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Backwords: The Latest Fashion

Whether they are called armbands or sleeve holders, Mike Shaw still goes on wearing them.

It must be well over 40 years since I started wearing these neat little inventions that keep your shirt sleeves up.

I’ve always called them armbands, which when I was a teenager seemed made especially for people like me with shortish arms.

They were not uncommon then, and in my impressionable youth they soon became an essential part of my man-about-town image.

Nowadays, we armband wearers are an endangered species, usually found only among the 50 to 100 age range.

When you’re wearing a crisp, white shirt they do a useful job by stopping your cuffs from getting soiled and grubby.

But that’s not the real reason I still wear them. It’s simply that I’m a creature of habit.

And I feel distinctly undressed if the bands of stretchable wire, wrapped concertina-like round a humble length of narrow tape, are not comfortably in place.

If handled properly and carefully they can last a lifetime.

The pair I’m wearing now, for instance, is only the second in 34 years. And the first pair would probably still be going strong but for an act of involuntary vandalism by a then youthfully mischievous daughter.

Now I learn that the proper name for armbands is sleeve holders. And apparently they’re right back in fashion.

Not just with men, either. According to one advertisement, women are going for them as well.

“They’re still the most practical way to keep your sleeves up,’’ says the advertising claim, which we dinosaurs have known for years.

“Sleeve holders look great with any shirt, blouse or jacket, and are especially useful with today’s baggy sweaters.’’

Talking about shirts, do they still make the ones with detachable collars these days?

There was something rather special about a well-starched well-ironed collar -even though it meant faffing about with collar studs.

Nowadays, collar studs are among items of yesteryear, more commonly found in museums than in bedrooms.

Cufflinks too may soon be consigned to the museum display cabinets, there to be ogled by future generations demanding to know from their parents what possible use the little trinkets could have.

Still, you never know. They might - like my dear old armbands, make a comeback.

As my father used to say, if you keep something long enough it’s bound to come round again on the ever-turning wheel of fashion.


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