When it comes to winter dressing, gloves are probably a part of your wardrobe you really don’t put much thought into. Chuck them in your coat pocket until you absolutely need them, and then shove them down into the depths of your briefcase (where hopefully the pair will stick together) once you’re safely shielded from the elements. This, though, is decidedly not how Hestra approaches the cold-weather staple. The Swedish, family-owned brand has been carefully making fine leather gloves since 1936, using the same time-honed techniques for tanning leathers and crafting and stitching wool and fur linings today as they did over 80 years ago.
“Take a look at your own shoe wardrobe,” explains Niklas Magnusson, a certified glove cutter and fourth generation member of Hestra’s founding family. “I bet you have shoes for every possible occasion. We believe gloves should be [treated] the same way.” Which is say you shouldn’t be shoveling the snow out of your driveway in the same pair you plan to wear as you walk between meetings later that afternoon—though we’d hope you have enough sense to spare the carpincho nubuck leather cashmere-lined pair (shown above, available at Bergdorf Goodman in New York) for less hands-on activity. But the need to diversify your glove wardrobe doesn’t mean that your hard-working pairs have to feel as rugged as they look.
This is exactly the type of balance Hestra has perfected over four generations. All of its table cut, Sport Classic, and bespoke (yes, they can whip up just about any kind of glove you can dream up. Huge hands? No problem) styles are handmade in Hungary, following Northern European traditions. Studier pairs are made using thick leathers like deerskin, elk skin, and sheep skin to ensure they can keep you protected during extended periods in sub-zero temperatures, while finer styles feature carpincho and peccary leathers. Both are exceedingly rare, with the former sourced from South American capybaras and the latter from wild boar found in the Amazon jungle—unsurprisingly, and get snapped up quickly. “Carpincho and peccary have beautiful, rich textures,” explains Bruce Pask, men’s fashion director at Bergdorf Goodman, who brought the brand into the retailer, “they really elevate the [casual work-style] glove beyond its simple utility.”
The rugged wools, ultra-warm rabbit fur, and creamy ribbed cashmere that line both the more formal and casual styles ensure that all are as comfortable as possible. And, when combined with uniquely colored leathers, help push the gloves out of the realm of the mundane—making for an eye-catching marriage between form and function.