THE EVOLUTION OF THE UGLY CHRISTMAS SWEATER
You know you own one. You’ve Konmari’d your closet, probably more than once over the last few months, retrieving the spark-inducing items from the floor. As you held this particular item to decide, warm memories of gingerbread-filled holiday get-togethers at Grandma’s house enticed you to once again store it away for next season. Yes, we’re talking about the infamous Ugly Christmas Sweater. But is there a way to rock it in proper True Fashionista style?
Before we discuss, however, here’s a little backstory, because you know you wanna know. Feel free to use as icebreaker conversation at your upcoming virtual work Christmas party. You’re welcome.
Blame the fifties for the mass commercialization of Christmas. Initially called “Jingle Bell Sweaters”, the first Uglies featured Christmas-themed decorations and were never intended to be straight up cheese, but rather a True Fashionista artistic, joyful representation of the holiday season. Some thirty years later, The Cosby Show’s Cliff Huxtable sent them rocketing to the stratosphere of tacky holiday garments. From there they just. Wouldn’t. Go. Away. They began showing up on various TV shows’ characters, the trend lasting well into the nineties.
The next epic moment in Ugly Christmas Sweater history occurred in the 2001 hit, Bridget Jones’ Diary, when Colin Firth’s character Mark Darcy was shamed for uncomfortably sporting one at a party. Then, as Mary Bellis shares for ThoughtCo, the following year the city of Vancouver hosted the first ever Original Ugly Christmas Sweater party. The event was such a success that they made the move to trademark the phrase “ugly Christmas sweater” and “ugly Christmas sweater party”. In case you’re wondering, said party is also a fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Canada, which grants wishes for children with life-threatening illnesses.
In the 2010’s, the Ugly Christmas Sweater rose enough in prominence to elbow its way into haute couture. High end designers like Stella McCartney and Marc Jacobs hopped aboard the fashion Polar Express with their own True Fashionista adaptations of said sweater to the delight of discerning hipsters worldwide. Preen went supermodern with a cubist presentation, complete with a geometrically rendered star, while Markus Lupfer’s Wreath pullover features sequins and Dolce Vita presented a not-so-ugly Christmas knit poncho.
The fresh pack for the year that can’t end quickly enough includes Cece’s tastefully simple jeweled bow detail sweater. With just one (!) bow centered beneath the neckline, you can claim (not so) ugly Christmas sweater, while simultaneously pulling off a look True Fashionista enough to wear with a skirt and heels or dressed down with jeans. Michael Kors does a favor for the Hanukah peeps with his bead-embellished blue cashmere sweater. Said beads are silver stars, which work in a festive way all around. Majorelle’s True Fashionista cropped, cross back sweater in cheery bright red just screams holiday season for miles. Tory Burch goes 1970’s with a convertible embellished merino wool sweater with an oversize collar that will kill on a Zoom call. Ted Baker London offers an ambher mock neck sweater in gorgeous, flattering burgundy, where the holiday part is a tastefully placed bow crosswise on one shoulder. Simple and effective. And yes, Valentino weighs in with their nod to the holidays featuring a single-color feather-embellished ponte sweater, where the feathers are attached to tastefully puffed sleeves.
Given all the chic approaches to Christmas toppage above, you indeed have options to make your Christmas wear a classy option. However, if your inner soul really needs traditional tacky for the warm and fuzzies this holiday season, then look no further than your friends at Tipsy Elves for a great selection of sweaters featuring Christmas lights, space Santa on a unicorn, 3D garland, and a super cute women’s Santa suit cardigan.
Oh, and we’ve got ‘em too at True Fashionistas. Shop soon and often, as our collection is updated daily and you don’t want to be left out in the proverbial cold without something cute and/or just a little tacky to rock this season. Cheers!