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White Gloves

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"Do you ever wonder why we're always, like, wearing gloves?"
Bobby Zimmeruski, An Extremely Goofy Movie
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Common accessory for 'cartoony' characters, especially those from the early 1900s and shout outs based on that era. Simply, the character wears puffy white gloves, even if he doesn't wear much else. The gloves can be any length, and at least cover the whole hand (and all four of its fingers). Those that cover only the hand may occasionally have a wrist band and knuckle indentations as well.

The main reason for their use was probably that it had the practical effect in an era of black and white cartoons where a mostly dark colored character could hold his hands against his chest and still have the hands be visible; Felix the Cat is notable for not wearing White Gloves and demonstrates the problem this trope addresses.

As culture and technology have marched on, it's stuck around simply as animation tradition. Though they still help emphasize that a Talking Animal actually has hands and makes it much easier to display hand gestures and movement. Oddly enough, characters based on birds don't wear white gloves and are often depicted with Feather Fingers instead (with Woody Woodpecker and José Carioca being notable exceptions).

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Cartoon characters that have white feet, like many cartoon cats, usually also have white hands that have the same effect as White Gloves.

Note: this entry is for inexplicable white gloves on cartoon characters, not realistic humans that wear gloves as part of a normal outfit.

Additionally, the gloves don't necessarily have to be white; that's just the most common color for this trope, as any color that creates a contrast should qualify (i.e. Pac-Man's orange or brown gloves contrasting against his yellow body).

Compare with and Subtrope to Conspicuous Gloves.


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Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • M&M's: All the M & Ms characters have worn these since the 1980s.
  • Cookie Crisp: Cookie Crook and Officer Crumb wear these. Fittingly, they have Four-Fingered Hands.

    Anime and Manga 
  • It's hard to say with Black Cat Detective. Nearly every mammal on the show wears them, but most of them are Chinese police officers, who actually wear white gloves from time to time.
  • Ragnarok from Soul Eater wears full white gloves in his big form and has little circle-hands after losing most of his souls.
  • Don Patch from Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo.
  • The Spacy Brothers and Himespetchi from Tamagotchi!

    Comic Books 
  • Big Eggo, the original cover star from The Beano and anthropomorphised ostrich, usually wears white gloves so it looks more like he has hands. It's a slight subversion in that the rest of his "arms" still look wing-like, and he's sometimes shown without the gloves (in which case, he has normal ostrich wings).
  • The person in the circus wagon in The Crawling King has a pair of big white gloves on his hands.
  • An old Italian Disney comic book story featured one of the Beagle Boys removing one of his yellow gloves and glove-slapping Scrooge McDuck to a fight.
  • DC Comics' The Joker uses gloves in all of his incarnations as part of his clown motiff, this was carried out in almost all adaptations as he also uses gloves in the 60's Batman series, Tim Burton's Batman (1989), in almost all animated versions including of course Batman: The Animated Series and Justice League and videogames like Batman: Arkham City. In The Dark Knight his gloves are purple tho. Only Jared Leto's version as seen in Suicide Squad (2016) doesn't have gloves. Harley Quinn also has white gloves in her classic outfit, but not in the rest.
  • Marvel Comics' The Awesome Slapstick wear gloves. it is justified as he is a clown

    Fan Works 

    Films 
  • The title character in Disney's Pinocchio has both white gloves and Four-Fingered Hands as a puppet. He loses the gloves when he becomes a real boy, as well as having a proper set of five fingers on each hand. All of the Funny Animals in the movie (Jiminy Cricket, Honest John, Gideon) also sport gloves.
  • 'Shrek: Pinocchio has white gloves that are white color painted on his hands.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit: Since Roger Rabbit is already white, he wears yellow gloves.
  • All the male food characters in Sausage Party wear white gloves, this is an intentional Call-Back to the old advertisement cartoons with living sentient food that inspired the movie.
  • Spinel from Steven Universe: The Movie has big gloves a lighter shade of pink than the rest of her clothes as part of her homage to Inkblot Cartoon Style.
  • Toy Story:

    Literature 

    Live Action TV 
  • Patas Verdes the anthropomorphic toad in Odisea Burbujas. The reason probably is that he considers himself to be a very fancy toad (is in his theme song) and he also uses bowtie, vest and a top hat.
  • The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss: These appear a lot in Season 2.

    Magazines 
  • Lampshaded heavily in a classic 1950s Mickey Mouse parody in MAD. On the first page, a gloveless cartoon character is being dragged off by the police for dressing indecently in public. Later, Mickey explains that his gloves are actually tattooed on, so he can't take them off, not even for swimming.

