How To Style Out A Broken Arm

Esquire's Style Director Teo van den Broeke reflects on his most crippling style dilemma yet​

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I've always been tall. At the age of 11 I was 5ft 8 (10 inches above the national average), and by the time I hit 18 I'd reached 6ft5. My bamboo-esque rate of growth not only meant my school uniforms looked shrunken by the end of each term, but it also resulted in a tally of broken bones longer than, well, me.

Before my sixteenth birthday I'd broken my wrist twice, my leg thrice (once by jumping onto a little girl's head in a jungle gym ball pool) and 12 ribs (all in one go when I was bundled in a game of rugby). I also fractured my skull, snapped three fingers and broke my nose. I spent my teenage years looking like a lanky Tiny Tim, or the brittle one from Unbreakable.

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I probably wouldn't have admitted it then, but I used to really enjoy breaking bones. The smell of the Accident & Emergency ward, the roar of the consultant orthopedist... There was something that felt important and vital about the experience. All that sympathy, and the cast! A fiberglass badge of honour, which my friends could draw on and my parents would fawn over as they cooked me spaghetti hoops, and bought me milkshakes.

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Last week, I snapped the top of my radius. I flipped over the handlebars of my Tokyo Bike after hitting a pothole on London Bridge and braking too hard. I was put in a cast and told that I could expect to be rid of it in six weeks.

Where once having a broken bone (and with it, a plaster cast) gave me a thrill, now it's nothing but a nuisance. How do I shower? Or cook? And what about getting dressed? How can I be expected to squeeze an arm the size of a heavy baby through the sleeves of all my nice blazers? And how on earth am I supposed to do any exercise (the one thing that allows me to actually fit into those pretty clothes, which, with each passing year, come closer to bursting at the seams)?

The answers to all these questions, and a few more besides, can be found below.

1 | Sort out your sling…

You don't have much control over the appearance of your cast so be sure to take charge of your sling. Bin the funny foam thing, filter some coffee through that dodgy canvas triangle and buy instead a few oversized summer scarves in midnight blue, black and charcoal, which can easily be turned into slings. Not only will this be kinder on you neck, it will also work wonders to conceal your wretched stump and look like you've actually thought about how to make it look its best – which is the first step to looking stylish.

2 | ..and be sure to buy more than one

If you're feeling a bit bolder, a good way to make the best of the next six weeks is to invest in a range of jazzy (and not so jazzy) scarves from the likes of Hermes and Etro and build your outfit around each day. You could even turn it into a social media franchise (like one senior PR man we know did when he recently broke his wrist). #Followers!

3 | Invest in Kilgour

Much of the Savile Row tailoring house's more experimental suit jackets and blazers feature unbuttoned cuffs, which means that there's plenty of space to squeeze an oversized cast through. The last thing you want is to be stuffing your already beaten-up arm into a too-skinny arm sleeve. And having a broken arm is no excuse to look sloppy.

4 | Make athleisure your new go-to trend

Tracksuit bottoms masquerading as suit trousers and blazers cut from jersey – there's little not to love about the current athleisure trend. Comfortable, stylish and perfect for taking you from the boardroom to, um, the sofa, it's also the ultimate look to buy into if you're nursing a broken arm – or indeed a broken leg. Fabrics are invariably soft and stretchy, which means they'll easily slip over a cast or two. Look to brands such as Canadian mainstay Kit & Ace or Korean label Wooyoungmi for the best of the trend.

5 | Continue wearing your watch

What are you? An animal? Just because you've broken your watch-wearing wrist doesn't mean you should get rid all together. Switch to your opposite wrist and carry on as normal.

6 | Walk. A lot.

One thing you realise when you've broken your wrist is how easy it is to put on weight when you're not doing any exercise. Trot up the escalator on the tube, walk to work as much as you can and drink plenty of water at your desk so you can take lots of toilet breaks. That way, by the time the cast comes off you'll still be able to fit into your clothes…