Kickassery asks: Any recommendations on where to find a non-ironic holiday sweater? Something more along the lines of a festive cowichan or cardigan rather than a sweatshirt with lights and a battery.
The holiday sweater has really become the modern equivalent of the novelty tie: allegedly fun and utterly disposable. It says “hey, clothes are stupid, let’s drink.” That said, festive occasions and chilly weather do lend themselves to knitwear that at least nods to the holiday season. In my view, you have four options that say “Christmas party” without saying “my sweater requires two triple As and a bad sense of humor.”
- Apres ski–Nordic-styled sweaters don’t need to have Christmas trees knit into them to be appropriate for the holidays. Snowflakes, abstract patterns, or the occasional skier feel right at home with a hot cup of something and a roaring fire on the TV. Pictured above is a Beams x Canadian sweater company version, for bargains, search ebay for stuff from Dale of Norway.
- Classic preppy–Preps love Christmas parties and go-to-hell dressing. A plain wool or cashmere sweater in a bright color can be worn to many occasions outside a holiday party—brunch at the club, for example, or sleeping off a bender in your Peugot. Pictured is an O’Connell’s cable knit shetland sweater in a pine-y green. Search eBay for colorful Ralph Lauren cashmere sweaters.
- Fair Isle–The whimsy of nordic patterns but for the more Anglophilically inclined. Jamieson’s of Shetland has been doing some very nice Fair Isle patterns in crewnecks, shawlnecks, and cardigans. For a lower price, I like J. Crew’s, which can be had pretty cheap secondhand.
- Subtle color–All of the above are at least a little kitsch-y–if you go a little more subtle you can get even more wear out of your arguably “holiday” sweater after the holidays are over. I mean, it’s still cold for at least three months in the new year, and I’m not turning thermostat up. Gray, navy, black, and camel are safe bets for any knit but burgundy and green tones are quite versatile and can still work for holiday cheer. See Jesse’s cardigan at the Put This On holiday market, for example. Pictured above is a terrific looking Inis Meain turtleneck in claret. Check out Uniqlo for a decent range of colors at a great price.
It’s already a little late for a new holiday sweater for this year’s party season, but with fast shipping you can definitely have a non-ironic holiday sweater on your torso by Christmas day. And prep for
doomsday next year–most of these will be discounted immediately after Christmas.