    Pinball 

    Toys 
  • Mr. Potato Head's arms are white, but he still wears white gloves (assuming he doesn't just have severely malformed wrists).
  • From Mixels, Magnifo has white pincer hands instead of the standard grey or colored ones, to make him look like he's wearing white gloves.
  • A few of the Trashies from The Trash Pack are given pairs, some that lack arms in the first place.

    Video Games 
  • Pokémon:
    • The Pokémon Poliwhirl and Poliwrath wear white gloves for no apparent reason (the Game Boy was capable of displaying various shades of gray, so visibility isn't really an excuse). Oddly enough, if Poliwhirl evolves into Politoed instead of Poliwrath, it loses its gloves. Since Poliwrath is a Fighting-type Pokémon and will often engage in punching or physical attacks, perhaps the gloves act as a type of boxing gloves of sorts?
    • The Pokémon Mr. Mime wears white gloves as well, being a mime and all.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • All animal characters (and Dr. Eggman) in the games wear white gloves. This is due to the fact that the characters are designed after Western animated characters like Felix the Cat and white gloves are an expected trope. For the majority of the male characters, their wardrobe is limited to shoes, socks and gloves. Even echidnas born thousands of years before any of the events of any game wear gloves! Ironically, the American cartoon adaptations didn't bother giving gloves to any of their original characters, making Sonic and Tails stand out like a sore thumb.
    • Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood makes gloves one of the pieces of character equipment.
    • Even some of Eggman's robots, notably Eggrobos and other bots like Hei Hou (the Mushroom Hill Act 1 boss) have white gloves.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Mario and Luigi. This wasn't apparent in their early game sprites, however, as limits in technology did not allow enough colors per sprite for their hands to appear white.
    • Wario usually does, too, but in his WarioWare outfit, he wears fingerless yellow gloves with "W"s on them.
    • The only human character who doesn't regularly wear gloves is Rosalina.
    • Anyone wearing a Tanooki Suit or Cat Suit in Super Mario 3D World will have cartoonish white gloves even if they weren't wearing any beforehand. For the Cat Suit this may be justified since they have cat paw prints on the palms which match the feet.
  • Master Hand and Crazy Hand of Super Smash Bros. are white gloves. It certainly helps them stand out against their backdrop: deep space.
  • Mega Man:
    • X and Zero in Mega Man X.
    • Actually, most reploids, if not all, have white gloves.
    • Also Bass in the original series. These are likely for preventing dust & dirt from fouling the delicate motors in their hands.
  • Ristar knows how to kick it ol' skoo.
  • Cool Spot features White Gloves on the titular Spots, as pointers directing the player toward the caged Spot, and holding a timer as the item that grants more time when collected.
  • Rayman wears big white gloves.
  • Several games have used a pointing hand wearing a white glove as the cursor: Final Fantasy series, Mario Paint, Animal Crossing series, the Wii Menu, etc.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Sora's original costume was meant as a nod to Mickey Mouse, who was planned to be the main character, so his costume has red shorts, big yellow shoes and, of course, puffy, white fingerless gloves. His later costumes evolved away from the Mickey Shout-Out and his gloves became black.
    • As for the classic characters who've always worn gloves? Goofy's gloves are given minor decorative elements that goes with the rest of his outfit, Pete eschews the white gloves altogether for blue, fingerless gloves (exposing fingers covered in black fur), Minnie has Opera Gloves that match her gown. Mickey, strangely, is the only one who has just the standard gloves.
  • White Gloves must be all the rage in Toontown Online since everybody is wearing them.
  • Glover is a white glove. He and his 'brother', Cross-stitch, were worn by a wizard.
  • The final boss of The Legend of Kyrandia 2: The Hand of Fate is a white glove. It too was revealed to have belonged to a wizard near the midpoint of the game.
  • Peacock from Skullgirls wears gloves to cover the skeletal fingers of her Artificial Limbs. Their round, white style is part of her homages to Golden Age cartoon characters.
  • Mettaton from Undertale wears a four fingered pair. According to Word of God, he's confused about how many fingers humans have, so he has several pairs with different amounts of fingers.
  • Most of the characters from Cuphead wears them, except the devil, Baroness von Bon Bon (she wears pink gloves), Cagney Carnation, Grim Matchstick, and others that do not wear white gloves
  • Bendy and the Ink Machine has Toons such as Boris the Wolf, Alice Angel, and the titular Bendy the Dancing Demon wearing these. It should be noted that Alice wears her White Gloves over black High-Class Gloves.
  • While Pac-Man doesn't wear white gloves on his hands, he wears a pair of orange gloves. However, in Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures, he is shown wearing brown gloves instead. However, the box art has him wearing his trademark orange gloves.
  • Ascent Crash Landing: Bluu only wears a pair of white gloves.

    Visual Novels 
  • Irving Onegin in Time Hollow wears them, mostly so that the developers could pull off a reveal crossed with a Chekhov's Gun at the end of chapter five.

