second piece of cotton, which is used to draw together smoothly the edges of the buttonhole, at the same time attaching the piece of supporting skin placed beneath. Finish off on the wrong side, and cut away neatly all loose threads and the unnecessary part of the hidden patch.
Generally speaking, as a few pence covers the charge of a professional cleaner, it is false economy to do this work at home. At the same time, it is not advisable to allow a glove to become very soiled. The day of sending to the cleaner's can be postponed for a long time with care, and a dainty dresser keeps some such powder as the following at hand, using it when her gloves are on her hands. Mix equal parts of French chalk and fullers' earth together for light-tinted gloves, or use French chalk alone for white gloves and fullers' earth alone for all shades of brown.
A very stale bit of bread, which can go through the mincer or otherwise be reduced to powder, will freshen up the soiled tips of fingers; a paste of ordinary starch will remove a stain of oil and grease; powdered starch serves the same purpose as French chalk; and a pennyworth of bran made very hot in the oven will do excellent service. In all dry cleaning use a bit of clean flannel, and change flannel or "cleaner" the moment either show soil.
These hints are meant for the woman who wishes to keep her gloves in good condition as long as possible, and who then elects to send them to the cleaner's when they are really soiled; but there are many who like to save on this item of expense by doing all the glove cleaning at home.
In a forthcoming article some further methods of home cleaning will be dealt with.