What Is An “Arm Party?”

If you follow the fashion press, you may recently have come across the term, “arm parties.”  Coined, as it turns out, by the Man Repeller. And if you haven’t read her ridiculously funny and brilliant blog, you might as well take a look.

But arm parties are making their way beyond fashion insiders to us women of a certain age. Last week, Sande at “A Gift-Wrapped Life” posted about the trend.

OK then. Arm parties it is. In a quiet way. My arm party probably takes place in the afternoon, avec string quartet. Here are all the gold-toned bracelets I own. Except this family piece, which is kind of a party all on its own.

I don’t put my watch on the invitation list because I’m afraid of scratching its crystal face. The transparent, in body or spirit, often gets damaged at wild parties. The pink and gold bead necklace could be wrapped as a bracelet, but would require someone more tolerant of accessory fidgeting than I. And although the ivory cuff is 30 years old, from elephants who died before the ban, I still can’t bring myself to put it on. What does one do with the spoils of colonialism and species trivialization? No such thing as recycling dishonor.

But I will wear, proudly, the red, white and blue family commemoration of the Great War’s end. And the banged-up oval given me by my parents as an 8th-grade graduation present. To say nothing of the 5 gold bangles – twisted, textured, plain – I bought when I returned from India, in an attempt to capture that adventure. And a red gold heart link bracelet from Chinatown.

Finally, the gold mobius Georg Jensen from Grandmama. Turns out Jensen had a gold phase. I’m still waiting for kidchamp to send me a friendship bracelet.

My arm party is perhaps overly intellectual. Character will out. But nobody has to know the big words jingling in my bangles. Parties are like that. The general clink and hubbub wash out our differences in a shared wave of festivity.

Best of all, arm parties are fun, flexible, and non-committal.  Wear with jeans and a tee, a classic dress like this, or as part of a multi-patterned gypsy dancer harem pants and jeweled sandals outfit. Like the perfect high school boyfriends, easily found, easily put aside.

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  • Very fun and interesting Skyepeale!
    My fave is GJ, but the very close runner up is that very precious Red,White, and Blue number!
    Thanks for sharing this phenom of which, being so far from fashionable cutting edge, I had never heard of. I will have to check out the other “parties” you mentioned.

  • this is one of my favorite posts EVER!! self-aware and cheeky {or arm-y?} at the same time. LOVE it!!

  • While I like the idea of the arm party, I don’t really see myself participating in one. First of all, when one works at a computer all day, the clanking of bracelets against a keyboard can drive you absolutely crazy. Second, I am pretty sure that the tattoos on my wrists are am arm party all on their own. I love yours though – it’s like a classy cocktail party amongst a sea of fraternity toga parties.

  • So, I guess I’d have to actually own bracelets to have an arm party? Darn.

  • Love (really, really love) the “family commemoration of the Great War’s end,” what an amazing piece to wear. On the topic of ivory, once again it seems we’re of a similar mindset, I have several pieces and just can’t bring myself to wear them. I have enjoyed ‘Man Repeller’ for awhile, she is riotous, and spot-on with most observations.

    Another lovely post Miss Privilege!

  • Fantastic! I love all the different styles and textures and colors. I particularly like your WW1 trinket, but then I have a thing for that time period, blame it on NPR.

    I love wrapping necklaces around my wrists for bracelets (I’ve always been a bracelet person). If I ever decide pearls are for me I’ll wear a pearl necklace as a bracelet just like in the portrait of Princess de Broglie.

  • you know, production at kidchamp HQ really has tapered off this summer, hasn’t it? an excellent reminder, and an occasion to ask a question: how do you feel about ombre? it isn’t a true friendship bracelet if i don’t customize, you see.

  • Now I know what “An arm party” is;-)
    Such a wide range of colours, forms, textures and designs. I am inviting myself myself to your nect “Arm Party” ;-)

  • The arm party amps up the low resolution world. Love yours so very much!

    I throw myself a little arm party every day!

  • Loving the gold arm party and I thought for a moment that Georg bangle was a Gehry design.

    My arm party is of the sterling version.

    I met a bakelite collector at Antique Fair with masses of carved and colorful bangles stacked up to her elbow!

    Party on…!

  • Love your version of the arm party, as well as the one Sande features on her site. As much as I like the look (although, not too many at once; it can get get too crowded), I rarely wear bracelets anymore, just because I don’t like the clinking and clattering on my laptop. But, I will adorn them for an evening out.

  • Not sure an “arm party” (love that phrase) is in my future, as like a corvid I would find all the shiny, jangly things distracting–and besides, I depend utterly on my wristwatch. But–heeeeey—maybe I could wear all my wristwatches at once! Set to the time zones of all my favorite cities and those places I long someday to visit. Or perhaps that would just be too bizarre.

    I absolutely covet the WWI bracelet, although it made me think immediately of this book, which casts it in rather a sobering light.

  • Dear LPC, thank you for introducing me to the concept of the arm party, I must research this phenomenon further; do you get together with friends for an arm party or is the party just the gathering of the bracelets themselves? Intrigued. I do notice that a lot of the fashion bloggie girls wear a mass of bracelets – check out Atlantic Pacific, she always has lots! I marvel at her ability to put it all on – I am sure I would never make it out of the house before dusk if I attempted this level of accessorisation.

  • Love Man Repeller in its irreverent hilarity. Maybe yours is a more refined arm “afternoon tea” party! I’d rather attend that than the rager :)

  • i love reading the man repeller. she is a crack up. and i love that day and night dress at anthro. i’ve been considering it. your arm party looks delightful.

