Students sport ugly holiday sweaters

Sweaters with glittery snowmen and gaudy snowflakes are perfect for holiday parties.

Heather L. Mueller

Carols blared from speakers in the living room as partygoers shuffled through a Dinkytown apartment Saturday night dressed in the latest seasonal fashions – of 1993.

With Styrofoam cups filled with hot chocolate and a dash of peppermint schnapps, revelers munched on sugar cookies and sucked down red and green Jell-o Jigglers while they gawked at friends’ garish winter-themed clothing.

Most students wouldn’t add “unfashionable attire” to their holiday wish list, but the glittery snowman sweater or variation thereof may prove to be a hit at one of the numerous ugly sweater-themed parties held among many social circles this month.

The parties fit in with the tradition of being “excessive and tacky,” making it easy for people to go all out, said Dave Jahangir, a biomedical engineering senior.

Jahangir began planning last weekend’s party in April. On Saturday afternoon, he and his three roommates crowded into a Chrysler Caravan, drove to Savers thrift store and shopped for sweaters.

“I was just looking for a classical Christmas sweater,” he said. “Something you see your uncle wearing at Christmas.”

After two hours of picking through the racks, Jahangir settled on a maroon, blue and white snowflake pattern.

Jim Swakow, a chemistry senior, said he dug deep into the racks,

figuring the ugliest sweaters would be farthest back.

“Mine was a little pricey,” Swakow said. “I was pushin’ four bucks; it was name-brand.”

Party guests like biomedical engineering senior Kayleen Fabini couldn’t wait to show off their new threads.

“After I bought (my sweater) I couldn’t concentrate on my homework anymore,” she said.

Certain partiers tried to one-up each other with sweater gaudiness.

“Jim’s was probably the best,” Jahangir said. “Instead of getting the typical holiday sweater he got a teenage girl’s DKNY sweater. It was, like, four sizes too small.”

Swakow said he wanted to add sex appeal by baring his midriff, though it didn’t work.

“I have hair on my stomach,” he said. “It also made me look fat. I got my stomach and belly button pinched a lot that night.”

Fabini said her outfit earned a lot of laughs partly because the sweaters had a way of aging their wearers.

“She was almost a spitting image of my mom, like, circa 1993,” said Dave Jansen, a mechanical engineering senior.

Speculation as to how the holiday sweater trend came about focused on family traditions and bad taste.

“The origin would be the worldwide bad taste of moms everywhere,” Jansen said.

Others, like biomedical engineering senior Nick Anderson, blamed their grade school teachers for keeping the trend alive.

“I think it’s because that second grade teacher everyone remembers with the crazy, like, 3-D sweaters,” Anderson said.

Katie Shimek, a physiology and Spanish senior, agreed there is some truth to teachers’ love of festive sweaters.

“My mom saw pictures and she actually wants the sweater that my friend wore,” she said. “She thinks that it will be great to go to school with because she is a (second grade) teacher.”

There is no shame in wearing a warm holiday sweater, Jansen said, as long as the sweater is in an equally kitschy environment.

“Tis the season to be gaudy,” he said.