Above left: lace fingerless gloves that may have been worn by ladies at a dance or tea Above middle: white gloves that could have been worn by a lady Above far right: white gloves that could have been worn by a gentleman at a dance as to not soil a ladies hands.
Gloves were worn by both men and women during the Civil War period. There are a few patterns for sewing gloves for men and crochet and knitting patterns for ladies gloves.
Men’s gauntlets were made of good quality leather and were natural color. These gloves were used during the war to protect the men’s hands, especially if it came down to using a sword.
Men would also wear gloves when dancing with a lady. Touching a lady’s ungloved hand was not acceptable and also wearing a glove helped to protect the lady’s hand from sweat which could soil her gown.
Ladies would wear gloves when they left the house, especially for church, a dance, or to the theater. Gloves were not worn at all times, especially when eating. It has also been noted that white gloves were worn during dances, but ladies were also known to wear gloves to match their dresses.
Gloves worn during the Civil War were shorter gloves, but for evening wear they could extend to the wrists. Some were attached at the wrists by buttons, some were laced. They were made of kid leather (soft leather) which was the most common material, but could also be made of fabric. During the day, different colors could be worn, but at formal gatherings or evening wear white was the proper color.
As far as netted or lace gloves for ladies, several articles suggest that these were more popular during 1840’s and 1850’s and trickled into the Civil Era a little, but were mostly worn at this time by older women who couldn’t let go of their youth, but another source states that netted/lace gloves were acceptable at tea parties or church services.