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Fashion icon or red carpet flop? How Amal’s gloves stack up in fashion history

It was the question on everyone’s lips leading up to the Golden Globes: “What will Amal wear?” Well, the new Mrs. Clooney certainly made headlines with her first major red carpet appearance. Pairing long white gloves with a black Dior gown, Alamuddin set social media ablaze and divided critics. Most colorfully, Kathy Griffin of E!'s "Fashion Police" said they reminded her of an X-rated mov
TODAY
Getty Images, Everett Collection

It was the question on everyone’s lips leading up to the Golden Globes: “What will Amal wear?” Well, the new Mrs. Clooney certainly made headlines with her first major red carpet appearance. 

Pairing long white gloves with a black Dior gown, Alamuddin set social media ablaze and divided critics. Most colorfully, Kathy Griffin of E!'s "Fashion Police" said they reminded her of an X-rated movie, while co-host Kelly Osbourne felt they’d be more at home on “a vet helping a calf be born.” Harsh!

Amal Alamuddin Clooney attends the Golden Globe Awards on Jan. 11.Jason Merritt / Today

Her sartorial choice — and the intense reaction it elicited — has us obsessed with one simple question: Are evening gloves making a comeback? Let’s take a look back at the fashion icons who originally made gloves look so glamorous, and see how Alamuddin’s accessory choice stacks up against the greats.

Ladies of the Downton era

Downton Abbey Christmas Episode with Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary.Today

Like girdles, tiaras and a taste for aspic, gloves were a mainstay of elite British society from the Edwardian era through the 1920s. Lady Mary and her ilk would have had multiples to choose from, including short, lacy gloves for picnics and walks and opera-length gloves for dinners and dances.

Rita Hayworth

Rita Hayworth in the movie \"Gilda\" in 1946.Today

In the 1946 film "Gilda, Rita Hayworth proved just how sexy gloves can be as she slowly removed hers during a dancing scene. On-screen and off, Hayworth wore glittering jewels over her gloves — a styling trick Marilyn Monroe would later copy.

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe in \"Gentleman Prefer Blondes\" in 1953.Today

Costume designers’ love affair with gloves continued into the 1950s when Marilyn Monroe dazzled audiences in 1953’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Her pink-on-pink ensemble launched a decade of debutantes and socialites seeking gloves to perfectly match their candy-colored frocks.

Grace Kelly

Oscar winners Grace Kelly and Marlon Brando pose with their statuettes on March 30, 1955.Today

When soon-to-be-princess Grace Kelly took home an Oscar in 1955, she wore a draped, ice blue satin gown and long white gloves. It’s a look many would copy, but few would execute so flawlessly.

Jackie Kennedy

President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy at an Inaugural Ball on January 20, 1961.Today

Our arguably chicest First Lady loved gloves throughout her life, particularly in the 1950s and '60s, when she wore them to nearly every state dinner and White House ball. She even donned short white gloves at her wedding. In fact, the vast majority of her gloves were white, but certain outfits — a leopard print suit and a polka dot blazer, for example — called for short black gloves.

Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn in \"Breakfast at Tiffany's\" in 1961.Today

From "Funny Face" to "Breakfast at Tiffany’s," many key moments in Audrey Hepburn’s inimitable career featured demure gloves; A natural complement to her full skirts, classic pearls and winged liner.

Vivian Ward (aka Julia Roberts)

Julia Roberts with Richard Gere in \"Pretty Woman\" in 1990.Today

In 1990’s "Pretty Woman," immaculate white gloves represented Vivian’s transformation into an elegant fashion plate. She wore short gloves to stomp divots, medium-length to go shopping on Rodeo Drive and full-length opera gloves with that famous red dress to see "La Traviata."

Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy

John F. Kennedy Jr. and his wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy at the White House for a state dinner in 1998.CHRIS KLEPONIS / Today

As the ultimate ‘90s style icon, Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy was known for wearing minimalist, perfectly tailored silhouettes in black, white, gray or camel. Long, tight-fitting gloves paired perfectly with her favorite eveningwear, while sheer white gloves added a touch of romance to her famously sleek wedding dress.

Sarah Jessica Parker

Sarah Jessica Parker at the Met Gala on May 5, 2014.Andrew H. Walker / Today

In the past decade, Sarah Jessica Parker’s been one of fashion’s biggest proponents of gloves. But, unlike Amal, Parker wears them with a risk-taking attitude rather than a reverence to Old Hollywood.