The ugly sweater is a staple of Christmas time. Yes, sure, the temperatures reach the mid to high 30s on Christmas Day in Australia, but the excellence of the ugly sweater should not – nay, cannot – be denied. On Christmas morning, you want to open your gifts in one of these.
If you’re new to the game, here’s the Lifehacker Guide to finding the best ugly sweater for that brisk Christmas morning (from a guy who knows a thing or two about ugly Christmas sweaters).
The first tip to remember is that the worse a Christmas sweater looks, the more fashionable it is. The truly repulsive sweaters are the most impressive and will make the most impact at your Christmas Day barbecue – not just because you’re wearing a sweater in 40 degree heat, but because you’re rocking that thing like it’s going out of style.
When looking for an ugly Christmas sweater, the major consideration you need to have at the forefront of your mind is whether you want a full knit or simply a jumper with a knit-print on the front. The former is the traditional, highly-respected form of the Christmas sweater, while the latter is frowned upon by true ugly Christmas sweater connoisseurs.
When in doubt, remember the saying “If it’s 100% knit then it’s a quality kit, but if it’s printed on the front, you look like a – fool”
My last tip is to avoid ugly pun-sweaters or "spunters" as they are known in the ugly sweater biz. These usually make for socially awkward conversations at Christmas parties.
If you're looking for some places to buy, here are a few locations you can find quality Christmas knitted sweaters this year:
ThinkGeek are an endless source of nerdy knits, so if pop culture touchstones are your thing, this is a great place to start. The geek haven has a wide variety of quality 100% knit sweaters at their disposal from the video game-related to sci-fi greats such as Star Wars and Firefly.
There are a few choice selections:
This Yoda sweater is ideal. There is an obvious, jarring amount of empty space on the chest and torso and the red sleeves really elevate this above your standard Christmas fare. The centrepiece is Yoda in a Santa Suit, so watch out, you better.
The Space Invaders sweater is not one that I’d be looking at however. The fluorescent blues that line the neck are not-Christmas. Avoid.
The Legend of Zelda sweater is immaculate. It is designed just like a typical Christmas sweater would be, but substitutes the Christmas staples of baubles, puddings and snowmen for 8-bit Link, Swords and the Triforce. An excellent choice.
Act fast and you can have the ugly Christmas sweater of your dreams in time for Christmas.
Asos have some high quality vintage-style knits, with Christmas staples like the 'Repeating Pattern' and the 'Reindeer Print'. Over the years, I have acquired four of my ugly sweaters from ASOS and they still hold up to this day. The great thing about the ASOS vintage is that they aren’t necessarily over-the-top - you can get away with wearing some of these in the middle of the year without raising an eyebrow.
The ASOS Foundation Festive Dog Sweater is a perfect combination of cute, Christmas, charity and catastrophic design. Wearing this sweater, you know you've helped out and you also know you will continue to help out as anybody who looks at you over the Christmas period will be overcome with joy.
Fun.com.au have some absolutely incredible knits that make me want to gouge my eyes out. They're designed with such incredible uglyness that they're damn near perfect.
Take for instance this decapitated reindeer head sweater, which looks just as bad as it sounds. It's hard to quantify just where you should be wearing such a piece of clothing, but if it's anywhere outside of your house you could be in some form of trouble.
Luckily, FUN have one of my be-all, end-all selections - The Labyrinth Ugly Christmas Sweater.
The way the gold coalesces with the blacks and purples on this piece is a masterstroke. The outline of Jareth, the Goblin king embracing Sarah in stark, white lines? Genius. This is an ugly Christmas sweater that comes from the top shelf. A shelf that you need a ladder to climb up to.
It's so bloody good.
The Australian Amazon launch was a disappointment, but Christmas doesn’t have to be. With around 100 results for “Ugly Christmas Sweater”, you’ll be able to find yourself something truly captivating if you're willing to sift through the less-than-savoury selection.
I mean, this hoodie emblazoned with Santa as a pirate is not an ugly sweater. It's a hoodie. Don't be fooled by imitations.
There are some AFL-styled sweaters in Amazon's list, if that's your thing, but for me? I would have to go with this immaculate piece of human art that was ripped through a time-space portal from the 80s.
Okay, so this one isn't a store - it's a monstrosity.
This is an ugly sweater that transcends the mortal boundaries of what ugly Christmas sweaters can be. A sweater so ugly, so terrible and so poorly thought out that it’s absolutely brilliant. You need an app to fully appreciate just how good this sweater is.
See the fireplace? That fire is generated electronically by the sweater using a phone. You download an app to your phone, set it off and put it in a small pocket at the front of the garment. Then you can watch as your own stomach is seemingly alight, bringing Christmas cheer to all around you.
If this is how you want to bring the spirit of Christmas into your household, you can grab it from Morphsuits.co.uk.
If you want to truly get invested in the spirit of the ugly sweater and have a concept in mind that you just don't think you will ever be able to buy at retail - then you can Do It Yourself. Our friends over at PopSugar put together this handy DIY Christmas Sweater guide filled with some absolutely disgusting sweaters. Just what you need to get the creative juices flowing this summer.
Merry Ugly Christmas! Let us know about your favourite ugly sweater in the comments!