Finding the Perfect Ugly Sweater

We highlight some of your best and worst ugly sweaters and rate them 1-10 based on colour, pattern, originality and sheer horridness.


Best ugly holiday sweaters

Best ugly holiday sweaters

Warning: The following examples of holiday sweater-mobilia may render some viewers speechless, nauseous or blind


Finding the perfect ugly sweater is a difficult task. It has to be the right kind of sweater. One that reaches out to you, screams in your face and then hits you over the head with its sheer ugliness.


Especially if you want to stand out amongst a sea of top-notch ugly sweaters at one of Vancouver’s many ugly holiday sweater parties happening around town.


Best place to buy an ugly sweater in Vancouver

The best places to find ugly sweaters are generally at local thrift stores, where you can source something cheap. One store I’ve found has a particularly good selection of this holiday staple and, in my books, should receive first prize for its ugly holiday sweaters…


 ugly holiday sweaters at Retro Rock Vintage Clothing in Vancouver

Vito, owner of Retro Rock Vintage Clothing at Davie and Seymour, holds up a couple of his favourite vintage holiday sweaters.


You may have zipped past it on the bus going into downtown Vancouver, back when the #17 and #16 went down Seymour Street instead of Granville. Although, you might know it more for the retro hockey t-shirts, Cowichan sweaters and cowboy shirts hanging in the windows, Retro Rock Vintage Clothing at the corner of Seymour and Davie certainly has a jackpot of ugly holiday sweaters.

Retro Rock Vintage Clothing

590 Davie St, Vancouver



I had a feeling this store was going to be a gem when I entered, but I was unprepared for racks of fugly that I encountered. Sweaters with bells and tiny bows, Christmas lights and kittens, trees and miniature holly abounded. I wanted them all.


The only drawback to Retro Rock’s selection is the cost. These lovely old, holiday goodies are about $40 to $50 instead of the usual Salvation Army $5. But, if you think of it as an investment in holiday tradition and plan to break out your trademark tacky pullover or cardigan year-after-year, then it’s not a bad deal.


Finding ugly sweater inspiration

Before you head out and search for your ugly sweater masterpiece, you may find the following pictures instructive. Sourcing inspiration for your viewing pleasure via the wonderful world of cyber space, we bring you gag-inducing awesomeness, rating them from 1-10 based on specific criteria: ugliness, colour, patterns, attachments and originality.





6 out of 10 – These sweaters earn points for their fugliness and colour. The use of animals and the cute little stockings ups their points for terrible patterns, but this is nothing I’ve haven’t seen before. And I think it’s the pants that really win me over.




7 out of 10 – Again, great use of traditional holiday accessories: the trees, bows and stars. A lot of thought obviously went into that Christmas tree on the left. It’s a nice touch (although I hope wherever it came from is now out of business). For the life of me I can’t quite figure out why cats seem to be an ugly sweater staple, but they work. This pair gets an extra point for the incredible cheese that went into posing for this photo.  




7 out of 10 – This little 3D number was nominated via Twitter by a friend of its owner and creator, Sean Hayden, who uploaded this pic to our Facebook page. Sean points to its standout features: “a choke hold style turtle neck, lights that light up, a bowtie ribbon, and attached to the middle is a dancing reindeer.”


While this sweater is a bit lacking on garishness, it makes up for it in the electrical hazard department. You can just tell this sweater is going to be trouble later in the evening.




10 out of 10 – This sweater is a train wreck. It’s horrific and scarring, but you can’t look away. Regardless of what this person looks like, I have a feeling they will be receiving belly grabs and kisses all night in this one.




10 out of 10 – While the two sweaters on the outside of this group huddle are fairly hideous on their own, it is the two in the middle that take the cake. Their 3D efforts show serious commitment, while raising concern about the wearers’ social lives.  


Have a fantastically hideous ugly holiday sweater pic of your own? Post it on our FB wall!