Delight in tacky sweaters

Seth McCormick Cooke, Fashion

As the holiday season reaches its peak, take a moment to reflect and really think about what's important this time of year. Tacky holiday sweaters. Sure, there are family and friends and the Christmas and Hanukkah stories and giving and receiving gifts; but can any of those things compare with the true joy one gets when donning a holiday sweater that defies reason?

Everyone knows someone who always wears a tacky holiday sweater, whether it be a kindergarten teacher or a grandmother. However, tacky holiday sweaters recently have transcended Grandma culture and evolved into party novelties and even daily wear for hipsters.

While hipsters like to jokingly wear their sweaters, this time of year has become chock-full of "Tacky Sweater Parties," where there is often a prize for the tackiest sweater of all.

"I've been to three tacky sweater parties already this year and have skipped out on a few more," says Isabella Palmer, a student at the College of Charleston. "I don't really get wearing them as a 'fashion statement' but I've seen it a lot around campus."

Recently, ABC's "Modern Family" had a Christmas episode that reflected the growing need to have a tacky sweater in your wardrobe. Although Cam, one half of the show's gay couple, is usually a spiffy (if not flashy) dresser, he appears in an extra festive Christmas vest, even though it is 95 degrees outside. His only response when asked about it is to emphatically exclaim that it is his "Christmas Sweater!"

Even celebrities are getting on the holiday sweater bandwagon. Justin Bieber appeared on the "Today" show wearing a twist on the holiday sweater craze. He wore a varsity-style jacket with Faire Isle details in bright red and white. Although it wasn't on par with the homemade variety you might see around town, it

definitely gave a nod to the trend.

As the festivities start to die down next week, there will be fewer opportunities to wear those tacky sweaters you've been collecting all year. Don't let it get your spirits down: You can start planning your sweaters for next year.

Palmer likens the new trend to Halloween.

"I plan my Halloween costume in advance, so why not put together a really out-of-this-world tacky sweater in advance, too?"

The tacky sweater craze is really just getting started, and next year you'll find just as many if not more parties to attend where you can show off your homemade or store-bought knitted masterpieces.

So remember, while spending time with family and friends during the next few days, make sure to do so in a tacky sweater because that may top off your holiday season.

Seth McCormick Cooke is a stylist and freelance writer based in Charleston. Reach him at