    Webcomics 
  • The One Electronic from Rice Boy wears a pair of these. He appears to be one of the only people in his entire universe who wear gloves at all.
  • Thomas K. Dye justifies this with the hands-vs.-paws argument in Newshounds; a short spinoff featuring the puppies of some of the cast was called Kid Gloves, too, and one storyline with Lorna (the only human of the main cast for a long time) had her think she was one of the dogs; one of the first things she does is get a pair of gloves.
  • Although Sam from Zebra Girl wears relatively realistic clothes, his gloves are a clear takeoff on the classic Mickey style. They allow him to slip his ropes when kidnapped by werewolves, because they didn't think about relative bulkiness of hands in gloves vs. ungloved. In his world, they're a religious symbol, with the lines representing the wounds of Saint Jiminy, making them a useful weapon against vampires.
  • The characters of Newton the Newt wear gloves. At least, the frog and the newt do.
  • Kali of Enjuhneer acquires a pair of these when the rest of the cast has a Plot-Relevant Age-Up. She says they simply fell onto her desk.
  • My Roommate Is an Elf. All characters wear these, and they have Four-Fingered Hands. Lampshaded in Almost Night. Apparently everybody on the colony of Gamma wears them and they are seen as an oddity by the people of Tau. They're enchanted so to allow texture.
  • Ultra-Car from the various WalkyVerse comics like Shortpacked! has these.

    Web Original 
  • In The Cartoon Man, Roy's transformation begins when oversize white gloves spontaneously appear on his hands.
  • In The Grossery Gang webseries, Grosseries in the past (hinted to be the 1930s), are given white gloves to give them a look that hearkens back to classic cartoons.