  • Armed and dangerous! What a beautiful array of bracelets. It’s sweet that you wear your 8th grade
    graduAtion gift.

  • One can never have too many bracelets. And, I’m loving that your wearing older ones. This rocks !!

  • You are a maestro with words, Lisa. I love this!

  • It is the perfect phrase isn’t it? I love it! now, why wasn’t I clever enough to put a name on my fascination with all this wrist adornment? I am hoping someone puts a stop to me soon because I will be looking to up the quality of my collection. Yours is wonderful and I can’t help think that those multitude of bracelets are good company , every one has a story and memory. XO

  • I’ve been ahead of the times!

    I wear a medic alert bracelet and often wear another bracelet with a charm along with my medic bracelet so as to disguise it. I hold the line at a watch, medic bracelet and another bracelet. It’s a look that goes junky pretty easily.

  • I love that 1918 disc. So pretty. I’ve been having an arm party my entire life with lots of gold bangles. Hooray. x

  • What fun and Lisa I love all of your bracelets, very interesting and unique!!

    Come and join my new fashion Giveaway from Fresh Produce!

    Art by Karena

  • I have to thank you for enlightening me on this trend. I work part-time (more like a temp who fills in during vacations/emergency sick days as a favor to my manager friend) at a luxury French retailer whose name I won’t mention due to some confidentiality agreement I probably signed but didn’t read, and I would see this Arm Party look from time to time and think, hmmm, interesting. Not bad interesting, just interesting, interesting. I never realized it was a real “thing.” Anyway, thanks. Whose says reading blogs doesn’t make you smarter?

  • I love your mix but I loathe the multiple bracelet trend. It was huge here about 7 or 8 years ago and I admit I dipped my wrist into it but it just seems to be reaching the States now. Beware!

  • You do have some attractive bracelets.
    I don´t have anything against a beautiful bracelet, but I own only one ; )!
    So I could not join the party.

  • Great term for something that I’ll never do. I find more than one bangle bracelet to be uncomfortable. And those dangly kind of bracelets drive me bonkers. So, count me out on this trend. As usual.

  • Adore gold bangles but only one at a time,agree with Tabitha we did the bangles’ dance some time ago.Ida

  • deb-u-naunt – I’m so happy you enjoyed it:).

    Sarah G – Well thank you!

    Cathy – Oh I agree on the computer and jangling. If you have tattoos, yes, you’re already there:). I wore these out shopping with my son, so the lady at the fancy consignment shop would know we meant business:).

    TPP – Thank you.

    Emmaleigh – I do believe the necklaces as bracelets is the ultimate Artsy skill.

    lauren – I usually hate ombre so, of course, it’s perfect.

  • Englishvers – So very happy to have your company.

    Patsy – Yes, when I wore this I felt so fancy.

    Hostess – It absolutely could have been Gehry. I really ought to get some big sparkly J. Crew bracelets, but I just don’t think I have the right stuff.

    Jen – Much better for shopping or nights out than for trying to work. I write in my pyjamas, so you can infer my attitude:).

    Staircase Witch – You have just introduced me to a new word. As one who read instead of having friends, from age 5-14, I rarely learn new words. Corvid. I thank you. And I think a case could be made for multiple watches, an Einsteinian one, no? That book looks interesting. I have an odd enjoyment of military history, of battle strategy.

  • Blighty – The bracelets take of the whole shebang:).

    Claire – :). I was simply reluctant to use the term tea party, as it has become rather charged in America these days…

    Janet – That Anthro dress is definitely your style. In the red?

    BarbaraG – Confession. I am thinking of using it to make myself a new cuff:).

    Marsha – Thank you!

    Susan – You are too kind and I really appreciate it.

  • A Gift Wrapped Life _ Sande, I bet your collection will be glorious.

    RoseAG – You are great.

    Faux Fuchsia – You are an ENTIRE party. ;)

    Karena – Thank you!

    Dawn – My readers and commentors CLEARLY make me smarter:).

  • Tabitha – I wonder how I missed it? Probably working…

    Mette – Do you ever wear multiples of anything? I would imagine not?

    Ally Bean – Ha!

    Ida – Britain is always advanced:).

  • With a wretchedly malnourished jewellery box, I would struggle to muster a quiet soirée for two much less an arm ‘party’.

    Perhaps this reveals a great and depressing deal about the shortage of passion – and generous lovers – to have visited my life?

    Sarah x

  • Late to the “Arm Party” post, but that’s OK, because I don’t like the trend at all. It’s ALL OVER Los Angeles. But, I’ve always preferred simplicity – so one beautiful bracelet, or watch – that’s it for me, especially at this age.

  • I know an extremely elegant woman of a certain age who wears silver cuffs of varying sizes on her forearms. When I was younger I emulated her by wearing just one, but now that I “profess” for a career, I wear nothing at all on my forearms, as I would distract myself if the shiny silver were to catch my eye mid-point.

  • How funny – I live in Hawaii and we usually lag a couple of years behind fashion trends – sometimes they never make it here at all. But arm parties? That’s a way of life for Island gals! You want to identify a local – look for the gal with 10 bracelets (usually gold – we’re big on gold here) on her arm!

  • This is definitely a party I RSVP to every day. Love your commemoration bracelet. I’d let the family silver go before that lovely piece ever left my wrist.

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  1. […] the business; you innocent fool’ was the message. I’ve been missing out on having an arm party. Did you have one and not invite […]

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