Ugly Christmas Sweaters

The holiday must-have of Christmas Past & Present

The ugly Christmas sweater has become as essential to the season as jingle bells and egg nog. Fair Isle patterns knit from wool, felt snowmen embellished cardigans, there's no definition for what constitutes an ugly Christmas sweater, but you know one when you see it.

Historically, the fad has cycled in and out of fashion every couple decades. Beginning in the 50's, "jumpers," as they're known by our friends across the pond, became popular in America, marketed as "Jingle Bell sweaters." The 80's being the hey day for garish knits, saw a revival of the trend. Known as the Cosby sweater every other day of the year, Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold is the father of Yuletide sweaters.

Chris Boyd and Jordan Birch, our neighbors to the north, are credited with the modern interpretation of the holiday staple. In 2001, they threw the first "Ugly Christmas Sweater" party, and have since trademarked the moniker. Blame Y2K, 9/11, or the Kardashians, but nostalgia is at an all time high. Coupled with the half ironic, half reverent style of fashion adopted by millennialis, the Christmas sweater's popularity has only grown. Though re-born as a tongue-in-cheek, anti-fashion statement, mainstream and even high-end retailers have capitalized on the craze.

Apart from your grandparents' closet, the best place to find the most kitsch festive sweater was, is, and always will be the thrift store, which come stocked from Halloween through the New Year. At Inspirations, you'll find racks full of Christmas sweaters for the price of a latte. Into the DIY craft? We've got all the materials you need to don your own gay apparel. Browse the gallery below to explore styles in store, and our favorites from the past.

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