Ugly Christmas sweaters abound at Ragstock in Bucktown

December 17, 2013 (CHICAGO)

I've seen ugly before but never ugly like this. The old fashioned, bulky and over the top holiday design sweaters are back in fashion. Well, maybe not in fashion, but they are selling.

"We're selling holiday sweaters. (Holiday sweaters? But more than holiday sweaters.) Ugly holiday sweaters. (Ugly! How many do you have here?) Thousands," said Josie Fillat, store manager, Ragstock.

Ragstock won't say where they get all these sweaters but this is a consignment shop so all of these works of questionable art are used and have been worn before. They are selling big because of the rise in recent years of what are called ugly sweater parties.

"It's pretty ugly. (And that's good?) That is good. It's for an ugly sweater competition at school," said Jennifer Murphy, shopper.

It's hard to tell how old the sweaters are, some 40 or 50 years old. But the majority are probably much younger. The goofy designs might tingle your tinsel, but the craftsmanship will not. They're well made.

"Some of them are handmade, hand embroidered, hand knitted," Fillat said.

They shop for their treasures for laughs at parties or for family photos or they're just for nostalgia. But they all want just one thing.

"They want ugly. (And you got it.) Oh we got it. (And for a decent price. how much?) Twenty-one dollars," Fillat said.

No one knows exactly when we started making fun of our Christmas sweaters. It might have been back in the early 60s when Bill Cosby came out with a comedy album and he made fun of his reindeer sweater. And then on the Cosby Show Dr. Huxtable wore countless ugly sweaters, so if we have to blame anyone, it's Bill Cosby.

Blame him? Heck no. Let's thank him.

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