Fashion Fun Friday: Ugly Holiday Sweaters

Have you noticed the increasing trend in Ugly Sweater themed parties? How did all this craziness start? I blame Bill Cosby with his crazy patterned sweaters for making these sweaters mainstream in the 80s. The revival among younger people throwing ugly Christmas sweater parties, according to Time Magazine, started as a way for young adults to mock their parents’ love of festive looks and thought the sweaters were (gasp) cute.

However the history of the first ugly sweater party can be traced back to 2002 in Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada) where two friends, Jordan Birch and Chris Boyd, decided to host one at their house. Now celebrating their 12th event, this once small house party is now the official The Ugly Christmas Sweater Party(TM) – an annual fundraiser for the Children’s Wish Foundation.  Their motto: Be Ugly. Do Good. Connect. Give. Reconnect & Be Kind.

Despite the popularity of these parties, it’s surprisingly hard to find a good ugly sweater these days. While it can be argued that one person’s perception of ugly is another person’s beautiful, when it comes to finding an ugly holiday sweater it seems that we all are seeking the same thing. That tacky sweater that you perhaps once owned in the 80s because you got it as a gift and your mom wouldn’t let you throw it out. In fact she may have even been the one who bought it for you. Although it is pretty safe to assume that these ugly sweaters were designed with the original intention of being attractive. So begs the question: Which came first, the sweater or the ugly?

Determined to be successful this year, I set out once again in search of the perfect ugly sweater at the usual places: thrift shops such as Value Village, the Salivation Army and the like. Nada. Zip. Zero. The problem with searching “the usual places” is that this is where everyone else is looking too. So either everyone has already cleaned them out long ago or there are just no ugly holiday sweaters to be found. Have we actually run out of tacky leftovers from the 80s??? Where does one find an ugly holiday sweater these days??

Turns out there are now entire stores dedicated to the ugly sweater. In fact when I went online to see where I could find one of these tacky gems, I only had to type the word ‘ugly’ for Google to immediately return the suggestion of “ugly Christmas sweater”! Here’s what I found: has a slew of ugly sweaters ripe for the picking. They promote themselves as having “The World’s Largest Selection of Ugly Christmas Sweaters.” Like this one:


Not to be outdone, boasts having a large selection of tacky 80s sweaters. They do. Check out this beauty:


And then there is Canadian retailer who not only offers a selection of ugly Christmas sweaters, but LED light kits to add some extra ‘pizzazz’ to one you may already have.


And then there is This site has some cheeky tacky sweaters with reindeer in compromising positions and gingerbread men fearing for their lives…


Now when you find yourself with an invitation to an ugly sweater party, you’ll be set! Be Ugly. Do Good. Connect. Give. Reconnect & Be Kind. Happy Holidays.

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