What is a Christmas sweater?
They usually come in shades of red, green and white with a yuletide motif on them such as a snowman or a Christmas tree, often with 3D elements like pom-poms and heavy embroidery.
Christmas sweaters started to be mass produced in the 1950s, initially called ‘Jingle Bell Sweaters’, and were pretty modest initially. They didn’t reach mainstream popularity until the 1980s. This was in part due to the popularity of pop culture phenomena’s like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (in which Chevy Chase wears a festive jumper) and The Cosby Show.
They faded in popularity again in the 90s, mostly being seen as gag gifts, but when Bridget Jones’ Diary was released in 2001 and Colin Firth sported a reindeer sweater at a family party, Ugly Christmas sweater parties came into existence!
According to the authors of ‘Ugly Christmas Sweater Party Book: The Definitive Guide to Getting Your Ugly On’, Vancouver is credited with having the first ever ugly Christmas sweater party in 2002! It became a millennial tradition from there.
In 2007, Stella McCartney released a polar bear themed sweater. Givenchy followed the trend in 2010 and Dolce & Gabbana in 2011.
Today, there are Christmas sweater pub crawls, contests, office parties and charity events each Christmas season. The British charity Save The Children runs an annual Christmas Jumper Day each year in December using the slogan "Make the world better with a sweater".
While The Cosby Show may have popularized Christmas sweaters on American TV in the 80s, they weren’t the only ones doing it.
The host of the Late Late Toy Show, a beloved Irish special edition annual Christmas show established in 1975, traditionally wears a number of different Christmas jumpers each year, some of them having been sent in by members of the public.
Almost every fashion retailer now make their own version of the Christmas sweater each year with kitsch appeal, and they have become popular in vintage and thrift stores with those searching for older designs and a more sustainable approach to the trend.
National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day happens on December 21st each year! So don your best sweater and spread the festive cheer!
Bridget Jones’ Diary kicked off a renewed interest in Christmas sweaters when it hit our screens in 2001 and became an instant hit. Bridget was mortified but Colin’s Firth Reindeer sweater has become iconic!
Shop for Christmas sweaters as part of our Holiday collection on Shopify. We don’t think they’re ugly! If you’re looking for a sustainable alternative to new store bought sweaters, go vintage!
How cute are those angels?!
Inspired by the costumes of Whit Stillman's 1990 Christmastime drama 'Metropolitan'. This film follows a group of young upper-class New Yorkers as they party their way through the debutante season discussing social mobility, philosophy and romance at after-party gatherings. This collection features a range of mostly 80s formal party or prom style dresses. Shop these looks for your special holiday event!
This movie plays out in a Woody Allen style fashion with conversations that run into one another over the course of multiple different nights. Two characters discuss Jane Austen in the movie and indeed, the central theme of social mobility that is evident in the movie is a tenet of Austen literature.
Each of the young women in the movie wears a different gown each night and you get the impression that they won't ever be worn again. Think of the expense! It was fun to get dressed in these looks and pretend we have more money than we actually do!
Our ode to the fabulous costuming of Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands by the inimitable Colleen Atwood, whom we have had the pleasure of working with from our rentals studio. When we think of Edward Scissorhands, our minds go straight to the titular character's black leather gothic attire, but in fact, the regular suburbian's of the movie dress in every colour of the rainbow! Dreamy shades of solid blue, light green, orange/ yellow and pink for the housewives' 60s inspired shift dresses, pant sets and skirt suits. At Christmas, festive green and red appear in their full glory! Browse our collection of vintage items from a range of decades in all the wonderful shades that crop up in the movie!