Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Elusive Ugly Holiday Sweater (and How to Win a Pair of Southwest Airline Tickets)

Our 34th Street correspondent Sarah stalks the city's vintage stores for ugly holiday sweaters after striking out on 34th Street. The ugly holiday sweater is now hard-to-find and is going for a premium in vintage stores. I blame all the Ugly Holiday Sweater Parties, like the one our sister company, Bryant Park, is having tomorrow night: Show up in your ugly holiday sweater at Southwest Porch, pose for a photo, and beg all your friends to vote for you on the Bryant Park Facebook page. The photo with the most votes wins a pair of tickets on Southwest Airlines.

Kmart and JCPenney had a few options online, but none on 34th Street (and this awesome godawful vest is sold out). Obviously, we're a little too high-brow for holiday ugliness. But designers should start thinking now about a line of ugly holiday sweaters for next year, as they are getting harder and harder to come by. I'll let Sarah take it from here...

In anticipation for our Ugly Holiday Sweater Party tomorrow night at Southwest Porch, I trekked across hipster fashion central of Manhattan, the East Village, after striking out in 34th Street. Only afterwards did I realize thrift shopping in EV is a Catch-22. The East Village has the best concentration of thrift stores because of its vintage-loving inhabitants, so unfortunately most of them are sold out of those elusive sweaters. 

My first stop was No Relations Vintage. The selection is slightly better for men than women, but the prices are extremely reasonable all around. I managed to find a delightful “ugly” hat with the fullest pompom I’ve ever seen! I tucked it away in my basket right away even if it doesn’t fit my head. I didn’t have much luck with the sweater rack, but found a monstrous holiday-jacket on the coat rack.  
Buffalo Exchange on 11th Street was the next stop. This is one of the busiest thrift stores I’ve been in, rivaling H&M crowds on 34th street. Thus, as expected, I did not manage to find any ugly holiday sweaters. I got distracted from my mission and scored an American Apparel nude blouse and a silk jumpsuit for a total of $50 bucks.  
I headed back east to Second Avenue thrift store, where they had a huge selection of clothing; alas they were also sold out of ugly holiday sweaters. At Salvation Army I finally scored some festive scarves and a cheap holiday sweater that had a decent amount of ugly. 
Back in the office, my colleague Kati showed me her loot, which includes hideous snowman sweater and a gloves sweater both with sequins! She snagged those at Monk Thrift Shop, where ugly sweaters are going for up to $100 dollars! 
We’ve ended up with a pretty great selection of sweaters for the party, but I’ve definitely learned my lesson here. Ugly sweater parties are definitely the most popular party concept in Manhattan this year, and next year I will start shopping for hideous holiday sweaters in July.

Be sure to drop by the party tomorrow night from 6-8pm! There will be holiday drinks for $5 and a lot of ridiculous holiday props.