JOLLY UGLY

THE AW­FUL­NESS OF ‘80S CHRIST­MAS SWEATERS IS STILL CEL­E­BRATED DECADES LATER. SO HOW CAN WE EM­BRACE THE UN­FASH­ION­ABLE FUN WHEN WE LIVE IN THE TROP­ICS?

The Weekend Post - Cairns Eye - - Front Page - WORDS//

One of the down­sides to hav­ing year-round sunny skies is hot to swel­ter­ing Christ­mases that make it far too toasty to fully em­brace the tra­di­tion of the ugly Christ­mas sweater. Wait, you haven’t heard of this phe­nom­e­non?

Ugly Christ­mas sweaters first came into be­ing in the 1980s.

Canada, the United States and Europe could claim to have orig­i­nated the trend but none will own up to it.

Need­less to say, the combo of snow, sweaters and craft caused an ex­plo­sion of taste­less­ness that still res­onates today.

The sweaters weren’t con­sid­ered “ugly” back then and, while they weren’t ex­actly the height of fash­ion, they were favourites of crafty moth­ers who thought them “fes­tive” or “cute”, and a lot of time and ef­fort was spent knit­ting them from scratch or us­ing puffy paints, embroidery, ap­plique, glue guns and any other dec­o­ra­tive means pos­si­ble to em­bel­lish a sweater for them­selves, their part­ners and their vic­tims, aah, chil­dren, to wear dur­ing the fes­tive sea­son and for the an­nual fam­ily por­trait.

This con­tin­ued un­til the decade of ugly fash­ion ended.

Sud­denly, the re­al­i­sa­tion that Christ­mas sweaters were not only gar­ish but UGLY came as a shock.

They were rel­e­gated to op shops, stor­age units and the backs of wardrobes, and it wasn’t un­til the rise of so­cial me­dia drew peo­ple’s at­ten­tion to the phe­nom­e­non of “Awk­ward Fam­ily Pho­tos” that the Ugly Christ­mas Sweater came back, this time with irony.

Awk­ward Fam­ily Pho­tos are badly posed fam­ily por­traits of not par­tic­u­larly at­trac­tive peo­ple from the 1980s (thanks to their hair and fash­ion sense – or lack of) that, thanks to the in­ter­net, were eas­ily shared.

Those who took part in Awk­ward Fam­ily Photo Shoots were also likely to have an Awk­ward Fam­ily Christ­mas Photo, wear­ing match­ing Ugly Christ­mas sweaters.

If you were un­lucky enough to be roped into an Awk­ward Ugly Christ­mas Sweater por­trait, your shame is likely to now be the cause of much hi­lar­ity for the in­ter­net’s global au­di­ence. • Cow­boys fans can get into the fes­tive spirit with the men’s ugly sweater (far left), nrl­shop.com • Aussie sports and swimwear la­bel The Ugly Xmas Rashie Com­pany makes Ugly Christ­mas sweater-themed rashies (left), visit ug­lyx­mas­rashie.com.au • fans headed some­where cool for Christ­mas will love GOT-themed Ugly Christ­mas Sweaters, visit game­ofthroneshq.com • Any­one else trav­el­ling to icy climes will fall in love with the com­plete tack­i­ness of the ugly Christ­mas sweaters, suits and dresses avail­able at MyUg­lyChrist­masSweater.com

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