Opera gloves: How practical is the Met Gala's breakout red carpet trend?

Opera gloves were the takeaway trend on the Met Gala red carpet. (Getty Images)
Opera gloves were the takeaway accessory trend on the Met Gala red carpet. (Getty Images)

Long reserved for the wealthy elite, opera gloves haven’t exactly been in the modern fashion lexicon in recent decades, but trust a celebrity endorsement to resurrect a red carpet micro trend.

Sure, Audrey Hepburn’s black satin opera gloves in Breakfast At Tiffany’s sparked hundreds of copycats when the film was first released in 1961, but when Gigi Hadid accessorised her cream Prada gown with black, vinyl, elbow-length gloves for the Met Gala in September last year? It sparked a snowball effect that cemented the opera gloves trend as one to watch for 2022.

The autumn/winter 2022 fashion shows only confirmed that the opera gloves trend won’t be going anywhere this year too: everyone from Acne Studios, to Dolce & Gabbana, to Valentino sent their models down the catwalks in the long-line style.

Since then, the red carpet has been awash with the elegant style (if you can’t wear them then, when can you?). Demi Moore, Priyanka Chopra and Alexa Chung all endorsed the elegant long-line accessories by rocking up in opera gloves to the British Fashion Awards in November, whilst Millie Bobby Brown, Lea Seydoux and Sienna Miller all tried the trend for the BAFTAs 2022 red carpet.

Audrey Hepburn on the set of Breakfast at Tiffany's, wearing opera gloves
British actress Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly on the set of Breakfast at Tiffany's, wearing her character's now-famous elbow-length opera gloves. (Corbis via Getty Images)

And for the final red carpet seal of approval, the Met Gala, whose ‘gilded glamour’ theme was the ideal setting for such a frivolous yet fantastic accessory. From co-chair Blake Lively’s colour-changing elbow-length iterations, to Karlie Kloss’ black lace take on the trend, the Met Gala red carpet couldn’t get enough of opera gloves.

But whilst opera gloves might be all well and good on the runway and the red carpet, how practical can an elbow-length gauntlet really be for the everyday people of the world?

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Firstly, there’s the element of practicality. Whilst I appreciate that keeping an additional layer between the wearer and, say, public transport railings is a wise precaution in a living-with-COVID world, I can’t help but think that there would be times when whipping the gloves off might be the only option.

Yahoo UK Shopping Editor, Sabrina Carder, confirmed my theory, when she recently took the trend for a spin for her birthday drinks.

Opera Gloves red carpet trend
Opera gloves made it onto the BAFTAs red carpet, too. (Getty Images)

“While initially they made me feel fancy and a little smug that spending £5 on over-the-elbow gloves had transformed an old dress into an on-trend 2022 outfit, it was a different story once I left the house, or in fact, just tried to do anything,” she told me.

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“There's a reason you're seeing the trend all over celebrities on the red carpet instead of down your local supermarket, and that's because you can’t do anything with the slippy fabric on your fingers, from picking up a knife and fork, to answering a call on your iPhone."

Overall, a highly impractical trend which is fun for five minutes, but understandably might not catch on in real life.

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