By Colleen King
It’s that hopeful time of the year when the air is filled with magic and the nights are decked with twinkly lights. As you walk through the quad, everyone looks beautiful in their winter coats, and you think, ‘Maybe there will be peace on earth.’ The point is the holidays are made for dreaming. Between the cinnamon sugar cookies and those pumpkin spice lattes you’ve been drinking, you’re sure to have a sugar high that makes anything seem possible, in spite of what’s on your newsfeed. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanza or just love wrapping paper, the holidays make you feel special. And perhaps the jolliest holiday thing of all is the most beautiful, ugly thing you’ve ever seen: a sweater.
Ugly sweater parties are rampant these days. While the trend used to be mostly about finding a perfect, terrible sweater in the attic from an old pile of X-mas gifts, there are more ways to pursue the junkiest jumper these days. Walmart, Target, Urban Outfitters and all major retailers have these wooly gems for just a few bucks. Pics of Grumpy Cat in an elf hat, phrases like “Thug Life” and “This is my ugly Christmas sweater” abound online and in storefronts, stitched above hideous cartoon reindeer or embellished with pom poms. Ugly sweaters warm our arms (and our hearts), but they also say something about who we are. Fashion sense is a huge part of how we all operate in the world day-to-day. Even the most casual dresser out there consciously gets up and puts those sweatpants on before her biology lecture. So what is this ugly sweater thing all about? Sarcasm? Self-deprecation? Are we making fun of the holiday spirit? No! The ugly sweater provides the world with a great opportunity to change how everyone thinks about beauty. It is ugly-ful, and it’s a new way to do the season bright.
DIG interviewed some people on LSU’s campus, and pretty much all responders said the same thing. “I thought this was pretty—not pretty pretty, but I liked it!” “I thought this would be funny!” “I found this at a thrift store, and I thought, THIS IS AMAZINGGGG!!!” From the tacky to the crafty to the kitsch, everyone said they saw something of themselves in their sweater.
“I like this because it’s who I am,” said Adam Turpin, an LSU freshman of his perfectly awful wool sweater- a tan knit turtleneck stitched with pictures of dogs and trees.
DIG also attended an ugly sweater party where people had thrifted, crafted and hot glued their ugly sweaters to perfection. Prizes were given, ribbons awarded and much rejoicing was achieved. (P.S. Target sells ugly sweater prize ribbons, so that’s a thing…) The sweater is a kind of wearable collage that lets everyone know—whether it’s in the lobby of your department or the tiny kitchenette at your dorm—you are in the party spirit.
Dan Lewis recently attended an ugly sweater party and wore only a red, fleece dickey over his dress shirt.
“I thought it was different from the standard sweaters you see,” said Lewis. “Plus, sometimes things can be subtle and ugly at the same time.”
While many go for excess—light-up hoodies covered in glitter and felt—some, like Dan, take the simpler route. When asked what his ugly sweater says about him, Dan replied, “I thought it was funny. It looked quirky, and I thought it would make people laugh.”
From the quirky to the weird, to the mass-produced, ugly sweaters are exciting even in their frumpiness. They give everyone an excuse to not take their appearance so seriously, to entertain their tacky side. The ugly-ful is a beautiful thing, and the ugly sweater wearers of the world embrace it!
If you are looking for an ugly-ful sweater for this party season, DIG’s advice is to find something you love. Don’t be ashamed of your sweater, no matter how ugly! Wear it loud, wear it proud and deck the halls with your unabashed self!