How to wear driving gloves without looking like an idiot

It’s a tough look to pull off. But don’t steer clear of these automotive accessories just yet…

There are some items of clothing – flight jackets and windbreakers, to name just two – that have outgrown their functional roots and become genuinely stylish garments in their own right. Driving gloves, however, aren’t quite there. Well-made, iconic and with cool connotations from Steve McQueen to Baby Driver, the potential is there for these leather gloves to take their place alongside other sartorially-sound accessories – so how can you wear driving gloves without looking like an idiot?

How to wear driving gloves without looking like an idiot

When should I wear driving gloves?

You wouldn’t wear an overcoat during summer, so don’t wear driving gloves outside of your garage. An even better rule would be to keep them in your car – where the glovebox is literally calling out for a pair. They are functional above all else, so in the same way that you should only wear Le Chameau wellington boots on a wet day or in a muddy field, keep your driving gloves confined to your car.

How to wear driving gloves without looking like an idiot

What car do I need to wear driving gloves?

Unless you’re trying to pull of a heist – a la Ryan Gosling in Drive – you probably don’t need driving gloves. For all their style potential, power steering has rendered them all but obsolete. You no longer need extra grip on your wheel, unless you are making a breakneck getaway – and you’ll have bigger things on your mind then than accessorising.

Instead, we’d recommend you only buy driving gloves if you own a classic car. They’re a style throwback, so pair them with an older set of wheels for the best chance of pulling off the look. These cars will be stiffer, require a little more grip, and the ritual of dressing up for your Sunday drive will turn your weekly jaunt into more of an event.

How to wear driving gloves without looking like an idiot

What should I wear with driving gloves?

Depending on the design (see below), you want to keep things simple. As with the cars, driving gloves pair best with clothes steeped in the vintage or traditional. So, whilst you could take a retro leaf out of Gosling or Gentleman’s Journal cover star Ansel Elgort’s book, and go for the classic bomber jacket, your gloves will also look just as good paired with a light checked shirt and tweed trousers – the unofficial uniform of Britain’s classic car brigade.

How to wear driving gloves without looking like an idiot

Which driving gloves should I buy?

The first rule of looking cool is not to try too hard. As such, anything with patterns on the knuckles, garishly coloured palms or string-detailed backs should be steered clear of, and you should go for the most plain and functional looking pair you can find.

Think classically cool colours, such as dark brown, tan and black. Opt for leather, with some subtle perforated detailing along the knuckles or fingers, and a clean silver or brass fastener. And, after slipping them on at the wheel, feel as McQueen, Gosling or Elgort cool as you like.

Further Reading