1912 Dresses That Were Worn with Gloves

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Tuesday, July 10, 1912:  Went to Milton this morning to have my teeth filled, and was so fortunate as to only have three cavities. Also did some shopping besides. Got a pair of white silk gloves.

Dress, Ladies Home Journal, March 1912
Source of photos: Ladies Home Journal (March, 1912)

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Why did Grandma need white silk gloves? She may have worn gloves to Sunday School, but it seems like a somewhat unusual purchase in the middle of the summer. Maybe there was an upcoming special event where she needed to wear gloves.

A Trip to the Dentist

Three cavities!—but Grandma seemed pleased to only have three. Grandma had gotten some teeth filled almost exactly a year prior to this date—on July 6, 1911 she wrote that she’d gotten several teeth filled. People must have had more cavities in the days before fluoride.

24 thoughts on “1912 Dresses That Were Worn with Gloves

  1. I love your idea to share your grandmother’s diary on your blog!

    Hmm, a trip to the dentist. I find that especially interesting because my great-grandfather was a dentist. He received his doctoral diploma in 1896. I don’t think he ever practiced in Pennsylvania though. Why am I unsure? Because he was my traveling dentist great-grandpa. I have written about him in my blog.

    1. Interesting. . . I hadn’t realized that there were traveling dentists years ago, but I think that it may explain Grandma’s diary entries that she wrote in 1911 about going to the dentist. She had a tooth ache that she mentioned numerous times–and she tried to go to the dentist several times before she found him in his office. For example, on May 13, 1911 she wrote:

      “I went to Milton this afternoon to get my teeth filled, but it happened to be a wild goose chase, for he wasn’t there. I walked around town until I was tired . . .”


      1. I feel I should clarify my comment in regards to my great-grandfather so you and your readers don’t get the wrong impression. I call him my traveling dentist great-grandpa because he was a dentist and traveled quite a bit. I don’t actually know that he traveled to practice dentistry per se. Have a wonderful day!

  2. I am old enough to remember when you wore gloves when you went to town or to church. My mother and aunts would also wear a hat when they left the house to go shopping. You would wear white gloves and straw hats and purses starting at Easter then Labor Day weekend you put them away for fall. Then you would wear felt winter hats in dark colors with dark shoes, purses and dark gloves. There was a little leeway in the fall you could still wear cream in your shoes, hats and gloves. Also you could get away with navy straw for a few more weeks. You always tried to make everything match. When I think of all the shoes and hats my mom had. I don’t even remember when the last time I had a pair of dress shoes on. The last thing they would do was change their purse before leaving the house to match their outfit. I dump my purse out about once every few months because I can’t find things anymore and I am embarrased at the mess in there. Oh and one more thing my mother always had me check to make sure her seams in her stockings where straight. I don’t even own a pair of panty hose anymore since I don’t work. Just think how far we as women have come in a hundered years.

    1. Wow, I hadn’t realized how many things people had to coordinate–and that people wore different colors of gloves depending upon the season. It sounds like it must have been really expensive to buy shoes, purses, and gloves in several colors.

      You’re right–women have come a long way.

  3. I remember wearing a hat and gloves. I think the last time was in the early 1960s for Easter. The first time I wore stockings with a seam to keep straight was a Mother’s Tea at school where we girls were to practice our best manners.

    1. I have vague memories of having a pair of white gloves when I was a very small child that I wore on Easter and other special occasions.

      I’m not sure when stockings with seams went out of style–but by the time I was wearing hose there were no seams.

  4. In my neck of the woods, women wore the little short white gloves. She would need a hat, hose, matching shoes and purse. That was years ago.

  5. Those hats are amazing. I remember my grandmother wore hats, though not as big as the ones here 🙂

  6. I have always have trouble thinking of my grandmother dressed that way…all pictures were of her from the 40’s and 50’s! But I never did see her in slacks. I must confess I remember all too well wearing gloves and hats – my mother made sure of that. Then I became a teenager and tomboy – no more gloves for me!! 😉 Anyway, I do love the fashion of those days – very elegant. ~ Patty

  7. Can you imagine EVER wearing gloves? I do remember them from Prom though…so classy! I hope you come across a photo of your Grandma wearing her gloves!

  8. I have a pair of short black gloves from my mom. Fortunately our hands are around the same size! Since winters are mild here I could still wear them once in a while. I also had a pair of short while gloves as a child; I wore them for my first Communion and on Easter. I remember one woman in particular who was always impeccably dressed at church. She wore pillbox hats, plus matching gloves, purses and shoes. Very sharp!
    On a different note, I can’t imagine what going to the dentist must have been like 100 years ago!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s