Opera gloves are often considered the most elegant style of evening glove. The most popular style of opera glove is the mousquetaire which gets its name from the three inch opening at the wrist level. This opening is secured by a series of three pearl looking snaps or buttons. During this time period and in to the Victorian period, gloves were fashioned to be incredibly - and often uncomfortable - fitted and tight. The snaps allowed the glove to be worn even more so.
Before the mousquetaire opening was developed, the process of even putting a fitted opera glove on was a challenge. One that was usually not attempted without the help of a buttonhook wielding dresser and a container of talcum powder.
This type of glove was made popular by the French during the 1500s to 1700s and is where the word "musketeer" is derived from.
Once unbuttoned or unsnapped, the glove wearer could then slip her hand out of the long confining glove without having to take the entire glove off. Once free, the hand could then be easily used for eating. The finger section would be folded away and secured neatly to the remaining portion of the glove.
The gloves were elegantly worn by the ladies until the end of the evening when they would take them off only in the privacy of their own chambers.