“See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!/O that I were a glove upon that hand,/That I might touch that cheek!” – Line 24,scene 2 Act 2 of Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare
(Vintage Christian Dior Ads)
Kid Gloves were made from the skin of a young goat (a kid) or sometimes a lamb. These gloves were softer, more delicate, and finer than gloves made from cow leathers (or other hard leathers). Eventually wearing “kid gloves” and using the phrase “to handle with kid gloves” became a symbol of elegance, aristocracy, and gentility in the early 1800s. The cliche “handle with kid gloves” therefore means to be very tactful, mild, and docile. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term was first used in that sense (or written, anyway) in the 1830s.
Introducing THE WALL O’ GLOVES spotted at the 5th Avenue, Flatiron District J. Crew: