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Fingerless gloves  

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At some stage in the mid-80s it became fashionable to wear fingerless gloves. It is hard to pinpoint the exact moment when they started to appear, but a best estimate puts the rapid rise in popularity around the 1983 timeframe, which probably peaked in late 1984.

The fingerless glove as a fashion statement was a culmination of various 80s influences. For starters there were the lace glove-wearing new romantics and the leather/vinyl punk fashions. In addition, punks tended to wear large studded wristbands that were frequently up near the base of the thumb. The other factor is the 80s obsession with cutting off the ends of garments. Leg warmers are a similar example of the cut-off look and were often accessorised with fingerless gloves.

All these factors combined to create the fashion, but like many trends, fingerless gloves didn't take off until some celebrities started wearing them. The two best know fingerless glove icons were Billy Idol and Madonna. True to form, they had their own quirks - Billy Idol generally wore one leather fingerless glove on his right hand (see below) and liked to pose with it in the air. Madonna adopted the fingerless gloves but she seemed a greater fan of both the full fingered glove and the open palm glove (which was closer to a wrist strap). On her 1984 album cover, Like A Virgin (see below), she is wearing that quintessential 80s outfit - a white wedding dress with white fingerless gloves. By the time she appeared in Desperately Seeing Susan posters a year or two later, she was back to the full lace fingered gloves but ditched the look when entered her uninspiring tom-boy phase .


Despite the stigma that all 80s fashion is bad, fingerless gloves can still look quite sexy. Gothics never tired of wearing both fingerless and fully-digitised version. For the Fem Goths, the spider web design is generally considered the best choice. And in answer to the many emails we get, you can still buy your own set of fingerless gloves with properly sown tips, here is a great cheap place to get them. They are surprisingly cheap, but don't expect real lace!

Like all good fashion trends of the 80s, there are imitators. Some try to pretend that they were not following everyone else, others took the fashion and copied it openly and proudly. A great example is Denise Bella Vlasis, an impersonator who has been imitating Madonna for over 20 years. Here she is all geared up - including fingerless gloves:

Madonna Impersonator - Denise Bella Vlasis
Used with permission.

You are here: 80s fingerless gloves: pictorial gallery of an 80s fashion icon. Fingerless gloves came in all shapes and sizes, plus you still buy them...

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