From the strong-shouldered power women on spring runways to the blockbuster exhibition Superheroes: Fashion And Fantasy now on at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the superhero has thundered into the fashion world with a Wham! Pow! Snap!
And it appears the rest of the world is also looking for larger-than-life, albeit, familiar heroes. Iron Man recently smashed the movie box office. Anticipation is high for the return of The Dark Knight and even the Incredible Hulk is getting another chance to wow us this summer.
“Over the past couple of years, fashion has seen the return of a more aggressive femininity, one that harks back to the overtly sexualized fashions of the 1980s,” says Andrew Bolton, curator of the Met exhibition. “Then as now, the concept of the superhero is reflected in fashions that are both anti-nostalgic and unsentimental.”
But what can real women — mere mortals — take from the wardrobe arsenal of the superheroine to transform herself into a fantastical female?
What about the seemingly simple cuff, like the bullet-deflecting kind Wonder Woman wore?
It’s a universal equalizer — you can be any dress size or age and don a cuff.
The wide bracelet is a hot fashion item this season and they come in a dazzling array of materials including precious metals, resin, molten leather and gem encrusted. OK, so there aren’t any made of “feminum” like Diana Prince’s but they still pack a punch.
Slip on a wide cuff and it immediately gives heft to delicate wrists, signifying strength and power. The over-sized width, like a gauntlet, also gives the appearance of protection.
“The minute you put it on, it puts you in a different frame of mind. You feel like a super individual,” says jewelry designer and retailer Basia Polowska.
Carole Tanenbaum, the renowned curator and connoisseur of vintage costume jewelry, also agrees that a cuff conveys super-strength. “It’s very visual. It’s one of the first things you notice because it’s on your hands and the hands are the expression of the soul.”
Today you can find a wide cuff from the cheap chic stores like H&M to seriously chic Tiffany’s.