Glove-making in Europe dates back to the middle ages. By the fourteenth century, there were guilds (something like a combination of a trade association and a union) for glove-makers such as The Worshipful Company of Glovers of London. Like many artisans, glove-makers tended to cluster in particular towns, passing on their skills through apprenticeship and family trades. Important towns in the history of glove-making include Worcester in the United Kingdom (home to John Dent’s factory in the eighteenth century), Grenoble and Millau in France, the appropriately named Gloversville, N.Y. in the United States, and Naples in Italy.
The last of these cities is responsible for my topic today. I was offered the chance to review a pair of gloves from Dalgado, an accessories brand based in Düsseldorf which makes belts in Hamburg and Milan, and gloves in Naples. Items were provided by Dalgado without charge for reviewing purposes.
Dalgado gloves are offered in three varieties of leather: peccary (from a species of South American hog, also delightfully called the skunk pig); deerskin; and carpincho (from a large South American rodent of the same name). Peccary is considered the most prestigious glove leather by most makers. It’s soft, matte in appearance, and warm. Deerskin is supple, smooth and strong, and good for outdoor work and play. Carpincho is the most unusual: dappled in appearance and slightly napped like good suede. I decided to try the carpincho model in green.
The standard way to size gloves is to measure around the palm of your hand at its widest point, probably just below the knuckle of your thumb. Your glove size is that circular measurement in inches. Like sizing shoes, our hands aren’t always perfectly symmetrical; your dominant hand is probably slightly larger and is the one you should measure.
I took my standard size and was pleased with the fit: snug but not tight. As a general rule, I’d suggest sizing down if you are in-between sizes. A good glove will expand slightly as you wear it (and unlike a shoe it’s not made rigid by leatherboard and heel stiffeners).
The leather is soft like velvet, green-brown in colour (I’d call it olive) and marked all over by pores as if by slightly drunken polka dots. It’s out of the ordinary—and if you want a traditional dress glove, I’d suggest deerskin or calf leather—but it makes for an accessory that’s interesting without being overly flashy. (Hopefully, the days of sticking bright yellow gloves in your coat breast pocket like some kind of tentacled pocket square are behind us.)
These are firmly on the luxury end of the spectrum rather than the adventurer end, but they aren’t fragile. I’ve been wearing them for a few weeks, and I haven’t noticed any wear beyond some slight creasing. I’ve got them damp without any problem, but you certainly wouldn’t want to submerge them in water. They’re lined with knitted cashmere (about the thickness of a fine sweater) and are definitely warm enough for a British winter.
As with all leather goods, questions of environmental responsibility and sourcing can be difficult for the consumer to judge. But like some other direct-to-consumer brands of its generation, Dalgado embraces transparency and is happy to disclose the locations of the tanneries it uses (of course hide supply chains depend on the tanneries themselves). They note that since they are all European, its tanneries are subject to the European REACH directive which regulates the handling of waste products. In terms of the leather, carpincho are common across much of South America and are not considered threatened, although hides are obtained through both hunting and farming, which raises the standard ethical questions about leather products. While it’s been said many times by now, one point in favour of skilled craft and against mass production is worth repeating: buying far better but far fewer things is invariably a good choice.
With handmade gloves, some questions of construction are also styling decisions. On this pair, the seams are on outside, giving a more informal look in keeping with a less formal leather. There are decorative ridges on the back of the hand, worked in by hand. But some things are straightforwardly questions of quality: the stitching is uniform (well, as uniform as hand-work gets) and tight. There aren’t any defects or patches in the leather. The thumb is attached separately and worked into the body of the glove by hand. Jan from Dalgado tells me that the factory they use is a fourth-generation Neapolitan family business which has been making gloves by hand since 1860.
These are well-made gloves that are warm to wear and luxurious to handle. In terms of styling, I enjoy the design choices and overall look: they’re not plain, but neither are they flashy. The unusual dappled leather and casual construction make for a glove that’s out of the ordinary but made to the top standards of traditional glove-making. The gloves retail from €155-195 and this model is €185, putting them firmly in the bracket of luxury makers, but competitively priced within that bracket (carpincho from another major made-in-Italy brand is around €230). The gloves, as well as belts and watch straps, are available directly and via The Rake.
This brings me to a second topic. Dalgado also included a braided suede belt made in their Milan factory. Braided belts tend to be very comfortable because they don’t have fixed holes (rather you push the buckle in between the braids) and so are easier to fit and adjust. I have always liked suede as a casual material, and tend to wear belts mostly with jeans, so that’s how I have been wearing it. It’s a handsome piece, with rich chocolate suede and a solid brass buckle.
The suede strips are backed in rayon and feel sturdy. It’s held up to wear over the few weeks I’ve been testing it. But it does have one drawback I’ve noticed: when worn with my off-white jeans it left a brown mark along the waistband and pocket (I think from where the loose end rubbed along the denim.) On the plus side, the mark isn’t permanent, and Jan tells me that the company is in the process of bringing hide production in-house, so they expect to be able to test for and prevent any colour transfer in the future.
This is not a sponsored article. The writer received the items for free in exchange for an honest review. To read Styleforum’s review policy, please click here.
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