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Gloves are a curious accessory. For participants in some occupations (medicine, construction, gardening) and sports (boxing, riding), gloves are essential or at least recommended. They're also commonly worn in cold climates or seasons, and in some historical periods, social customs require people to wear gloves. Most of the time, however, the wearing of gloves is unusual, and it's even more unusual for a person to wear only one glove.
When this trope is operating, a character is depicted wearing a pair of gloves (or a single glove) without the excuses of occupational demands, low temperatures or social custom. If the glove is worn only on one hand, it is always the same hand. Wearing the gloves will set the character apart from others in the work, and there's generally plot-relevant reason for their presence. Most often, the gloves serve to conceal something about the wearer, though occasionally they're worn for protection and/or style. The gloves might be worn to conceal a Red Right Hand
, hide an injury, cover a prosthesis, disguise a social stigma, or simply to indulge personal preference.
Similar to Sunglasses at Night
and Hand-Hiding Sleeves
wearing a glove or gloves at all times is both cool
and conspicuous. It may overlap with Tricked-Out Gloves
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Anime and Manga
- In Neon Genesis Evangelion, Gendo always wears gloves, and they cover burns he receives in an early episode rescuing Rei. He later has an embryo Eldritch Abomination implanted in one of his hands, which make the gloves even more necessary.
- Hell Teacher Nube always covered his left hand with a black glove. It's to hide the hideous deformation of the hand, because an Oni is sealed within it.
- Naruto: In a variation, Danzo covers his whole right arm in a metal contraption, which is covered further by having his arm tucked into his kimono. It hides a multitude of transplanted Sharingan on said arm, alongside the fact that he injected The First Hokage's DNA into said arm, making it look hideous (with Hashirama's face seemingly grafted on his shoulder).
- In Darker Than Black, Kirihara's superior always wears gloves. Turns out he has prosthetic hands.
- Mentioned twice in Jojos Bizarre Adventure in relation to a certain antagonist:
- After Polnareff is saved from the flesh bud in his head, he asks Joseph about whether or not he has two right hands. Joseph reveals that he just has a prosthetic hand from his adventures. He also reveals the antagonist he's looking for here.
- When the team enter a hotel, they find the manager as a little old lady who bandaged her left hand because of a burn. It's really a cover-up and the covered hand is also a right hand, revealing her as also the mother of the man Polnareff was looking ofr and killed before this incident.
- In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid, Sankt Kaiser Olivie Sagebrecht was always shown wearing a pair of arm-length gauntlets, even when she's posing for a portrait while wearing a pretty dress. Later chapters finally showed her without the gauntlets, revealing that they didn't cover anything. As in, she had no arms to cover. The gauntlets were actually prosthetic arms she manipulated through self-applied body control magic as a replacement for the ones she lost in her early childhood.
- Shirotani from Ten Count constantly wears a pair of white gloves and usually pairs them with suits so that they won't stand out.. This is due to his mysophobia.
- DC Comics' Heroic Fantasy hero Claw the Unconquered had a literal demonic hand, hidden under a red glove to reduce its evil influence on him.
- Several X-Men characters wear gloves associated with their powers.
- In his early appearances, Wolverine had his claws attached to his gloves. Once they were said to come out of his hand, his gloves had slits to accommodate their extension.
- Rogue wears gloves so as not to accidentally touch anyone, since touch with her skin causes her to absorb others' powers, often harming or potentially killing them.
- Gambit also wears gloves. His touch allows him to change the potential energy of objects he touches into kinetic energy; his gloves have a few fingers open or missing so he can "charge" and manipulate his cards (one of his weapons of choice). That said, the gloves' design is also cool.
Film - Animation
- Wybie (and the Other Wybie) in the film adaptation of Coraline. In Real Wybie's case it may be down to the fact he's seen riding a bike most of the time. That and there's a poison oak bush near the Pink Palace. Later in the film Other Wybie removes his glove to show Coraline he's just sawdust.
- In Frozen, due to her uncontrollable, emotion-driven ice powers manifesting through her hands, Elsa is forced to wear gloves to protect others from them (similar to Rogue's situation in X-Men). Alas, shortly after she is crowned Queen of Arendelle, one of the gloves is pulled off by her sister during an argument...
- In The Lorax, the Once-ler puts on green gloves that go up past his elbows when his Thneed business takes off, and apparently wears them for the rest of his life.
Film - Live Action
- The Invisible Man (starring Claude Rains) is set in winter, so gloves don't really look that odd until he goes indoors and doesn't take them off, or later on when he's also wearing pajamas and a robe. The Vincent Price sequel (1940's The Invisible Man Returns ) is set in warmer weather, so it looks a bit stranger for him to wear them in most instances. The title character of The Invisible Woman (also released in 1940) can get by with it more considering the social customs of the period included women wearing gloves (and hats, for that matter), so it doesn't stand out so much.
