Gloves are sized by measuring around the hand at the point where thumb and palm meet. Leather gloves are sized to the nearest quarter-inch; fabric gloves to the nearest half-inch. Typically, women take sizes 5½ to 8 and men 7 to 10.

Children’s glove sizes range from 0 to 7 and usually represent half the child’s age.

If named sizes are used, the following table provides an approximate conversion.

Size Men
XS 7–7½  
S 8–8½ 6–6½
M 9–9½ 7–7½
L 10–10½ 8–8½
XL 11–11½  

Women’s knit gloves usually come in only one size. Those that do not are often sized “A” (6 to 7) or “B” (7 to 8).

The length of a glove is sized in “buttons,” a measure that dates back to the time of Catherine di Medici. Buttons that closed the cuff of a glove were usually sewn on at one pouce intervals, from the base of the thumb to the edge of the cuff. A glove with five buttons would therefore be one pouce longer than a four-button glove. A pouce is almost the same length as an inch; in the United States at least, a “button” is now considered an inch.

C. Cody Collins
Love of a Glove.
New York: Fairchild.

Page 21.



Owing to the endless variations in the shape of the human hand, it is impossible to ascribe perfection to any single style of cutting; some hands are better fitted by gloves cut with “quirks” and “gussets,” and others are equally well suited by gloves from which either “quirks” or “gussets,” or may be both, have been eliminated. Finger lengths also vary a good deal, and here again different calibres are necessary. Some manufacturers only make a standard length of finger to each size of glove, but others turn out two lengths to each size. Again, some calibres are fitted with adjustable knives which permit the cutting of various finger lengths.

The steel punches for stamping out several pairs of gloves at one operation were first invented in 1819 by a French glove manufacturer, named Vallet d'Artois. It was, however, left to a young medical student of Grenoble, Xavier Jouvin, to develop and perfect the invention of d'Artois so as to effect something of a revolution in the glove trade. Jouvin in the course of his professional work made a thorough study of the human hand, and ultimately classified 320 different sizes and shapes of gloves. At first the inventor reaped little reward for his labours, but in 1839 his system was awarded a bronze medal at the Industrial Exhibition held at Paris, and subsequently was adopted by the trade.

All glove dimensions are calculated from the total width of leather used at the widest part, i.e., at the palm. Sizes also are based upon this measurement, a size 6 glove having 6 French ins.* in the doublepalm width. About 9½ French ins. are equal to 10 English ins. There is a common error held in relation to glove sizes. In ascertaining one's size, a rough method is to measure the width of the closed hand at the knuckles, and double the measurement ascertained to find the glove fitting. Some people, however, measure round the palm of the hand, and in the result find when ordering gloves based upon this measurement, that the fitting is quite a size too large. An individual who really takes a size 6¾ glove, will on measuring round the palm find his or her hand is quite 7 ins. round. It may seem paradoxical, that the glove should really measure less than the hand, but the fact is glove leather stretches readily, while the wrist opening and the gussets, fourchettes and quirks all allow a great deal of play to the skin of the palm and back of the glove.

B. Eldred Ellis.
Gloves and the Glove Trade.
London: Sir Isaac Pitman and Sons, 1921.
Pages 66 & 67.

* By “French inch” the author means a pouce.

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