University of Fashion Blog

Posts Tagged: "Christmas Fashion"


Friends wearing Christmas sweaters. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and what better way to express that festive cheer than by donning the most outrageous, garish, and downright ugly Christmas sweater you can find? The ugly Christmas sweater trend has become a beloved tradition, transforming from fashion faux pas to a global phenomenon that brings joy and laughter to holiday celebrations. Let’s unravel the colorful history of this quirky trend and explore its meteoric rise to popularity.


Early Christmas sweaters. :Photo Credit: Britain Does Vintage)

The ugly Christmas sweater began in the post-war era, where hand-knit woolens were cherished for their warmth, not their style. Families gathered around the fireplace, sipping cocoa, adorned in sweaters with quaint reindeer and modest snowflakes. Little did they know these simple garments would lay the foundation for a future fashion phenomenon.

As the counterculture movement of the 1960s and 1970s unfolded, so did a shift in the perception of fashion. Bold patterns, psychedelic colors, and unconventional designs became the norm, and the Christmas sweater was not exempt from this vibrant revolution. Suddenly, Santa’s donned sunglasses, Christmas trees twinkled in psychedelic hues, and the humble sweater was no longer just a winter necessity but a canvas of holiday expression.

Matching mother and daughter candy cane sweaters from Leisure Arts, 1989. (Photo Credit: Smithsonian Magazine)

Enter the era of excess—the 1980s. As shoulder pads grew larger and hair higher, so did the embellishments on Christmas sweaters. Glitter, sequins and pom-poms adorned every imaginable surface. The once-modest snowman became bedazzled, and the simple snowflake transformed into a dazzling disco ball of knitwear. It was a time of unapologetic extravagance and the Christmas sweater was no exception.

Authors of “The Ugly Christmas Sweater Party Book”. (Photo Credit :Getty Images)

As the world entered a new millennium, a wave of nostalgia and irony swept through pop culture. Vintage finds and thrift store treasures became the epitome of coolness and the ugly Christmas sweater found itself thrust into the spotlight once again. Ugly sweater parties began to emerge, inviting revelers to celebrate the holiday season by embracing the kitsch of yesteryear.


Colin Firth in Bridget Jones’s Diary film. (Photo Credit: Miramax)

The trend’s popularity soared to new heights when it made its way into the world of cinema. Films like Bridget Jones’s Diary, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, and The Night Before featured characters sporting these festive eyesores, further solidifying the ugly Christmas sweater as a cultural phenomenon. Iconic moments on the big screen, coupled with social media’s ability to showcase these quirky fashion choices, catapulted the trend into the mainstream.

Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation film. (Photo Credit: Warner Brothers)


Young woman taking a selfie in her Christmas sweater, (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

With the advent of social media, the ugly Christmas sweater tradition received a global platform. People shared their most outrageous finds and DIY creations, turning the act of finding or making the ugliest sweater into a sport. Instagram, Twitter (X) and Facebook became virtual runways for festive fashionistas showcasing their holiday knitwear masterpieces.


Comedian Jimmy Fallon embraces the ugly Christmas sweater trend. (Photo Credit: CNN)

In the present day, the ugly Christmas sweater has solidified its place as a cherished holiday tradition. It’s no longer just about embracing the tackiness; it’s a cultural phenomenon that unites people in laughter and joy. Major retailers offer an array of intentionally garish sweaters, and the tradition has expanded to include festive 5K runs, charitable events, and even formal gatherings dedicated to the art of the ugly Christmas sweater.

A young couple with Christmas sweaters. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

As we navigate the wintry landscapes of the 21st century, let’s tip our festive hats to the ugly Christmas sweater—a humble garment that has withstood the test of time, transforming from knitted oddity to a cherished symbol of holiday cheer. So, this holiday season, let your fashion sense be as bright and bold as your Christmas sweater, and may your festivities be as vibrant as the knits that have woven their way into our hearts.

Holiday Wishes From UOF. (Graphic Credit: UOF)

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