| 03.17.2018

Surviving ugly sweater parties — The ultimate sweater buying guide


Snow has started to fall, the holidays are well under way and Christmas with ancient Auntie Gertrude is right around the corner. Power bills shoot through the roof and walking to a 7 a.m. group meeting across campus becomes almost as painful as getting every piece of china in an elderly woman’s glass cabinet smashed over your head.

Danlin Li | Rawr

Danlin Li | Rawr

There’s no more room for doubt, winter has hit in full swing. Luckily, this guide is here to help pick out a sweater that will help either keep warm or catch cold tears, assuming they don’t freeze to faces by the time they hit the collar.

The first thing to look for when buying a sweater is the material. Wool is definitely the warmest material to go with, but it has its downsides. First of all, washing wool sweaters is an incredibly risky process and doing it wrong means sweaters could shrink up to a child’s size. Owners of quality wool sweaters that spent a decent sum of money, save yourself the pain and get it dry-cleaned once or twice a season. Wool can also be an itchy fabric, so people with sensitive skin should be wary.

Those who don’t like wool, cotton is the next logical choice. Heavy cotton sweaters can be just as warm as wool sweaters. Cotton and wool and the two common fabrics used for sweaters, unless students want to splurge on cashmere, which requires care similar to wool.

Another important consideration for sweater picking is its design. Basics are always a safe idea, but getting a bit more adventurous is the only way to obtain that authentic “awful ugly Christmas sweater” look. Usually, sweaters that fall in that category will have two-dimensional designs of a reindeer and snowflakes or glasses of hot chocolate, but the possibilities are endless. A lot of bands print ugly sweaters as well, so be sure to check out online merchandise stores for those. Sweater designs are a hard thing to do wrong and either end up with something ugly, yet trendy, or something basic. Seriously, pick whatever sweater you want, chances are it’s not going to be an eyesore.

It’s important to buy a sweater from the right outlet. Despite being pricey, Urban Outfitters consistently has totally fashionable, high quality sweaters every season. While they may be hit-or-miss in other departments, I can personally vouch that their sweaters are top notch and I’ve accumulated a few over the past several seasons.

Those looking for something that’s all fashion and no flash, there are other retailers that offer upscale quality sweaters like J. Crew, Banana Republic and Calvin Klein. On the lower end of the price spectrum, H&M has some decent sweaters but some of their designs can be a bit too hectic.

To stay warm this season, getting a sweater to layer with is a solid option. Take these tips and go pick out something to run around the streets in.

Masen Matthews can be reached at arg-arts@uidaho.edu

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