Somewhere along the line, the ugly Christmas sweater went from a misguided holiday fashion choice and dreaded gift to a must-have item for the ironically hip. When did that happen? Well, according to The Ugly Christmas Sweater Party Book: The Definitive Guide to Getting Your Ugly On, it was a couple of Canadian guys that threw the very first ugly Christmas sweater party in Vancouver back in 2001.
I’m more behind the theory that it was Mr. Darcy sporting that horrifying reindeer sweater in Bridget Jones Diary that may have started the whole snowball rolling. He just looked so endearingly vulnerable in that monstrosity.
Whatever the case may be, hideous holiday pullovers are a definite thing in the counter-cool culture. And with Christmas just around the corner, it’s time to bust out the kitschiest knit you can find.
I mean, why not? They make people laugh. They go with nothing and everything at the same time. And you don’t need to worry about fit (which is very convenient if you’ve packed on a few holiday pounds).
In keeping with the ironic holiday spirit, we’re going to clue you on the best places to get a sweater that would make your grandma proud. If you’re planning to adorn yourself with jingle bells, jolly old elves and a whole lot of glitter, here’s where to get your ugly on.
Hot Topic will definitely keep you on-trend with a wide selection of Christmas eyesores.
In fact, you can take the ugly sweater to a whole new level of appalling by adding a nerdy element like Disney’s Star Wars Darth Vader to your fit.
And if you can’t find anything ugly enough, they also have the ugliest sweater DIY kits with pipe cleaners, googly eyes, felt shapes and everything else you need to craft your own horrendous creation.
Kohl’s is another excellent choice when you’re on the quest for ugliness. What’s better than a Christmas sweater that makes you look like an elf? A Christmas hoodie that makes you look like an elf! Gotta love the piping, pom-poms and glitter!
Amazon has everything, and that includes a wide array of funny ugly Christmas sweaters. Are you shopping for the man in your life? He’s going to love/hate this bodybuilder Santa!
UglyChristmasSweater.com will help you take your ironic holiday spirit to the next level with sweaters that light up! Check out this number with the fireplace on it. Turn on your Christmas lights, and we guarantee that no one will want to cozy up next to you.
If you’re going to a holiday party where ugly sweaters are required, why not shop at a place that’s all about fiestas. Party City will definitely help you pump up the ironic holiday season spirit with their fine collection.
Take this little number, for example. Some people think that putting tinsel on a tree is too much, which is exactly why it’s perfect on an ugly sweater.
H&M may not have the biggest ugly sweater collection, but a few choice pieces will make your friends and family wince with pride. This glitter explosion will help you turn heads in a bad way.
From the people that brought you the parade comes an impressive collection of ugly Christmas sweaters decked out with things like tinsel, spaceships, dinosaurs and Santa on the beach.
You’ll be proud and mortified to march down the street in them!
Etsy has no end of ugly Christmas sweaters. You can truly deck yourself in something hideous and possibly win an ugly sweater contest. We’re declaring this truly abominable sweater one of the best disasters of 2020.
And what about this little number? It’s like a Christmas tsunami!
Tipsy Elves has a collection that genuinely looks like inebriated Santa’s helpers crafted it.
And when it comes to kitsch, this cardigan has it all. A garland, ornaments and that Christmas green color you can’t wear at any other time of year. The only thing you may need to bring to the table is cleavage and a complete lack of shame.
Yes, the people who claimed to have invented the trend have their very own brand of ugly Christmas sweaters.
And what’s better than a sweater with Santa Claus in a gold chain and sunglasses? Why a matching set, of course! Streetwear never looked so entirely uncool.
Urban Outfitters has a stunningly unattractive collection of vintage holiday sweaters. You’ll never feel more authentically ugly than when you’re wearing a Christmas crewneck that someone else already rocked.
You’ll never go wrong with an ugly sweater from Target. They have them for the whole family. We love this one with sequin sleeves, tassels and the entirely random element of two llamas in sunglasses.
Ragstock has such an incredibly fine collection of some of the best ugly Christmas sweaters that you will have a tough time narrowing your choices down. What better excuse to buy them for everyone on your list?
We are wowed by the simple lack of elegance that this sweater has. It’s just a Christmas tree on a white knit, and yet it couldn’t look worse. Now that takes talent!
The Ugly Sweater Store excels at bringing you the most hideous vintage sweaters ever to be unearthed. That way, you can rest assured there will be no one else wearing the same one. In an offensive shade of green, this cardigan also features beaded snowmen and will look hideous with whatever you decide to wear with it.
