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Get a grip

There's nothing like signalling your rage in reindeer-skin gloves: IS IT WORTH IT? Driving gloves Connolly pounds 105
DRIVERS who wear gloves have been the butt of many an Alan Partridge joke. Yet they ignore the snide string-back references and insist that gloves make us better drivers. So this season's reindeer driving gloves (pounds 105) from Connolly are less about cravats and more about control.

You can see the attraction, sleek and black with red handstitching, the gloves have grips and holes in all the right places. Vogue's Vanessa Gillingham agrees. "They're well made and they look it. You can tell they'll last."

Reindeer is the skin for driving - soft, absorbent and longer lasting than suede - it gives an iron grip. For those whose needs are less concourse and more car-pool, they also protect from hot steering wheels and icy interiors.

A pair of high street knock-offs can do the warmth thing at a third of the price, but as anyone with an E-type will tell you, it's authenticity that counts. Connolly have upholstered all the seats to be seen in, from the first Rolls Royce to the QEII, and their gloves are the genuine article. Although company policy prevents anything as crass as naming names, I am assured they can be seen on many a professional hand.

But are they necessary for the Honda owner? Driving gloves date back to the wooden steering-wheel days when protection was vital. Today's mod cons make them less so, but glove owners say that's not the point. Your average bloke may never need his reindeer grip to tame a headstrong Bugatti, but he likes to know that he has it, just in case.

While men are particular about the functions of their gloves (boys and their toys!), women tend to be more concerned with the glamour factor. Expensive gloves can give a Grace Kelly air to the most mundane of supermarket runs. Certainly they give one the urge to wave, HRH-style, at passing motorists. And for those of us whose driving gestures are of the less peaceful kind, Connolly do their popular signalling glove - black, with the appropriate two fingers dyed red. Designer road rage - now that's worth it.

Brandy Scott