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The Art of the Ugly Sweater

So, the holiday season has ended, work/school has returned to semi-normal, and we have stepped into a new year, a time where we can create and learn and grow and begin to reap the rewards of all the hard work we put in last year. Upon the dawn of the wretched snowstorm that ravished us this week I decided to write today’s post on one of the most iconic winter pieces: the ugly sweater.

(And special thanks to my roommate’s baby, Luna, for keeping me extra warm when we took these pictures.)

I had to laugh the first time my boyfriend talked about the knitted mess and referred to it as my “ironic sweater” as though I didn’t intentionally go to Goodwill one day and drop a whopping $3 on this baby because I actually wanted it.

The ugly sweater is one of those things filed away in movie and TV show tropes as the statement piece of the band geek, the high school reject, or the nerdy best friend. It was something that wasn’t intended to be “ugly,” the sad loner who wore it was just portrayed as fashionably inept. My mom commented once that ugly sweater parties took the fun out of the ugly sweater. So, the humor in it was when a person genuinely liked their sweater and everyone made fun of it behind their back?

But somewhere along the line there was a cultural shift and people started wearing ugly sweaters to be ironic or humorous. I don’t know what people group started the movement but I absolutely love it.

A few decades ago, if I’d worn my sweater in public I probably would have been written off because of it. Crazy for something so glamorous, I know. But today I am never seen in it without receiving at least one compliment. We love people bold enough to wear ugly sweaters and we feel more encouraged to wear them ourselves because of it. That is the art of the ugly sweater: the idea that something absurd can be something wonderful if you decide that it is.

My generation gets a lot of flack for a lot of different things, some maybe deserved and some not, but this generation has moved to much in the direction of love and acceptance of all people that you will never ever hear me say negative things about it. So here’s to the ugly sweater and here’s to the brave ones who don them with pride. Any movement, as silly as it may be, which inspires confidence is beautiful in my book and I only hope that such acceptance can continue to spill over into all other areas of life too.

My (fashion) advice to you: be brave, be bold, be wacky, be you. I’ll put my money on your courage being the thing that starts the next big trend.


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