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The Ugly Christmas Sweater

I can't really say who invented bad taste.

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Is It Better To Give Or Receive An Ugly Christmas Sweater?

Is It Better To Give Or Receive An Ugly Christmas Sweater?

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The definition of an "ugly Christmas sweater" is any sweater with a Christmas theme that is considered in bad taste, tacky, or gaudy. While what is in bad taste is debatable, general consensus says that more is uglier, more embellishments, more tinsel, and more Christmas themed decorations attached to the sweater.

We really can't say who invented the first ugly Christmas sweater. Since Christmas, sweaters, and Christmas sweaters have been around for awhile. As a matter of fact, we can presume that ugly sweaters were designed with the original intention of being attractive. It's only our judgmental and ever-changing sense of fashion that makes us deem once-considered pretty sweaters as ugly.

So Who Invented The Trend of Ugly Sweaters?

According to the Urban Dictionary, a "Cosby sweater" is an oversized, hideous looking sweater with ugly patterns and colors, often worn by old men or hipsters with no taste, and named after the actor/comedian Bill Cosby who wore a lot of ugly sweater while acting on his highly successful 1980's sitcom "The Cosby Show".

The Urban Dictionary gives us another clue as to the origin of the ugly sweater. They state that the sweaters worn on the Bill Crosby show were designed by KOOS VAN DEN AKKER, a NYC designer who is famous for his wild collaged garments. Koos also has the honor of being the only designer to sell over one million dollars in merchandise in one hour on QVC, the television shopping network.

Koos and Bill Cosby would understandably both not want to accept the credit for being the inventors of the ugly sweater. My research has indicated that Christmas sweaters first started being mass manufactured under the name of "jingle bell sweaters" during the eighties and no one wants to take the credit for inventing them.

Ironic Ugly Christmas Sweater Parties

Perhaps it would be better to ask ourselves, "Which came first, the sweater or the ugly?" According to Time Magazine there has been a revival among young people throwing ugly Christmas sweater parties, where they make fun of their parents who loved the festive looks and thought the sweaters were cute.

The city of Vancouver, Canada claims to be the birthplace of the first ugly sweater party in 2002. Every year at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver a party is held and the dress code is an ugly sweater affair. Chris Boyd and Jordan Birch, are the co-founders of the Commodore's annual ugly sweater party. The pair have even trademarked the word marks, "ugly Christmas sweater" and "ugly Christmas sweater party" in Canada.

The Business of Ugly

Even the Wall Street Journal has written about the ugly Christmas sweater and related parties since it has become a booming business. Retail stores say that the sale of Christmas sweaters has reached the same eighties highs. Corporations are sponsoring ugly Christmas sweater events. Tickets to ugly Christmas parties are selling out. Google reports that searches for "ugly Christmas sweater" is up thirty percent over last year. Websites dedicated to the ugly Christmas sweater have spread across the internet. Vintage stores can't stock enough of them. Ebay has had record prices set on the sale of vintage Christmas sweaters, collectors are now willing to spend hundreds of dollars for these sweaters.

DIY Extra Ugly

So do not despair if you find yourself invited to a trendy ugly sweater party and your local store has sold out of ugly fashion. There is no better way to go that extra ugly mile then to recycle an old sweater and turn it into a do-it-yourself over-embellished masterpiece. And who knows, after the party you can try selling what you invented on Ebay.
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