Sweaterin’ to the Oldies

It’s that time of year again, when the weather gets colder so people spend wads of cash on frivolous things. Unrelatedly, I was recently invited to an Ugly Sweater Christmas Party, and since I don’t own a sweater that I or my wife considers ugly, I needed to buy an ugly sweater. Thankfully, America has never passed up on an opportunity to make some money, so there’s an entire subsection of the fashion industry devoted to selling “ugly” Christmas sweaters. And I am all for that. I think I’ve already written about how I’m a highly suggestible individual and if you can dangle something shiny enough in front of my face, I will attempt to buy it. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be all that shiny. It does, however, have to make sense.

And many of these “ugly” sweaters do not. Allow me to contrast two examples of ugly Christmas sweaters that are available now for you to purchase on the World Wide Web.




Both of these sweaters will show up as a result of a Google search for “Ugly Christmas Sweater.” But oh, all sweaters are not created equal. Take the first example. It’s a Cleveland Indians ugly Christmas sweater that I purchased for a friend a year ago. Notice the unnecessary and random mixing of patterns, the incredible busyness brought on by the jam-packing of trees, shapes, and logos, all rounded out by the near constant shifting of color so that the eye receives not even a moment’s peace. This truly could be described as an “ugly” sweater in the truest sense of the word.

The second example features two reindeer in the midst of sexual intercourse. This is not an ugly sweater; this is an unsettling sweater.

Because at its core, the ugly sweater idea feeds off of the illusion that the sweater you are now wearing, though ugly, could at one point have been worn in sartorial seriousness by your grandmother. I cannot picture many grandmothers who would wear a sweater decorated with two reindeer in the throes of carnal passion. And also, I don’t want to. The pinnacle of ugly sweater fashion is a sweater that your grandmother could see you wearing and describe you as looking “swell.” It is not one which would prompt your grandmother to ask, “why are Dasher and Dancer are making whoopie?”


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