Libby Nelson of Vox on the “ugly sweater” craze:
The “ugly sweater” trend lets us have it both ways. We can indulge in the whimsy of a fun holiday sweater, while emphasizing that of course we are not the kind of people who would genuinely purchase and enjoy such a thing. Those people wear holiday sweaters to church or to Wal-Mart because they don’t know any better; we wear them to ugly sweater parties serving hand-crafted cocktails because we do.
The idea of wearing “ugly” sweaters has always been a bit of a head scratcher. 363 days a year (minus Halloween) people go out of their way to not wear anything that people would consider ugly. It’s bizarre that this is somehow cool. It is even more bizarre that people are running out and purchasing these things to wear. The concept started by people getting them out of their relatives’ closets, now people are intentionally purchasing something hideous. The whole thing is strange and bizarre.
It almost seems like people are making fun of people who truly like to wear these type of sweaters. It would be like if some hipster-mockers started “tweed jacket with elbow patches” parties. At what point should these just be called “parties” where people wear a Christmas sweater instead of “ugly sweater parties”? If someone wears one of these to a “regular” Christmas party, what happens? Are they ridiculed? Is it still “cool” in the same way? If so, does that mean that these sweaters are no longer considered ugly?
It’s time to retire the phase “ugly Christmas sweater”. It has become a part of Christmas again, and it’s no different than rocking a Santa hat or some other holiday-themed attire.