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Ugly Sweaters' Century Ending Comeback

Photographed by Cassidy Palmateer of Sydney Theiler

By Sophia Randazzo and Brady Pitcher

Fashion trends always make their way back around. In this case, it is ugly sweaters. This fall, the ugly sweater boomed in popularity. Everyone has been wearing the so-called ugly sweater. Thanks to the oversized fit and cozy feel, who wouldn’t want to wear one? 

The term ‘ugly sweater’ has recently been transformed to being called ‘grandma’ or ‘grandpa’ sweaters. Vintage dressing is having a major moment on social media, with fashion lovers flaunting pieces that appear to have been plucked right out of their grandparents' closets. Patterns on these sweaters heavily vary. There are floral patterns, snowflakes, stripes, checkered, you name it. Though these sweaters used to be considered ugly a few years ago, they are certainly not considered that anymore; rather, they are considered vintage and retro. 

The popularity of ugly sweaters has grown, faded and grown again over the years. In the 1980s, Bill Huxtable from The Cosby Show was the first trendsetter in popularizing the ugly sweater. Huxtable wore a multitude of sweaters with various graphic prints, colors, and designs on them. In 1989, the ugly sweater adopted a festive twist thanks to Chevy Chase's role in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. A little less graphic and bold than Huxtables, Chase’s sweaters had a bit more comfort and ease to them while keeping its ugliness as well. The characters played by these well-known actors were portrayed as notably unhip and lacked any sense of style. But for some reason, the practice of adopting these unattractive sweaters has become increasingly popular. 

Another reason the ugly sweater is loved by people of the new generation is the feeling you get while wearing it. Most ugly sweaters or grandma/ grandpa sweaters remind people of their grandparents or childhood. It gives the feeling of home and happiness to those who wear it. In today’s day and age, it is all about reminisce. The feelings and memories of past events live in special places in people’s hearts and ugly sweaters remind people of the times they spent with grandparents while wearing these sweaters or watching their favorite movies like National Lampoons Christmas Vacation growing up.

Ugly sweaters have become a new fashion staple in many people's closets, and it is easy to see why. They are comfortable and add a laidback feel to an outfit perfect for the fall and winter season. Ugly sweaters can be found all over the market as well. The easiest place to find them is thrift stores. As we live in such a fast fashioned world, thrifting is not only more sustainable but cheaper as well. Sweaters from a thrift store such as Goodwill cost only a couple of dollars, perfect for someone who is not trying to break the bank. If you do want to spend the extra money on a nicer high-end sweater, do not worry, there are many stores to choose from. Many luxury brands have hopped on the ugly sweater trend including Miuccia Prada as she masterfully handmade granny sweaters for her Fall 2017 collection.

Styling these vintage sweaters is quite easy. For a more feminine look, you can dress it up by wearing a sweater over a sleek black dress with some loafers. You could try dressing it down with some ripped jeans and some sneakers for that more casual and comfortable look. For a more masculine look, consider dressing it up in a pair of nicer fit trousers such as khakis with a button-down shirt underneath the sweater. Try different shoe options such as loafers or boots for the colder months. If you want to try to dress in more causal, try wearing a sweater with jeans or sweatpants and sneakers or converse.

The ugly sweater has had a true change in emotions for people over the years. What was once considered ugly has now become fashionable and funny. These sweaters are not only fun with their sense of comedy, but they also remind us of the past and the generation who wore these sweaters previous. Ugly sweaters strum the heart chords of our generation and remind us of the generations before and the people we love who wear them. Congratulations ugly sweaters, you are not ugly anymore.

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