If you're not accustomed to some of the more niche aspects of English social life, you may be wondering about some of the events and occasions, and why gloves are an essential companion for these events. Many of these events were once exclusive and arcane but have now expanded and are as much an opportunity to celebrate tradition as they are a display of fashion. But don't panic - we've got you covered on how to fit the gloves to the occasion, and how to get the look just right.
The Cheltenham Races take place each year in Gloucestershire, England. Over the course of four days in March, the best of British and Irish-trained horses race for prize money which is second only to the Grand National. Originating in 1860, the three-day event now attracts a far larger crowd, and one eager to dress up for the occasion. Of course, like so many other events, the dress code depends entirely on the unpredictability of English weather. Whilst it may be balmy and spring-like, Cheltenham could also - and more likely - be on the colder side.
Therefore, it's all about dressing for the weather, without foregoing style. The Cheltenham tribe are all about bringing country-chic to the racetrack - think feathers, faux fur, tweeds and felt. There are no straw hats here - chic felt headpieces make an appearance instead (and are less likely to blow away!). And of course, gloves take centre stage: not just for practicality reasons (it can be bitterly cold when standing outside for so long), but to amp up your outfit too.
The Ascot races attract a different crowd entirely, whilst still forming a huge part of the English social calendar. Founded in 1711 by Queen Anne, the Ascot racecourse has strong links to the royal family, being only six miles from Windsor. What was once a major event for the horsemanship has now turned into one of the biggest events for fashion too, and it's easy to see why.
Ascot enforces a far stricter dress code in the Royal Enclosure - men must be in morning dress, whilst ladies must wear a hat to accompany their day dress, along with appropriate skirt length and covered shoulders. Of course, many choose to wear gloves as the perfect accompaniment to their outfit, and not just for formality's sake. Ascot proves the perfect opportunity to make a statement. Our picks for the races? Classic cotton gloves meet a modern twist with our gold button detailing, or a two-tone style. Head over to our 'Off to the Races' page to pick your very own.
Whilst the May Ball is a particularly specific aspect of the English social calendar, it doesn't mean you can’t draw inspiration for your own ball. The tradition of the May Ball began at Cambridge University in 1830, and since then is an annual lavish celebration that marks the end of the academic year, which varies from college to college. In true British quirkiness, the May Ball is now hosted in ‘May Week’, which is actually towards the end of June. Many other universities (including King's College, London) and institutions have mimicked Cambridge's tradition and host a summer ball in order to signify the end of the working or academic year. Whilst it might seem like the extravagant ball gowns are the night’s main focal point, both tradition and style dictate that dresses are nothing without the perfect pair of gloves. Evening gloves are just the thing to ensure you steal the show. Our collection of evening gloves and gloves for summer balls, in net, lace and silk, are sure to see you through the night. Your outfit won't be complete without them...