Sure, ugly Christmas sweaters are funny, but now that major retailers are making sweaters specifically for ugly Christmas sweater parties, the fun of hunting through racks of vintage sweaters or DIY-ing your own is kind of over. Why not celebrate the season in a classier way and spend your money on a sweater you’ll actually wear more than once? But before you shop, here are our top tips for finding a festive topper that won’t embarrass you:
- Run, don’t walk, away from apparel that requires batteries.
- Avoid sweaters with lyrics from holiday songs or quotes from Christmas movies.
- 3D elements like ribbons, pom poms or teddy bears should never be worn by an adult.
- If a sweater’s main colours are red and green, put it down.
- A sweater that features more than one holiday icon (like a deer or snowflake), has one too many holiday icons on it.
Here are 17 pretty, quirky and fun (in a cute way) holiday sweaters you’re sure to love.
Yes, there is such a thing as a non-tacky holiday sweater… in fact, we found 17
Embroidered SweaterThis beaded, embroidered sweater is wintry without using any typical festive colours. Grey and silver are representative of the weather, not the holidays. Wear it with a soft midi skirt and heels to your office party. Zara Embroidered Sweater ($129 at Zara)zara.com
Appliqué SweaterCrystal pink sequins look like icicles on the sleeves and shoulders of this sweet appliqué sweater. It's a nice, pale alternative to all the navy blues, blacks and greys usually worn in winter. Pair it with blue jeans or a pair of white pants. Zara Applique Sweater ($80 at Zara)zara.com
Perfume JumperForget a sweater featuring a Christmas ornament, this pretty perfume atomizer looks festive without being too literal. Wear this with wide-legged black gaucho pants and heels to add a little whimsy to a dressy ensemble. H&M Fine Knit Jumper ($25 at H&M)hm.com
Rudolph JumperYou'd think that a Rudolph-emblazoned sweater would be tacky, but this one is quite cute. Yes, it's a bit silly but in a grown-up way that will make you look like the most stylish person at an ugly Christmas sweater party. Wear it with a metallic jacquard skirt like the one in the photo and gold, strappy sandals. H&M Fine Knit Jumper ($25 at H&M)hm.com
Snowflake JumperYes, it's red and features abstract snowflakes but this is a sophisticated take on a holiday sweater. It'll look adorable over a button-up at the office or thrown on with jeans for festive holiday brunches. H&M Fine Knit Jumper ($25 at H&M)hm.com
Jacquard Knit JumperHow did H&M manage to make a sweater featuring deer, hearts and stars look so good? We're not sure, but snap this one up before it's sold out. It's the perfect way to show your holiday spirit without looking ridiculous, plus it will look great with the black pants and pencil skirts already in your closet. H&M Jacquard Knit Jumper ($40 at H&M)hm.com
Fair Isle SweaterThis is the kind of sweater people who ski wear to sit around the fire and sip hot chocolate, or at least they do in our daydreams. Wear it all winter long with your favourite pair of jeans. Old Navy Women's Fair Isle Yoke Sweater ($37 at Old Navy)oldnavy.ca
Metallic Neck SweaterIf all over decoration isn't your thing, bring a bit of festivity to your ensemble with a subtle gold collar on a tobacco-hued sweater. The best part of this topper is that you don't need a necklace! Wear it with dress pants, jeans or your favourite holiday skirt. Gap Cozy Metallic Neck Sweater ($55 at Gap)gap.ca
Sequin SweaterGiant silver sequins create a polka dot (or snowfall) effect on this chunky knit grey sweater. Dress it down with denim or dress it up with a silky maxi skirt and heels. Gap Sequin Sweater ($65 at Gap)gap.ca
Fair Isle SweaterThe plain black sleeves and wide black band on this sweater keep it from looking over-the-top festive. Plus, the red is almost neon giving it an edge over more traditional festive red hues. Wear it with leather pants or a leather skirt to toughen it up. Gap Holiday Fair Isle Sweater ($55 at Gap)gap.ca
Metallic SweaterLike a glamorous snowfall, this metallic-flecked midnight blue sweater looks sparkly enough to wear to holiday parties without looking tacky. Dress up jeans with this sweater or put it on with slim, matching navy ankle-length pants. Gap Shrunken Metallic Sweater ($65 at Gap)gap.ca
Sequined PulloverIf you can't wear sequins during the holidays, when can you wear them? This sweatshirt-style pullover will be comfy-yet-stylish for Christmas dinner, leaving lots of room to fill your tummy. Wear it with jeans or with a simple skirt and heels. Forever 21 Sequined Raglan Pullover ($28 at Forever 21)forever21.com
Polar Bear SweaterThis sweater, while perhaps a bit "junior", is just so cute and quirky. Wear it with black pants and heels and jeweled tear drop earrings for a fun take on evening wear, or just wear it with jeans while opening gifts with the family. Forever 21 Striped Polar Bear Sweater ($23.80 at Forever 21)forever21.com
Midnight Snowflake SweaterThis cream-coloured sweater accented with deep black gems definitely sparkles in a sophisticated way. Wear it with black silky pants or a midi skirt. Ann Taylor Midnight Flake Sweater ($143 at Ann Taylor)anntaylor.com
Jewel Neck SweaterThis sweet bracelet-sleeve sweater will show off wrist bling or a perfect french cuff when worn over a button-up. And, it's another sweater that means not having to wear a statement necklace for shine. Ann Taylor Jewel Neck Sweater ($179 at Ann Taylor)anntaylor.com
Reindeer SweaterWhile it looks quite casual, this grey reindeer sweater will look just as great with a crisp white button-up and a sleek midi skirt as it does with jeans. This time, add a sparkly necklace for a little bit of drama. Loft Reindeer Jacquard Sweater ($72 at Loft)loft.com
Ski SweaterWe love this skier-print sweater over a plaid button-up for the holidays. The look is definitely cozy but still chic. Of course, it could work just as well on its own with jeans or a simple skirt at the office. J.Crew Ski Sweater ($114 at J.Crew)jcrew.com