- In Son of Frankenstein (1939), Inspector Krogh has a prosthetic arm (having lost his right arm when a child, the Monster tearing it off the boy) and he wears a glove on it indoors and out. He does remove the left glove in some indoors scenes There's a bit of black comedy when the actor (Lionel Atwill) sets the position of his right arm with his left hand to "demonstrate" the right arm is prosthetic.
- In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Judge Doom wears black leather gloves all the time, but he puts on a larger rubber glove in his first appearance to Dip some poor Toon. Later it turns out they also hide the fact that he's a toon himself.
- The protagonist in V for Vendetta wears gloves and a mask at all times because he was tortured and disfigured as a prisoner.
- In Funny Games, two clean-cut young men wear white gloves, making them look a little like golfers. The wife asks about them because they didn't take them off inside of the house, and Paul claims he has eczema. They wear them to hide their fingerprints.
- In Star Wars, after his father, Darth Vader cuts off one of his hands with a lightsaber, Luke Skywalker wears a black gauntlet over the cybernetic hand he gets as a replacement. This marks him as Not So Different from his father. Similarly, before going to the dark side, Anakin too lost a hand and wore a black gauntlet over to prosthetic. Later on of course, Anakin was horribly disfigured shortly after turning to the dark side and ended up with the rest of his limbs replaced and having to wear a life support system covered in black armor at all times, making the original black glove kind of moot.
- However, Luke's prosthesis is much more lifelike, contrasting with Anakin's iron skeletal hand, and he is sometimes seen without the glove, and in Return of the Jedi, he doesn't actually even don the glove until a stray blaster bolt damages the false skin covering the hand.
- In Terminator 2, the T-800 wears a pair of leather gloves during the movie's final scenes. While the gloves complement the terminator's Badass Biker look, they're also used to cover his arm that he cut and exposed the metal skeleton to prove he was a machine.
- Invoked without elaboration in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Khan keeps one glove on at all times, a trait he did not have in his prior appearance.
- In the Silent Hill movie, police officer Thomas Gucci wears gloves. Eventually, we find out why: he burned his hands rescuing Alessa Gillespie from the fire that would have killed her.
- Gloves, together with the bandages, are the most conspicuous parts the title character's disguise in H. G. Wells' The Invisible Man.
- In the Dorothy L. Sayers novel Have His Carcase, the fact that the victim was wearing gloves is a clue to his haemophilia, which figures in the plot.
- Judge Dee: a character keeps his gloves on to hide the fact that he badly injured it by touching a freshly-lacquered table after murdering a woman.
- A Song of Ice and Fire:
- While it would make sense to wear gloves often anyway, since he's in the cold North, Jon Snow wears gloves at all times anyway, because in the first novel, he got a burn on one of his hands.
- The smuggler turned knight Davos also wears gloves at all times, because in the interest of "justice", Stannis rewarded him by knighting him, but also felt it necessary to chop off all of his fingertips on one hand as punishment for his earlier crimes.
- Serpine from the first Skulduggery Pleasant book wears one glove, which does in fact cover his Red Right Hand.
- In Making Money, Cosmo Lavish wears gloves to hide the ring he wears, both because it's stolen property and because it's made of stygium, a metal that glows white-hot in sunlight.
- In the Ciaphas Cain novels, Cain wears gloves. Technically they're part of his uniform, but they also serve to hide his prosthetic fingers.
- In The Curse Workers, as the powers can only have an effect through skin to skin contact, so everyone in this world wears gloves.
- Curley in Of Mice and Men wears a glove full of Vaseline on one hand, supposedly because he's keeping that hand soft for his wife. This has no plot-relevant reason, but does make the theatrical adaptation easier to stage when his hand gets crushed.
- Monza, the protagonist of Best Served Cold wears a glove at almost all times over one of her hands to hide the fact that it is horribly maimed/disfigured as a result of the attempt to assassinate her during the first chapter. At one point in the novel, she disguises herself as a High-Class Call Girl and is able to benefit from the fact that the "uniform" includes long opera gloves.
- In "The Tiger's Bride", a Beauty and the Beast retelling in The Bloody Chamber, the Beast wears an Uncanny Valley disguise to hide his appearance, which consists of very stylish (but outdated) clothing that is much too large for a normal person along with a handsome (too handsome) paper-mache mask over this face. The outfit includes enormous kid gloves that hide his paws.
- Jame in Chronicles of the Kencyrath have retractable claws instead of nails, and always wears slitted gloves. Gloves to hide the claws, and with slits since her claws shredded them.
- In Rachel Griffin, Vladimir von Dread is always seen wearing a pair of thick, gauntlet-like black gloves...probably for the obvious reason.
- In Roald Dahl's The Witches one of the marks of a witch is that she always wears gloves, to hide the claws that she has in place of fingernails.
- In an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show Rob & Laura are about to go to a formal dinner on behalf of his boss Alan Brady to accept an award from a black group, but they both accidentally dye their hands black. They decide to wear gloves to the event, but Rob 'fesses up during his speech. The audience at the dinner find it funny rather than offensive.
