A child of the 80’s, I was in grade school when Madonna
hit MTV with “Lucky Star” and her armloads of black plastic bangle bracelets. Those things were hot – every girl wanted to sport her own jelly-like bangles. These bracelets were started as a punk rock anti-fashion statement when “punks” put black rubber o-rings around their wrists and wore them as bracelets. Lance Armstrong, the Tour de France champ, has zoomed right past the Material Girl and ant-fashion statements, though.
Armstrong introduced the “LiveStrong” rubber bracelet, a wristband with a social message. The LiveStrong bracelet supports Armstrong’s cancer foundation, the Lance Armstrong Foundation. His foundation, LAF, works to improve the quality of life of people living with cancer by funding research, community programs, and public education efforts. Armstrong developed the “LiveStrong” logo and soon after, a whole series of merchandise to fund LAF’s efforts.
Could Armstrong have realized the craze he was starting with his little yellow bracelet? It’s impossible to turn around in a group of kids, within a circle of athletes, and in many other groups without spotting a rainbow of colors on most arms.
So what do you stand for? Some of the most common bracelets with a cause are:
Pink Bracelets: Signify Cancer Awareness with messages like “Share Beauty Spread Hope”, or just “Love”, “Hope”, or “Find a Cure”
Rainbow Bracelets: Demonstrate Gay Pride
Violet and Black Bracelets: Tsunami Relief
Red, White, and Blue Bracelets: United States Patriotism
Red Bracelets: Courage Bands, worn by military families
Red Bracelets: Not a Courage Band, worn for HIV AIDS Awareness or heart disease (make sure to check out the message stamped on them if you’re in doubt)
Black & White Bracelets: Remembrance of the Dead
Black & White Bracelets, Separate: Two separate bracelets worn together in the UK with the message, “STAND UP AND SPEAK” to support anti-racism.
Black & Silver Bracelets: These bracelets stand for “Break the Cycle”, standing in support of child abuse prevention
Orange Bracelets: A bevy of meanings – look at the message stamped. Usually, orange bracelets are for Multiple Sclerosis Awareness and say, “I Will”. The American Cancer Society released orange bracelets with the message “LiveFree. SmokeFree.” Orange bracelets are also used in awareness of Asperger’s Syndrome, Lupus, and Self-Harm
Yellow Bracelets: Most popular are Lance Armstrong’s Cancer Awareness bracelets, “LIVESTRONG”. Yellow bracelets also stand as a support for soldiers and troops at war with messages like “FREEDOM”, and “USA” on them.
Green Bracelets: Usually, these rubber bracelets are used to support Ecology Awareness with messages like “SAVE OUR EARTH”. Green bracelets are also used in Leukemia and Muscular Dystrophy Awareness.
Blue Bracelets: Such a popular color, these rubber wristlets are used for many causes. The biggest right now is the campaign in the UK to stop bullies, saying “BEAT BULLYING”. Other blue bracelets represent general cancer research, anti-Bush sentiments, and the tsunami relief effort.
Dark Blue Bracelets: Autism Support, Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Prevention, and a series that support Cystic Fibrosis Research that say “Breathe”.
Purple Bracelets: Most popular right now is the purple rubber bracelets for supporting troops at war, a color derived from the “purple heart”. Other purple wristbands have the message “MINDSTRONG” printed on them, supporting Alzheimer’s Disease Research.
White Bracelets: Most often used to support Christian themes with messages like “Jesus Loves Me” or “WWJD”. In the UK, white bracelets are often used in anti-poverty campaigns. White bracelets are also popular with basketball fans due to Lebron James, who has been wearing matching white Nike Baller ID Bands on each arm.
Black Bracelets: Usually associated with Melanoma Awareness and Mourning, these rubber bracelets are often used in a punk 80’s way with messages like “LIVEWRONG”.
With so many options out there, and a bevy of new “meanings” cropping up all the time, it’s easy to throw a few bucks to a worthy cause and accent your fashion with a statement that really makes an impact.