The Rusty Zipper will open your eyes to a whole new world of tackiness with their over-the-top embellishments and lights. And if you like to rock it old school ugly, they also have a vintage collection.
This wool-blend vest features lights, gingerbread men, snowflakes, ornaments and candy canes. That’s a whole lot of Christmas on one sweater vest!
If you’re more into moderately ugly Christmas sweaters, Boohoo has a collection for beginners to the tradition. Take this gingerbread man with his smart little pom-pom and buttons. It’s kind of hard to decide if it’s cute or tasteless.
Perfect for revelers that are still transitioning!
Ardene has some holiday sweaters that are kind of cute, but there are a few that will help you to rock your worst look. Try this classic that features a snowman with a 3D scarf and a Christmas tree with pom poms. You’ll bring a little more joy to the world.
If you have some sweater ideas that are unique and totally you, you can always make your own ugly sweater. The less talent for crafts you have, the better. Just hit your local Michaels and stock up on felt, glitter, tinsel, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, pom-poms and anything else that catches your fancy.
Then set to work like a maniacal Santa’s Elf and make your mutant creation. When it looks as though Christmas has thrown up on your unisex sweater, take it one step further, and you’re finished. We know you can do it!
You might also be interested in: 9 Ways to Volunteer Around the Holidays
Styling Your Ugly Christmas Sweater
The beauty of an ugly Christmas sweater is that there’s no wrong way to style it. It just depends on the look you want.
Yes, the ugly sweater is a statement piece. An obnoxiously loud, totally in your face kind of statement piece. If you don’t want to pull focus from it, a pair of jeans will do. And if you’re going to reinforce your total lack of concern for looking cool, wear it with khakis.
Then again, there’s something to be said for going totally over the top. Check out this ribbon skirt, for example.
The model is wearing it with a subdued black shirt. But there’s no reason you couldn’t wear it with an embellished Rudolph sweater. The more festooning, the merrier!
Maybe comfort is your priority. If so, check out these candy and elf striped leggings. You’ll feel totally at ease and festive at the same time.
Is it hot where you live, but still want to rock a long sleeve sweater? Try matching your ugly Christmas sweater with a pair of daisy dukes and some biker boots. It will make you feel like a rebel for the cause of counter-cool culture.
And for those of you planning a stay-at-home-alone holi-date, wearing your ugly holiday sweater with nothing at all could be a definite icebreaker.
Ugly Christmas Accessories
Maybe you have your Christmas sweater, but your look isn’t feeling complete. Or, perhaps you prefer a more subtle look altogether. Either way, an ugly Christmas accessory could be the magically tacky touch you need. Here are a few of our favorites.
This headband inspired by the How The Grinch Stole Christmas is nothing short of fabulous. And you won’t have to worry if you’re having a bad hair day!
Prefer to wear your ugly sweater on your fingernails? These nail decals are super fun!
Hey, if you’re going to call attention to yourself with a hipster beard, why not decorate it? These fun little ornaments will make anyone’s facial hair more festive.
It’s the season of light. Why not embrace it with a beanie to suit the occasion?
Like it or not, a face mask may be necessary this year due to the covid-19 pandemic. This over-the-top approach will make it a lot more fun to wear one and help change up your fit from last year’s tacky Christmas sweater party.
Sweets are one of the best parts of the holidays. Sadly, this sickly sweet headband is not edible.
Like to rock a lid? Try a reindeer cap with an inappropriate statement to complete your “that’s just wrong” look.
That’s A Wrap
Well, friends, it looks like it’s time to get out there and start your ugly sweater shopping. After all, National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day is just around the corner on December 21st. And who would want to miss out on that?
Now that you have our ultimate guide, we know you’ll be rocking your worst look at all your holiday engagements. And if you’re really good/bad, you may even win an ugly sweater contest!
Happy Ug-Mas and Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal!
You might also like: The Origins of Your Favorite Holiday Cookies
The 17 Best Places to Buy Ugly Christmas Sweaters:
- Hot Topic
- Party City
- Tipsy Elves
- Ugly Christmas Sweater Party
- Urban Outfitters (Urban Renewal Vintage)
- The Ugly Sweater Store
- Rusty Zipper
Sherry De Albaview post
Sherry De Alba
Sherry is a freelance writer who worked as an actor before transitioning to an award-winner career in advertising. During a vacation to Mexico, she fell in love and never left. Sherry (aka Cherita) now spends her time bouncing between the US and Mexico writing, running, cooking, meditating and exploring lots of cool stuff on the other side of the wall.view post