Ladies' evening gloves are long gloves worn by adult women as formal wear, usually to a formal outfit such as an evening gown or wedding dress. The longer the glove, the higher the formality. Among them, the longest evening gloves are called "opera gloves". The "elbow-length or longer" part is the key; gloves which cover a substantial portion of the forearm, up to just below the elbow, can legitimately be called "long gloves" or "evening gloves", but never "Opera Gloves". In this instance the term "Opera" probably has more to do with the length than occasion, as is also seen in "Opera Length Gloves" and "Opera Length Pearls".
The first people to wear gloves in medieval Europe were members of royalty and dignitaries in the Roman Catholic Church, the dominant church in Europe. For church dignitaries, or notable figures, gloves were a symbol of purity. Many Western ceremonial dresses are derived from Christian ritual costumes, especially in the Catholic Church, the largest Christian denomination where rituals are strictly disciplined, and it was required to reduce skin exposure. Modesty has long been a virtue for women, according to Christianity. In response to this trend, in Western cultures and Anglo-Saxons cultural spheres, short-sleeved or sleeveless dresses such as night dress code are to be worn with long gloves up to the elbow even at official events and upper class social circles. Long gloves allowed women to hide the skin on their arms if they had a no sleeve on their top which enabled them to cover up and maintain their modesty. Therefore, it has a strong meaning as a formal dress in a sacred and strict place, and it is said to be a sophisticated dress of a neat and clean lady.
Ladies' gloves for formal and semi-formal wear come in three lengths for women: wrist, elbow, and opera (over the elbow, usually reaching to the biceps but sometimes to the full length of the arm) length. The most noble opera length gloves are custom made of white kidskin. Many other types of leather, most usually soft varieties of cowhide, are used in making opera length gloves; patent leather and suede are especially popular as alternatives to kidskin, and are often more affordable than kidskin. Satin and stretch satin materials are extremely popular, and there are mass-produced varieties as well. More unusual glove materials include leathers made from salmon, python, and stingray.