I have a small habit to confess to. It’s not a bad habit, per se, but a consistent one. You see, every Autumn when it starts getting cold in the morning, I fancy a new pair of gloves. And a decent pair at that. Genuinely good gloves tend to last more than a single season, if taken care of, so it’s not as if my fingers will freeze and fall off unless I procure a new pair of gloves to cover them. It’s really more a case of a nice little gesture to my hands to welcome a changing in the season.
Oh how we try so hard to justify these things, eh? Getting down to the honest truth of the matter, it’s great to buy a new pair of nice gloves and that’s it. New and unsullied. Lovely and tight. Leather smooth and soft. Lining all in it’s place and soft. Each finger in it’s own cocoon of loveliness, separate, safe and warm. I sense I may be getting a little carried away here, sorry.
The past couple of years I’ve bought Norse Projects X Hestra gloves, as the design has been nice, and oddly the quality has seemed better than my previous gloves by Hestra alone. This year though when the collaborative effort finally appeared they had only recycled last years design in a couple of new colours, which was far too little incentive to buy a new pair.
So my roving eyes immediately noticed mention of SEH Kelly bringing out gloves this year. As with all things by SEH Kelly the materials and workmanship is all Made in Britain, with almost full transparency of the sources. The gloves are a combination of Irish tweed from a father-and-son mill in north-west Ireland and deerskin from the maker of the best leather for gloves anywhere, who luckily happen to have their business in England. The gloves are lined with a natural coloured soft cashmere lining, woven in Scotland. It’s as if the olde British Empire is coming together to make a pair of gloves!
The construction of the gloves is traditional, and the factory making them has been making them almost since humans evolved to have five fingers. We’re not talking the latest high-tech advances in glove technology, but rather the proven and traditional way of making gloves, and making them right. Looking at the description of the equipment and processes as SEHK describe them on their website is such an obvious anachronism to the efficient and profit-maximising practices of todays production that I for one am utterly enamoured. Early industrial revolution methods using ancient Singer machines versus the soulless and efficient modern production in some far off place where labour is free and laws are lax? I’m a sucker for the former and detest the latter, and I’m certain I’m not alone in this.
At this point you’ll be nodding your head in agreement, no doubt. The wonderfully patterned Irish tweed, the soft, randomly speckled wool. The deerskin that is so superbly soft and delicate, yet strong and naturally grained. What are they really like as gloves?
I made sure to get mine in a smaller size than I may have previously bought. In the same way that it’s easy to buy oversize shoes (i.e. if your foot isn’t touching the leather anywhere, they can’t be too small, right?), it’s easy to buy gloves that are too large. Like a new pair of jeans, gloves will expand a little to be a perfect fit. Buy them too large and they’ll always be too large. The laws of physics and fabrics conspire to make this so. The length of the fingers is an exact match for my fingers, which is quite perfect.
These are not gloves for clearing snow or hiking in. They come up quite short at the wrist. For cycling I’d prefer more wrist coverage, but as a pair of gentleman’s gloves this is a nice style to go with. The suppleness of the leather allows the leather to flex enough for you to make a fist or shake a hand, depending on who you meet upon your walks. The cashmere lining is sleek enough to make entry easy, yet with enough thickness to allow some stationary air to insulate your extremities.
Heck, should be put in a display case or subjected to the harsh environment of the outside world? This is not an easy decision to make! I’ll confess that I’ve yet to use these gloves for cycling or other arduous tasks. I’ve been keeping them for Saturday best and will do so for a long time.