- In the Outer Limits episode "Demon with a Glass Hand" the man with the glass hand wears a glove over it, only removing it to speak to it or add a finger as he finds them.
- In addition to their badges, Babylon 5: PsiCorps telepaths wear black gloves as a reminder that they must be constantly on guard against invading the privacy of others with their powers, effectively isolating themselves from those around them. While most of them do sincerely try to take that to heart, many of the Psi Cops, powerful telepaths tasked with hunting rogue telepaths and ensuring that the others follow the rules, give the impression that they really don't care.
- In the 2006 Granada-WGBH co-production of Agatha Christie's Towards Zero, a character named Thomas Royd (played by Julian Sands) wears a glove on his useless right hand. He's asked about it at a dinner, and he explained that he got caught in a doorway during an earthquake when he was a child.
- In one episode of Alphas, the villain wore a glove to conceal his deformed hand, which could upon contact control minds.
- Jasmine in Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger wears gloves to control her powers.
- Bridge in Power Rangers S.P.D. wears gloves most of the time, only to take them off to use his powers (the real world reason is to cover up the actor's tatoos).
- Dexter: Serial-Killer Killer Dexter sometimes uses rubber gloves when he searches for evidence in his future victims' places, but at times he uses ordinary gloves. Once somebody sees him coming home with the gloves on and points out that Miami is little too hot for wearing them.
- In Downton Abbey, Thomas intentionally gets his hand shot through with a sniper's bullet, earning him a deferment. He returns to the Abbey wearing a black glove to hide the scarring.
- In the episode "Folsom Prison Blues" (S02, Ep19) of Supernatural, Sam and Dean are wearing gloves in the museum, signaling they are up to no good.
- Firefly plays this up with the mysterious "Hands of Blue."
- Merlin: King Uther was never seen without his. Aside from making the character seem more badass, they may also have been an easy way to hide the actor's noticeable shortened finger on one hand.
- In the pilot version of The Powers Of Matthew Star his father figure is a janitor at his school who always wears a glove over his right hand because it's actually a robotic claw. When the show became a series that character was dropped, so we never discover why he's got a robot hand.
- Get Smart: 99 dates a KAOS agent who always wears gloves except for eating and bathing. CONTROL needs his fingerprints so she invites him over for an intimate late-night supper.
- In Mitsumete Knight, Raizze Haimer, one of the winnable girls, wears a pair of red gloves at all times (to the point one of the other characters, the young Laury Callwell, affectionately calls Raizze "Tebukuro no Onee-chan", i.e. "Gloved-Big Sis"). There's a reason behind this: She's one of the eight enemy generals of the game acting as The Mole, so she has to wear them in order to hide the bedsores and scars her hands have due to constant sword-training. The red color of the gloves is also a Foreshadowing, as the symbolic color of those generals is red.
- The four playable characters in Pay Day 2 always wear blue latex surgical gloves with their two-piece suits regardless of the mission. They're obviously to prevent leaving fingerprints, but it can be somewhat disconcerting when you notice you always wear them, even while covertly casing a robbery target. This coupled with the aversion of Informed Equipment can lead to players who, although geared for stealth, always seem to A) be wearing surgical gloves and B) carrying gear like first aid kits slung over their shoulder. It can start to seem like an Unusually Uninteresting Sight when four men resembling extremely fashion-conscious paramedics in varying degrees of military-grade body armor walk through a bank mumbling about guards and cameras.
- Agent 47 from Hitman wears a pair of black leather gloves as part of his signature look presumably to avoid leaving fingerprints, having said that he will go without them when wearing a disguise.
- Doctor Steel is never seen without black PVC gloves, even when he's not working in the lab. (His gloves are even convertible: stylish to-the-wrist gloves for day-wear, adding a lower arm-length extension when he wears his labcoat.)
- In Aladdin: The Series, the Evil Sorceror Mozenrath wears a magical gauntlet that stripped the skin and flesh from his hand as a price. Under the gauntlet, his hand is just bone.
- In Dexter's Laboratory, Dexter's mom always wears gloves due to being a germaphobe. This was explained in one episode.
- Clone High's Principal Scudworth, a Mad Scientist, is never seen without his yellow rubber gloves for some reason.
- Kif in Futurama. In one episode, he ends up accidentally touching Leela when his gloves come off and gets impregnated by her (Kif's species reproduces by touch). Although the wearing of gloves is simply down to part of the uniforms he and Capt. Brannigan wear.
- Krumm in Aaahh!!! Real Monsters carries his eyeballs in his hands; his father has an eyeball in one hand and a black glove on the other.
- Pac-Man and his family wear gloves without explanation, as does Mezmaron.
- Harold Lloyd lost a finger in an on set accident early in his career and had to wear a prosthetic glove for the rest of it.