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5th December 2012

The History of the Christmas Jumper

Grainne Morrison on the inevitable trend we cannot avoid this Winter…

The Christmas jumper, like the Brussels sprout, is a tradition equally adored and abhorred by the masses. It’s either an in-your-face snowman or adorned with pine cone print, there is an endless array of sweaters to express your inner Christmas tree. One only needs to scour the rails of any vintage outlet to see that the Christmas jumper has been around almost as long as Father Christmas himself. Bill Cosby is said to be the main cause of this massive trend in the early 1980s but cynics trace its existence back to the 1950s and the commercialisation of all things Christmas-esque. Ever since 2001, when Colin Firth’s Mr Darcy graced our screens in a Rudolph polo neck, millions have been besotted with the novelty jumper. Most importantly, Firth taught us the valuable lesson that pulling it off lies with the wearer not the sweater.

The dreaded Christmas gift of every member of the Weasley family, the garment has lost its cringe factor. In a generation of ‘ironic’ fashion, the Christmas jumper has accumulated a reputation as something other than the attire of an embarrassing uncle. In fact, this vestment has seen a stark rise in popularity in recent years amongst men and women alike. Type ‘Christmas Jumper’ into the ASOS search engine and there are at least 220 items to choose from, the most expensive costing almost £300.

Almost as surely as you’ll eat too many Green triangles, you will witness both the Christmas jumper success and the inevitable faux pas this festive season. But spare judgement on those that look more Santa Claus than Mr Darcy, it is the season of goodwill.

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