The ugly Christmas sweater trend is on the way out, Denver fashion professor warns

The popularity of ugly Christmas sweaters might have hit its peak now that Walmart, Kohls and even the NFL are looking to cash in on the holiday fashion trend.

Three young girls jumping in ugly Christmas sweaters with snowy winter background. (TheUglySweaterShop.com/Flickr)
Three young girls jumping in ugly Christmas sweaters with snowy winter background. (TheUglySweaterShop.com/Flickr)
Three young girls jumping in ugly Christmas sweaters with snowy winter background. (TheUglySweaterShop.com/Flickr)

The popularity of ugly Christmas sweaters might have hit its peak now that Walmart, Kohls and even the NFL are looking to cash in on the holiday fashion trend.

By the time you see a fashion trend in department stores, it’s definitely at its peak or heading out of style, said Julianne Attmann, a fashion professor at The Art Institute of Colorado.

Christmas sweaters are being sold both at luxury department stores like Nordstrom and more affordable mall staples like Forever 21.  For a mere $78, shoppers can even buy an “Ugly Christmas Sweater Man Figurine” from Saks Fifth Avenue.

“From someone who has been selling them for seven years now, the market is definitely saturated,” said Stacy Anderson, owner of TheUglySweaterShop.com. “When we first started our online shop in 2009, there were few places to obtain an ugly Christmas sweater, but now they are commercially made and available everywhere. I even saw some at our grocery store.”

It’s unclear where Anderson shops, but King Soopers started selling ugly sweaters in all of its Colorado stores for the first time this year.

“We work hard to stay on top of customer trends,” said Kelli McGannon, King Soopers spokeswoman. “Ugly Christmas sweaters are on a lot of people’s list this year.”

King Soopers will have to reevaluate the trend’s popularity before deciding whether to stock sweaters again in the future, McGannon said.

People started donning ugly Christmas sweaters that went from closets in the ’70s and ’80s to thrift stores in ’90s and early ‘2000s to stand out and be unique. Once the trend caught on stores rushed to meet demand, Attmann said.

Now there’s a national ugly Christmas sweater day (Dec. 16), sweater options for people who celebrate Hannukah and dozens of ugly sweater-themed parties and contests.

We don’t know exactly when ugly sweaters will be faux pas yet, Attman said. “Once a trend starts to be embraced by the majority, people no longer see it as unique, and at that point it starts to fade out.”

Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia last donned an ugly Christmas sweater in 2014. He can be reached via email at agarcia@denverite.com or twitter.com/adriandgarcia.

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Adrian D. Garcia

Author: Adrian D. Garcia

Adrian D. Garcia is on business and trends for Denverite, serves as treasurer for the Colorado chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and on the board of the Denver Press Club. He can be reached at agarcia@denverite.com.