The holiday season is all about traditions. There are the Christmas lights, building a snowman and singing Christmas carols. However, a new trend has emerged to become a Christmas season staple: ugly Christmas sweaters. That’s right, what started off with what appears to be an internet meme has become a widespread tradition during the festive time of year. It’s mostly for the younger crowd as it’s a bit of a tongue-in-cheek way to troll the older generations, who used to think these types of hand-knitted creations were cute.
So where did ugly sweaters come from originally and who brought them back into the mainstream? Let’s take a closer look at just how we got to this ugly point in time.
When Did It Become Fashionable To Wear Ugly Christmas Sweaters?
Blame The Eighties
The Eighties brought us a lot of awful fashion. From fanny packs to mullets, it was mostly a forgettable era for fashion. Or more accurately, an era we want to forget. One of the things that came up in the Eighties that stuck was the ugly Christmas sweaters. It started off on television comedies. We’d often see non-fashion-conscious females on sitcoms – like mothers and wives – hand-making their significant others these ugly sweaters. You’d find cardigans, buttoned downs the front and regular crew necks. And then you’d see the goofy father – like Bill Cosby from The Cosby Show or Chevy Chase from the Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – dawning these bad boys.
To be clear, at the time, these sweaters were deemed to be goofy. Anyone wearing them in this shows or movies was someone who was the butt of jokes; not someone who was hip and stylish. Nowadays, the trend is to outdo the others by finding something uglier and cornier than the next person.
So Who Brought Them Back?
So many fashion faux-pas of the past stay there. However, this is one that’s come back from the dead in a big way, and it’s a member of the Great White North that’s to blame. More precisely, the city of Vancouver in Canada claims to be the birthplace of the ugly Christmas sweaters revival.
In 2002, they (allegedly) were the first to have an ugly sweater party. Everyone had to have one of those cheesy, outdated cardigans pulled over to gain entry to the event. The fact that everyone wasn’t fashionable made everyone equals. Each year, The Original Ugly Christmas Sweater party continues to be hosted at the Commodore Ballroom where everyone is expected to meet the dress code. Chris Boyd and Jordan Birch are the founders of this party and they’ve even gone so far as to trademark the term “ugly Christmas sweater” as well as “ugly Christmas sweater party”.
The party isn’t some kind of a cash-grab, though. The money raised from it goes to support the Make A Wish Foundation in Canada, which helps grant wishes for children who are impacted by severe or terminal illnesses.
Where To Buy Your Ugly Christmas Sweater?
It has been an interesting transition in the marketplace in terms of shopping for these ugly sweaters. When it was first an underground type of a thing to do back in the early 2000’s, you’d have to comb through your dad’s closet to dust something off. Either that or you’d have to hit the thrift shops, a Walmart clearance or Goodwill to see what they have in store. Nowadays, the fashion trend has spread far and wide to the point where you can pick these sweaters up anywhere. Now high-end brands invest, so you can shop at Nordstrom’s to peruse their large selection of fashionable ugly sweaters. Even sports teams have joined the party, too, as every NFL team has ugly Christmas sweaters that they release for the holiday season.
What used to be a hipster trend is now part of the Christmas season mainstream.