The best way to predict the next big fashion trend is to remember my catchphrase: “Never is the next new thing™.” The styles that are most hated at first — the ones that make people say, “Never!” — are the ones that are hottest once our eyes adjust. Since I figured this out, whenever I think, “I would never wear that,” my next thought is, “I can guarantee I’ll be wearing that.”
Occasionally, I have a micro “Never is the next new thing™” experience: It’s not trend-worthy, but it’s definitely a personal change of heart. It happened to me last year with animal-toe shoes. It just happened to me again with arm warmers. I came “thisclose” to mentioning them disapprovingly in Saturday’s post about Madonna and aging, because a few gossip bloggers have suggested that Madonna is wearing arm warmers to hide crinkly elbows.
In my post, I noted that elbows do indeed deteriorate aesthetically as the years go by. I was going to add that if Madonna is wearing the arm warmers for that reason, I wish she would give them up and flaunt her old elbows. Wrinkly elbow pride! But I’d already noted that she’s said to wear fingerless gloves to cover aging hands, so the general point had been made.
Meanwhile, it completely slipped my mind that I have charcoal rib-knit arm warmers that go with the sleeveless shearling vest I got from designer/blogger Stacy Lomman’s Fall 2012 collection. That combination made sense to me. After all, if the weather is cool enough to wear a shearling vest with a knit collar, it’s too cool for bare arms. Stacy says, “I personally own fleece vests, neoprene vests, and chunky sleeveless sweater knits. Vests can easily be worn over thick turtlenecks with long sleeves, so I think they’re great layering pieces. Still, I thought the arm warmers offered another option that is very fashion forward.” Edgy but practical! It’s such a pleasure when designers are realistic like that.
I was inspired to wear Stacy’s arm warmers for the first time yesterday — only one day after I gave the side-eye to Madonna’s arm warmers. It was chilly outside, but I wanted to wear my Fall 2011 silver, wool Stacy Lomman jacket with 3/4-length sleeves. I’ve been obsessively wearing that over a short-sleeved black t-shirt for more than a month, with a winter coat over the whole thing. I wanted to skip the coat this time but I worried I’d be cold in the cropped sleeves. Then I remembered the arm warmers. In my short sleeves, I didn’t feel as constricted as I do in many long-sleeved t-shirts and sweaters, but when I got a little warm, I could take the jacket off without freezing. And if I had gotten really hot, I could have taken off the arm warmers and stashed them in my purse. Speaking of heat, I told Stacy I thought arm warmers would be the perfect layering piece for women having menopausal hot flashes. What?!? It could be big business. (And they do hide those pesky elbows!)
I only got a bleary Instagram photo of yesterday’s jacket/arm warmer outfit, but it’s a photo that’s totally worth $1 billion. (Yo, newly rich Instagram peeps, call me for all your luxury jewelry needs.) I was using my better camera to take a picture of Stacy wearing her red and royal blue wool-tweed crop jacket, also from her Fall 2012 collection.
Later, I wished I’d asked Stacy take a picture of me for an outfit post. Luckily, today’s weather continued being not-too-hot, not-too-cold. Perfect for the sleeveless vest with arm warmers. Like the silver jacket, it’s got a motorcycle vibe. Stacy says that look is becoming one of her signature styles. “I did [the motorcycle style] in grey/silver with elbow-length sleeves for Fall ’11 and then I repeated it as a sleeveless vest in Spring ’12 in neoprene. So, I thought leather or fur would be a logical progression for a new fall season.”
I was wearing the vest and arm warmers when I visited Jean Kormos of Ghost Tailor — the creator of the Nobel-Prize dress I wrote about for the Huffington Post . She took some outfit pictures for me in her studio. Ghost Tailor is a full-service operation. Alterations and blogging assistance, all in one place.
What Wendy Wore
Jacket and arm warmers: Stacy Lomman (2012)
Jeans: Citizens of Humanity (2011)
Bag: Prada (2009)
Scarf: Alexander McQueen (2010)
Shoes: Prada (2010)
Rings: My own designs
Jean was impressed with the profile of the vest, created by gathering in the back. I was excited that she noticed because Stacy struggled to do that. She doesn’t have the industrial-strength sewing machine that would normally be used on such a tough material. I kept telling her to skip it; that the vest was great without any pleats in the back. She insisted that it would make all the difference. She was right.
But this “Never is the next new thing™” moment has a history pre-dating Madonna’s arm warmers. The seeds were sown in 2010, when Brioni’s shoulder-length gloves gave Stacy and me the giggles. “Then Stacy patiently pulled one on,” I wrote at the time, “and it looked amazing.”
In 2011, Brioni’s women’s line was discontinued, which is sad because the clothes and accessories were gorgeous and so well-made. At least we can console ourselves with Stacy’s clothes. If you want to place an order for a custom-made piece, you can contact Stacy via her website.
This post is linked to Visible Monday on Not Dead Yet Style.