‘Throwing down the gauntlet’. Have you ever thought how this phrase originated? Although, today this phrase means to challenge or confront someone, originally it wasn’t just a metaphor but was a physical action. The word gauntlet has been derived from a French word referring to heavy armored gloves worn by medieval knights. Back when chivalry and honor were very important, throwing a gauntlet at the feet of an enemy or opponent was considered a grave insult, that could only be answered with personal combat. Hence the offended party was expected to ‘take up the gauntlet’ to acknowledge and accept the challenge. To put it simply, gauntlets were gloves worn by soldiers and knights during combat. They protected the hands, forearms and wrist as these were most vulnerable during hand to hand combat. Made of leather and flexible fabric, they are also known as iron or defensive gloves. The toughest types known to man were the Gothic gauntlets, Blade Seizing gauntlets, Scale gauntlets, Palm and Falconers gauntlets among others.
At the beginning of the eleventh century, European soldiers and knights wore ‘chain mail’ for protection of their bodies
and ‘shirts’ made of chain armor with wide sleeves that hung to the elbow. However, by the twelfth century, the sleeves were made longer and narrower, resembling finger-less gloves with a pocket for the thumb. These were attached at the lower edge of the sleeve and protected the wearer’s hands from cuts during combat but offered no protection against crushing blows.
By the 16th century, the gauntlets had become an important fashion accessory in Europe. Today, a certain type of gauntlet is still used among metalworkers, astronauts, and even contact sports. Gauntlets are also worn by butchers, automotive technicians, marching bands and drum corps.
In the clothing industry, gauntlets are a fashion accessory most worn by rock stars especially heavy metal. In women’s fashion, a gauntlet can refer to an extended cuff with little or no hand covering. Brides often wear gauntlets at their wedding.
There are a few rules to wearing the leather gauntlets. First and foremost, don’t wear the gloves with full sleeves shirt. Wear it with 3/4th sleeves as you wouldn’t want the fabric to bulk up on the arms. Secondly, if you don’t want to look like a musketeer or a dominatrix don’t wear it with long boots. If you want to rock long gloves in the daytime, pair it with a cape or cloak that allows you to exhibit the glove and show off the layers.
If you’re planning to pair your gauntlet with motorcycle ensemble
, make sure there is enough of room in it to fit a jacket cuff, whether the jacket is thin or thick, and, with or without a lining. Also, the gauntlet should have a fastener to secure it tightly around the rider’s arm. A tight fitting or an ill-fitting one may not offer protection in a crash when the glove is supposed to be doing its job.
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