The Ranchers Glove

Words by: Andrew Williams

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Sunday was bitterly cold in London, which prompted me to think about winter time accessories.

It is often the case that you fail to appreciate those things which are common place to you. Therefore, I suspect that those readers from the US of A (which is the majority of you good folk) may not fully appreciate my long running obsession with the Rancher Glove.

Curiously, despite the welcome revival of American work wear as a trend, these gloves have been largely ignored. To me they’re as iconic a piece of American apparel as Bass Weejuns, button-down oxford shirts, Redwing boots or chinos. I can’t imagine Clint Eastwood without a pair –whether or not he actually wore them in any of his movies I don’t know. And other than a medieval gauntlet you’d be hard pressed to find a tougher and manlier glove.

Normally made of Deer Skin or even harder wearing Elk skin, they’re the perfect combination of form and function, designed for roping in cattle and laying out barbed wire on cold windswept prairies. Over time to patina changes, and they will become grubbier, which only ads character –rather like beaten up suede loafer.

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There is also a curious resonance with gentleman’s apparel of the 20’s and 30’s. The colour alone is very reminiscent of those gloves often featured in Apparel Arts illustrations. With that in mind I’d wear them with anything from a Peacoat to traditional Covert coat.

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Not only are they unavailable in the UK , it took me a fair amount of time to find out their proper name. I have found an English glove maker that will knock up a pair, at a reasonable price and of Deer skin. Somehow that seems just plain wrong, like going to Euro-Disney. You feel sullied, deceitful even; it’s just not the full Uncle Sam.

After 2 years of longing I still haven’t managed to get hold of pair. So those of you in a more advantageous position than I, enjoy what you have.