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7 actually beautiful alternatives to your regular “Ugly Christmas Sweater”

One person’s “ugly” “Christmas” “sweater” is another person’s treasured forever purchase. I, for one, am keeping these in rotation, for as long as temperatures will allow for layers beyond singlets and cotton jersey.

What makes a sweater “Christmas”? More than that, what makes a Christmas sweater “ugly”? As a fan of the oversized and occasional lumpy knit, it’s a quandary I consider often; my Everest! If your NYR from last year includes becoming a shopper that’s a little more conscious or a little more considered or a little more another synonym that makes you feel better about your purchases, a wear-once-a-year design might be something you can no longer justify adding to cart. Same! Me too. I, too, do not have space in my very small wardrobe for a throwaway piece that might be considered too “ugly” — or, really, too season-specific — to wear on a cold, un-festive day.

So, here’s to sweaters and cardigans and sweater vests that switch out elves and reindeer and mistletoe for vaguely festive lines of argyle. Maybe a Fair Isle yoke that’s lost its rigid patterning. A colour palette beyond maroon red and forest green.

[Hero and Featured Image Credit: Stella McCartney]

This article first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong.

Dress Code: Ugly Christmas Sweater, But Make It Trans-Seasonal

Look, it’s forest green, garnished with a touch of AMI Paris’s signature red. The classic Christmas combination; the kind that feels either “much too early” or “much too late” when worn defiantly in the context of months that are very much not December. But this version, with its ratio very heavily leaning towards verdant, merely whispers “festive”. It barely sounds! So, wear it year-round. Or, at least, through winter.

Price
Approx. THB 21,355

A Fair Isle knit is, for all intents and purposes, graphic shorthand for all things cosy and festive. Not this from Burberry, though. Not quite. Cast in the brightest of yellow and ocean-spray blue, this sweater is a delicious feast for the eyes — and will wear just as convincingly through the dead of winter into spring. Summer, even, in a glacial, air-conditioned room.

Price
Approx THB 17,868

Rag & Bone’s Annalise sweater understands the assignment. Thank you for your participation, Annalise. With Fair Isle striping stripping off like remnants of acrylic from a yet-to-be-restored painting, this sweater is festive-plus; festive — and then some. The off-white colourway of the rest of the piece makes it pretty much a neutral. Almost!

Price
Approx THB 8,189

Like a bauble-strewn Christmas tree or a toiled-over honey-glazed ham, some things are just poised to take centre stage. This Stella McCartney wool cardigan — made in collaboration with multi-disciplinary artist Ed Curtis — has all the trimmings of a Main Character design, with its very loud colours and very loud mish-mash of patterns. And in the spirit of the season, share and share alike. The piece is, as are all cardigans (?), unisex. Gift for him and her.

Price
Approx. THB 67,248

The kitty-cat on this The Vampire’s Wife sweater — if you must know, is based on an illustration from the 1910 children’s book Twice Three is Six — is wearing a warm, velvet bow. Festive! She’s snarling, yes, but who’s not a little on edge during the holidays? Add to the festive kitsch with your very own velvet green bow in your hair. And maybe wear a smile, instead. A wan one. There you go.

Price
Approx. THB 44,664

Officially, this sweater is cast in a close-to-neon orange, but for the sake of this particular season, let’s say it’s red. It looks red! Bright red. There are even frothy cuts of fringing and arbitrary swatches of tartan to really hit home: “Winter ‘Fit”. Then, come January post festive jamborees, it’s orange once again.

Price
Approx. THB 46,663

Whether you’re Team Ski or simply someone who’d, really, prefer everything avant- and après-ski (see: warming glasses of mulled wine permanently attached to fingertips), this Chinti & Parker sweater is vaguely festive with its fun rainbow-striped cuffs, but mostly just black, sleek and winter activity-related. Go full Chalet Girl with ski goggles for the party, then, to brunch in this with jeans. Easy.

Price
Approx THB 5,753
Joey Wong
Editor
Constantly in pursuit of a multi-hyphenated career, Joey has written her way through fashion trends, youth culture and luxury retail in New York and Hong Kong. Beyond internet adventures tracking down the perfect vintage find, you can probably catch her sipping on her third oat milk latte of the day in the city’s newest café. She’s currently mourning the loss of TikTok in Hong Kong.
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