Gloves are made to be shed. Whether you’re a hot-headed chevalier throwing your gauntlet before a rival or a haughty dame tossing your mitt into a lion den to test your man’s mettle, gloves are most potent when abandoned prone and partnerless on the floor, eloquent with violence, loneliness and love.
Which is just as well.
Autumn is the season of mists, mellow fruitfulness and dark, fluffy scraps of clothing discarded like curling woollen condoms. On pub benches, beside Oyster card readers, underneath supermarket trolleys and on top of park railings, they litter the city like the damp leaves of some fleecy deciduous tree. Sure, layering is a great seasonal solution – as long as you remember to put the bloody stuff back on. I must misplace at least five pairs a year.
In consequence, I’ve run the full gamut of gloves. I’ve tried primary-bright suede, because they seemed boldly chic in an Agnès B sort of way, until I realised that coloured hands make you look like a superhero, and not in a good way. I’ve tried butter-soft cream leather in an attempt to ape a cello-playing YSL mademoiselle, but within three hours they were a putrid shade of Tube Grey. I’ve tried studded driving gloves à la Dominic Jones, but they looked more bank manager en route to Torture Garden than Alice Dellal. I’ve repeatedly tried fingerless – I love that Fagin cum Mean Streets look –but in the end the revelation always hits me with grinding inevitability: the tips of my fingers get cold.
But I am proud that I have never, never wriggled my digits into a pair of those girly-folksy, fair-isle finger-flap monstrosities that saturate the high street, promising to turn sallow British twentysomethings into pink-cheeked Norwegian Amélies. The coy, quirky childishness of those half-Grimm, half-oven-glove hybrids, seemingly designed to demonstrate one’s infantile haplessness yet knowing retro smarts, make me yearn to become a guerrilla stitch-unpicker, haunting the London streets with intent to unravel indiscriminately.
Then, last year, I thought I’d stumbled across a near- perfect glove: the Tuvie white LED finger-sheath, which would surely transform me into a geekoid Michael Jackson; an ice-cold William Gibson cyberqueen with the literal power of light at my fingertips. When I woke the next morning face-down in a puddle of gin, I thought I’d better disable my PayPal.
And then I really did hit on the perfect pair, in mink-coloured, elbow-length cashmere from Theory: robust, elegant, warm, and on sale.
Reader, I lost them.