What some refer to as “gorilla arms” is a style that’s been lingering on the catwalk for several years now. It’s a style that will keep you warm, give you a boxy silhouette and perhaps poke the animal instinct in you.

We are talking of the textured sleeve, in the form of fur, wool or feathers, that you can expect to see plenty more of as fall 2012 fashion hits shelves.

This sleeve is expanding the visual attraction of a fur jacket or overcoat by an arm’s length (pun intended!) and giving the upper torso a futuristic geometric shape.

Continue reading after the break to find out what there is to it.

Click the thumbnails for full pictures
Jackets from the jungle
Jackets from the jungle
Jackets from the jungle
Jackets from the jungle
Jackets from the jungle
Jackets from the jungle
Jackets from the jungle
Jackets from the jungle
Jackets from the jungle
Jackets from the jungle
Jackets from the jungle
Jackets from the jungle
Jackets from the jungle
Jackets from the jungle
Jackets from the jungle
Jackets from the jungle
Jackets from the jungle
Jackets from the jungle
Jackets from the jungle
Jackets from the jungle
Jackets from the jungle
Jackets from the jungle
Jackets from the jungle
Jackets from the jungle
Jackets from the jungle
Jackets from the jungle
Jackets from the jungle
Jackets from the jungle
Jackets from the jungle
Jackets from the jungle

What is a textured sleeve?

Textured sleeves are basically part of an outerwear piece, where the sleeves are of a different and more voluminous material to the rest of the garment. Due to their varied texture, the textured sleeves are also known sometimes as gorilla arms, as they’ve got a furry animal-type visual appeal.

Even though they’re part of an overall garment, you could almost tag them as an accessory trend for fall 2012 because they bring something new to an already trend-focussed outfit. The textured sleeve we’re seeing for this season are mostly made up of fur, feathers or wool. They can be of the same or contrasting colour as the main garment, but must be exclusive to the sleeves only (that’s the key to this trend).

Fur sleeves

Runways were a sea of fur, some faux some not, this fall, enough to create a warm feast for the eyes. But fashion houses like BCBG took the additional leap of contrasting their leather and suede ensembles with fur sleeves. On the BCBG runway, these sleeves were seen with biker jackets, Edwardian-overcoats and an androgynous-style blazer, proving the versatility of this trend.

fur sleeves

Fur sleeves at BCBG Max Azria, F/W ’12

Jason Wu and House of Holland worked with the colour palette of the season, that being shades of red, to contrast the garment and fur sleeve.

fur shoulders at Jason Wu

Fur shoulders at Jason Wu, F/W ’12

Showing that you don’t always have to opt for full-sleeves, especially if you have a smaller upper torso, Fendi’s wool-fur combo gives a new length to this trend with the quarter or half textured sleeve. Even if you choose to go for half-sleeves, make sure you get the core right of the sleeve’s texture being different.

fur half sleeves

Fur half sleeves at Fendi, F/W ’12

Tory Burch’s eggplant-hued jacket, worn over a grandma cardigan, stayed within the colour palette, but chose to pick different fabrics for each individual section of the garment. By doing this, the ensemble is being pulled together without taking any drastic risks, yet ticking all the boxes for fall’s trend chart. Another example for this is DKNY’s furry vest, where the tones have been kept minimal and neutral, but a statement is being made via the choice of the grey textured sleeve.

contrast fur sleeves

Contrasting sleeves at Tory Burch and DKNY, F/W ’12

Animal impulses

If the colour palette and braided hair wasn’t enough to make every Fendi model look as though they’d run away from the jungle onto the runway, then their animal-skin sleeves definitely proved the point. The whiskers formed a halo above the shoulders, while the velvety skin hugged the arms… this textured sleeve comes with a whole lot of attitude.

fur at fendi

Fur at Fendi, F/W ’12

If going bold with trends for fall 2012 is on your agenda, then Rachel Zoe’s cheetah print on white fur is another great example to look at. If you have the attitude, the guts and a slender upper torso to make the textured sleeve look flattering, there’s no stopping you with this one.

leopard print coat

Leopard print coat at Rachel Zoe, F/W ’12

Tip: if you want to get the textured arm look without investing in a fur-sleeved coat, you can fake the effect by throwing a fur coat over your shoulders in a colour that contrasts your outfit. From the front the silhouette will be much the same.

Feather sleeves

Some designers swayed away from the harsh visuals of animal prints and fur, only to take a rather feminine approach to the textured sleeve trend. Collette Dinnigan being the leader of this pack, went for a soft, black feathers on the sleeves when incorporating the trend into her fall / winter 2012 collection.

The only aspect that changed with feathers was that it gave the overall ensemble a romantic fairytale, almost ethereal look.

feather sleeves

Feather sleeves at Collette Dinnigan, F/W ’12

More pictures

For more examples of fur sleeves / gorilla arms as they appeared on the fall 2012 runways, click on the thumbnails and peruse the gallery.

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