Trend Watch: Cuff Bracelets and a Focus on the Upper Arms

On Live! with Regis and Kelly filmed last week in Miami Beach, the hosts welcomed Nicole Richie as a guest on the show. Kelly Ripa complimented Richie on her style and credited her with single-handedly putting the upper arm bracelet [back] on the map. The cuff bracelet worn on an upper arm, like so many celebrity looks, has a bit of a following.


Yet because this style of adornment has been around for centuries, as seen in many a movie depicting the style of the ancients, it can be a difficult look to pull off without looking a bit intentionally or unintentionally costume-y.


Glamour magazine polled its readers as to their opinion of this look. The results, published in the June 2009 issue, reflect that only 35% of responding readers think that wearing a bracelet on your upper arm is a DO; 65% say it’s a DON’T. Glamour comments: “Turns out you are neither Cleopatra nor a comic book superhero, so wearing a bracelet above your elbow is silly, you say.”



Nevertheless, the stylish Ms. Richie wears bracelets both above and below her elbow, and has been promoting this look in conjunction with her new jewelry line House of Harlow 1960. Her arms are so slender that she can push a bangle just about up to her elbow. Happily, the one identifiable bracelet shown above her elbow is a hinged bracelet, not a bangle.  


Having slender, well-toned upper arms is a must for wearing a cuff or hinged bangle on an upper arm. The preeminent fashion icon who is bringing attention to well-toned upper arms is, of course, the First Lady, Michelle Obama, who often wears sleeveless dresses. While bracelets are a distant third to necklaces and brooches in her jewelry repertoire, Mrs. Obama has worn diamond bangle bracelets on occasion; notably at the inaugural balls. Thus far, has not chosen to adorn her upper arms.


For the moment, at least, this trend is oriented toward very young women. It does present an opportunity for the savvy jeweler or jewelry designer to promote the versatility of certain pieces to effect this very old, once again new way of wearing cuffs and hinged bracelets.

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