Touchscreen Gloves

In the age of iPads and smartphones, it’s surprising that there aren’t that many options for attractive, touchscreen-friendly gloves. Many are overdesigned and too techy looking, like something that would come out of an REI store.

I recently came across this problem while I was searching for a pair for my cousin, who received iPhone for Christmas, but also lives in Canada, where gloves are a winter necessity. On the casual side, there’s iTap and Etre, although neither of them are particularly attractive. Muji and Isotoner have plain, simple designs, but I was afraid the acrylic composition wouldn’t be warm enough.

The best I’ve found are leather gloves, which in recent years have come with various gadget-friendly solutions. The simplest are by Pengallan and Land’s End, where there’s a slit in the index finger that allows you to operate your devices. The Pengallans are nice in that they’re made with a horizontal slit instead of a vertical one (which is what the Land’s End model features). This allows you to more easily pull the leather back when you need to push the tiny buttons on your cell phone. There are also gloves that are conductive through leather. You can purchase those through Isotoner or Dents (the second being also available at Mr. Porter), or have them custom made through Chester Jefferies. Chester Jefferies makes great custom gloves if you send them a tracing of your hand, but for better results, I recommend submitting a photocopy. That way, you won’t get any errors from changing the angle of your pen as you trace.  

If you’re daring, you can also try to hack your current set of gloves so they become conductive. There are a number of YouTube videos that show you how, as well as posts at Fashioning Tech and Instructables. It might be wise to be extra-careful if you’re working with leather, however, as you won’t be able to hide poked holes, so mistakes will be costly. 

(Pictured above: Pengallan gloves)

Fall and Winter Gloves

Depending on where you live, it may be time to start wearing gloves. When buying a pair, I recommend you avoid cotton, acrylic, and synthetic leathers; they’re neither warm nor durable. Wool or cashmere can work if they’re tightly knit. I wear Filson’s fingerless wool gloves when I go jogging (they also come in a full fingered variety). For people who are always on electronic devices, there’s also Freehands.

For something a bit sharper looking, try leather gloves. These can be made out of any number of animal skins. Peccary is luxurious and soft, while hairsheep is finer and less bulky. Deerskin has a “tacky” surface that’s good for gripping, but it’s a bit more rugged in appearance. There are also hogskin gloves, which are very hard-wearing.

Additionally, there are the linings. If you plan to use these in cold weather, you’ll want the inside of the gloves lined with cashmere or silk. Cashmere will be softer and warmer, but also a bit bulkier. If you’re going to wear them in a cool climate, opt for a pair that’s unlined. They won’t be as warm, but they’ll be more durable and fit better.

Colorwise, black and brown are the most versatile, but like with shoes and suits, I find black to be overrated. I have a few pairs of gloves that match the range of colors in my shoes - merlot, dark brown, mid-brown, and tan. When I want to add a bit of texture or visual interest, I wear dark green capeskin or grey suede lambskin. I also recently ordered some yellow chamois, which are the classic gentleman’s gloves, but they’ve yet to arrive.

As for where you can buy a a good pair, I recommend Dents and Pickett. American retailers such as Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers, Paul Stuart, Hickey Freeman, and Ben Silver also sell very good models. The upside to buying from them is that they often hold seasonal sales. For something a bit more affordable, Nordstrom’s house brand is a pretty good value. Finally, remember that the most important part of a glove is the fit - you want something that fits and flatters your hand. If you’re not able to find a proper pair, try getting custom gloves through Chester Jefferies or Madova. Both will make a glove for you if you send in a tracing of your hand, but I find that photocopies or scans work best.