I Guess Random Arm Warmers Are Back
I always knew fashion worked in cycles, but I must admit seeing all the questionable trends from my tween and teen years resurface still manages to shock me. I try to reason with myself each time top models and influencers break out things like cargo pants and mid-section belts. "Well, at least they're not wearing structured vests or showing off their thong," I'll think. And almost the very next day, those trends make a comeback, too. It's as if I'm literally time traveling back to the most chaotic, cringey parts of 2003.
One trend I truly didn't expect to live another day, though, are arm warmers. They were big in the '80s and even saw a rise in the aughts as part of Disney Channel's cutesy-kid star uniform. Not quite gloves and not at all sleeves, the confusing little extra has no real purpose other than being decorative. But in 2022, someone decided we needed them again. And now, arm warmers are seemingly everywhere.
They appeared in the 2021 Gucci Love Parade and Vivienne Westwood's Spring 2022 collection. Celebrities are already on board, and street style stars have been adding them to their looks for months. With each new outfit example, I'm becoming more and more convinced I need a pair for myself (again, since I already hopped on the trend in my youth). And after viewing the photo inspiration ahead — both from the past and present — you might just feel the same.
Arm Warmers Always Make Me Think of Avril Lavigne
They were essentially part of her signature "Sk8ter Boi" style and she owned a variety of different options, including knit and fishnet versions.
However, the '00s Staple Worked for Multiple Aesthetics
Add a splash of pink and maybe a few sparkles, and arm warmers became Paris Hilton-approved.
They Were Sexy
Especially when worn with low-rise pants and bra tops, like Carmen Electra.
You Could Coordinate Them With the Rest of Your Look
It's possible Gwen Stefani DIY'd this one with extra shirt material.
There Were Formal Styles, Too
Paired with her sparkly black dress, Macy Gray's spiderwebbed arm warmer was pretty glam.
Now, Arm Warmers Have Returned
Lace-up versions were spotted on the Gucci runway last November.
Celebrities Are Into Them
Doja Cat wore a single distressed arm warmer on stage at 2021's Austin City Limits Music Festival.
They Work for the Cool Weather
This extra layer provides extra warmth — and, possibly, a pop of color.
They Can Be Part of a Set
The new way to wear this accessory is with a matching, skin-baring top. Extra points if its crisscrossed, like this H&M design.
Arm Warmers Can Quickly Add Interest to Your Outfit
Much like a scarf or a hat, they'll provide a little something extra to a simple look, and will especially make a statement if you go with a printed version, like these checkered ones from ASOS.
It Looks Like They're Here to Stay for a Bit
Considering so many '00s trends have returned within the past few years, arm warmers — or, detachable sleeves, as some might call them — fit right in. Plus, they kind of create the perfect between-weather look as we head into spring. Personally, I'm all for giving them another shot (why not?!) and plan to start small with a matching arm warmer and dress combo, like this one from Storets, or Alice and Olivia's Arm Warmer Tank.