    Websites 

    Western Animation 
  • DuckTales (1987):
    • Duckworth wears white gloves. May be justified, as he's a butler.
    • The Beagle Boys wear yellow, rather than white, gloves in the 1987 series. The 2017 versions are glove-less.
  • Mickey Mouse and other Walt Disney characters are among the oldest examples, with the only real exceptions being Donald and the rest of the Ducks. Mickey first appeared in his signature white gloves on March 28, 1929, in The Opry House, a musical short in which he performs vaudeville acts such as snake charming and belly dancing. Interestingly, at the start of the short—when Mickey is sweeping the theatre steps before going inside to perform—Mickey is gloveless.
    • Mickey actually appeared with white gloves on the title of his debut Plane Crazy, and the "The End" image, though not in the animation.
    • Both Mickey (Mickey and the Seal) and Clarabelle Cow (Mickey's Fire Brigade) have been shown to keep their white gloves on even when bathing.
      • Not all the time. In various comics and the cartoon Mickey's Delayed Date, Mickey bathes without his gloves.
    • In one House of Mouse short, Mickey happens upon a pair of magical gloves that look identical to his own. Hilarity Ensues.
      • And Lampshade Hanging, too:
        Magical Mouse: Wait a moment, these aren't my gloves, these are Mickey's! ...Why do we all wear these same white gloves?
    • Goofy's more human-like and relatable persona, George Geef, usually has a pale body, no protruding teeth, and doesn't wear gloves. Women in Goofy shorts also tend to be more human (have human faces, breasts, curves and more fingers), and the only gloves they wear are mostly realistic evening gloves rather than cartoony ones. Children don't usually wear gloves either, so in some shorts, Mr. George "Goofy" Geef may be depicted as having black skin and white gloves while his own son George Jr. is completely pale and wears no gloves.
    • José Carioca and Panchito of The Three Caballeros originally wore yellow and brown gloves respectively. Ignoring the fact that most comic artists (like Don Rosa) forget about the gloves completely, when they re-appear in the House of Mouse, their gloves are both significantly whiter, José's even taking on the appearance of the standard Disney white gloves, just with a slight yellow tint. At the Epcot ride, José's gloves are distinctly the proper shade of yellow but Panchito's are distinctly white. Some versions of Panchito, such as in Legend of the Three Caballeros, opt to make it only look like he's wearing gloves, making the white hands instead a separate feather coloration that ends at his elbows.
      • The 2017 DuckTales incarnations keep the Epcot coloration, with José wearing his traditional yellow, and Panchito in white.
    • TaleSpin and Robin Hood tend to demonstrate another motive for white gloves when applied to Funny Animals: when the anthropomorphic animals are drawn in a "realistic", detailed way, such as in those two shows, the sight of four-fingered hands with furs and claws can get very near the Uncanny Valley. Just look. And that's not the worst example.
  • Bugs Bunny and other Warner Bros. characters: Looney Tunes, Animaniacs, etc. As a matter of fact, those white gloves are usually the only things Bugs wears. Y'know, when he's not acting as a girl.
    • Lola Bunny, too, which is odd since she's a rather modern character created in the 1990s. She even retains the gloves in The Looney Tunes Show.
    • Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster wears gloves like his mentor Bugs, but for some reason Babs doesn't.
    • In one episode of The Looney Tunes Show, Bugs's White Gloves shrink after being washed improperly; this proves highly stressful for him, and when he tries to buy a new pair, he finds out that they aren't in stock because "this isn't the nineteenth century", and he has to buy some Fingerless Gloves instead.
      • Though a lot of Looney Tunes characters, even the non-human characters more likely to have white gloves, avert this. Besides Bugs and Lola, Marvin Martian is the only one of note that wears white gloves. Sylvester's white paws, which his son inherited, match their white feet and have the same effect as white gloves, however.
    • Porky Pig has a mixed track record regarding this trope. While he's shown wearing gloves on occasion, particularly under Bob Clampett, most of the time he goes without.
  • Mario and Luigi from The Super Mario Bros Super Show!, based on the video games, of course.
    • Interestingly, Mario's NES sprite lacked gloves, but most of his features (hat and moustache) were still there for similar reasons of making the character distinctive given the limited technology.
    • Mario's depiction in the Donkey Kong segments of Saturday Supercade also had him wearing white gloves, even though the arcade game sprites didn't have gloves back then either (although some early promotional artwork did have him in gloves).
  • Lampshaded in An Extremely Goofy Movie:
    Bobby: (looking at his hands) Did you ever wonder why we are always, like, wearing gloves?
    • Another thing to note that only the males wear gloves. And even some of them don't wear gloves.
    • There is also one extra in the first movie who wears fingerless gloves over his white ones.
  • Animaniacs
    • Yakko, Wakko, and Dot Warner wear white gloves and Walter Wolf wear yellow gloves, all of whom are characters created in the 1990s who are played as classic cartoon characters. Slappy, who also plays as a classic cartoon character, averts this trope.
    • The Mime wears white gloves because he is a mime.
    • In "Space Probed", when Wakko’s turns into an elephant, his front feet are white like his back feet.
    • In one episode (coincidentally enough, titled "White Gloves"), Wakko's gloves (and apparently all other gloves in the show's world) are actual living beings. His hands are colored black like the rest of his arm in that short.
    • As the Great Wakkorotti, he can use them to make music after they've been stuffed full of hot-dog condiments.
    • In Wakko's Wish, Yakko has a hole on the middle finger of his glove and the exposed middle finger is black like his arm.
    • In one issue of the Animaniacs Comics, there was a panel in which Wakko takes off one of his white feet like it were a sock to dump out sand and that foot appears black like his leg.
    • Subverted with Rita the cat as she actually has white hands to go along with her white feet (coincidentally, the Warners also have white feet). Same white-hands-and-white-feet thing applies to Runt, although he rarely uses his front feet as hands.
  • Animaniacs (2020):
    • The Warner's gloves are straight up white while the white areas on their bodies are slightly yellowish. The white fur on characters (including Pinky and the Brain, but excluding the Looney Tunes, Tiny Toons, and Hanna Barbera characters that show up in the voting rights for cartoon characters episode) is slightly yellowish whereas the white clothing, sclerae, and teeth are straight white, so the white gloves and white hands are easier to tell apart.
    • Anime Dot is wearing fingerless white gloves, and her exposed fingers are white like her feet (in which the white thereof stops at her thighs instead of at the ankles like normal). Anime Wakko isn't wearing any gloves seeing as his hands appear the slightly off-white color of his feet and face than the white of his gloves.
  • Several Tex Avery characters, including Screwy Squirrel, the unnamed Wolf, and George and Junior, wear them.
  • Woody Woodpecker wears white gloves.
  • On The Simpsons, Itchy and Scratchy wear white gloves, since they are a parody of classic theatrical cartoons.
    • Krusty also uses white gloves, in his case probably as part of his clown costume.
  • Most characters from The Buzz on Maggie wear white gloves.
  • The title character of Uncle Grandpa wear white gloves.
  • An old 1990s Cartoon Network bumper featuring a big city for toons; it shows a shopping mall which includes a store selling four-fingered white gloves.
  • While the characters on SpongeBob SquarePants don't wear gloves, there is a whole theme park dedicated to them, Glove World.
  • Stimpy from The Ren & Stimpy Show. Unlike most examples, he's got fingernails on his.
  • Bullwinkle from Rocky and Bullwinkle.
  • The villain Quackerjack in Darkwing Duck uses gloves as part of his outfit, not surprisingly he's based on the Joker.
  • The eponymous character Moxy from The Moxy Show.
  • Parodied in the My Life as a Teenage Robot episode "Pest Control", with the appearance of the lab mice:
    Vladimir: "... And our sleek forepaws, mutated into swollen, freakish, HANDS!"


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