The Evolution of the Christmas Jumper

Christmas jumper: ‘A top pulled over the head to cover the torso, themed with a Christmas or winter-style design.’

Not long ago, receiving a Christmas jumper from your beloved grandmother would make you think you’ve been exceptionally naughty that year. No-one wanted one. If, like many, you ended up unwrapping one of those ugly knitted sweaters, the next predicament came – do you wear it? Let’s be honest, you had to wear it out of guilt. And yes, your parents would be using that photo of you in that ugly jumper and that crinkly party hat for years to come.

However, there was a time before this, back in the 1980’s, when the Christmas jumper took the fashion world by storm. Its rise was supposedly inspired by TV presenters such as Giles Brandreth and Timmy Mallett wearing them. They weren’t ugly, if anything they were quite classy. Although the jumper wasn’t a must-have item at this time, it was the unforgettable birth of the Christmas jumper. The phase didn’t last long unfortunately, and by the ‘90s they were no longer desired. They remained unpopular for years to come.

Christmas Jumper (2)

But thankfully, the world came to its senses. The days of the Christmas jumper being mocked by everyone, including Bridget Jones, were over. For now, the more hideous the jumper the merrier. Everyone has one.

The Telegraph described them as ‘this seasons must have’ and the likes of Topman and H&M are all on the Christmas jumper hype. Topman currently sell 34 different designs, from the cool and reserved style to the ‘I’m wearing an ugly jumper and I know it’ style. Even the likes of Burberry have released a Christmas jumper. The Daily Mail ran an article in 2012 for the Mail Online with the headline: ‘Pull on a Christmas jumper to raise your sex appeal!’ Apparently more than a third of men and women agree that ‘the once unwanted gift from grandparents is now a sexy outfit choice’.

“Even the likes of Burberry have released a Christmas jumper”

If this isn’t a good enough reason to sport one this Christmas, then do it for charity. Save the Children hold an annual Christmas Jumper Day in December. People are encouraged to ‘make the world better with a sweater’ and raise funds for the charity by wearing a Christmas jumper and making a donation. This year, the Christmas Jumper Day will take place on Friday 18th December, if you aren’t religiously wearing yours already.

The evolution of the Christmas jumper has been full of highs and lows – from being liked to hated to loved. Some people think it’s just a bit of fun, others wear them as a stylish fashion item, and a few wear them for their sex appeal. Lets hope, for grandmas’ sake, that the love for Christmas jumpers is eternal.

Ben Wilcockson

Featured image: Simon Scarfe via Flickr. Embedded image: Giuseppe Milo via Flickr.

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