While the weather might be taking a turn for the worse, thrifting right now couldn't be better. “Why?” a secondhand novice may ask. “IT’S UGLY SWEATER SEASON!!!” Living in South Dakota requires me to wear sweaters for a large portion of the year...and thank God for that! Seriously, without sweaters and blazers I would have no clue how to dress myself. I think this is why I struggle so much in the summer with styling outfits. I can’t get away from t-shirts. At least during the colder months I can mask my t-shirt affliction by pairing them with a snazzy cardigan or overcoat. See, I’m still only wearing a t-shirt and jeans but now it looks fancy. Yep, I cheat.
Not only do I cheat, but I’m also cheap when it comes to my outerwear. I simply can’t justify paying full price for mainstream sweaters that are boring. Just because this girl has the common sense to stay warm doesn’t mean she doesn’t possess the frivolous need to stand out in a crowd. I guess what I’m getting at here is, I’ve never seen a sweater with sequins and shoulder pads at The Gap.
This last sentence brings me to the important question of, “What banishes an article of clothing to a thrift store's ugly sweater rack?” While some pieces are obvious seasonal train wrecks created only to destroy the wardrobe of well-meaning middle aged woman, other items are simply old. Let me clarify when I say old I mean vintage…like the stuff hipsters will pay big money for if presented in the right setting. Since when does vintage mean ugly? Please don’t interpret this statement wrong. I'm thrilled to have Savers pull all of their mohair lovelies and display them in one organized area. However it does break my heart to think anyone would consider these one of kind treasures ugly, solely because of their age. However that's society today isn’t it? People equate old with ugly.
I’ll admit some vintage fashion items aren’t for everyone. For example things like: linebacker shoulders, more sparkle than a Vegas showgirl, and enough fringe to make even Cher jealous could all be considered questionable trends. When one really considers it all couture from the 1980’s might be defined as borderline ugly. Of course, this is something I find hard to fathom since these things help construct my dream sweater. While there are a lot of garments for the garish available, some vintage items I’ve come across in the ugly sweater aisle are truly timeless. An example of this can be found in the pictures above. The cardigan I’m wearing in these photographs was one of my finds from last year’s ugly sweater selection. For the life of me I can’t understand why anyone would define this piece as ugly. In fact it’s this blogger’s opinion that this sweater looks like something that could have been created by the iconic Italian label, Missoni. As soon as I extracted it from a mass of cardinal and Santa adorned atrocities I knew it was meant to go home with me.
Lastly, as I sit here admiring how nice this, “ugly sweater,” looks in photographs I wonder how many times I’ve labeled something, “hideous,” that another individual may find beautiful. Perhaps an article of clothing can only be ugly while hanging on the rack. Maybe when the piece in question finally finds its’ fated owner it transforms into the distinguished beauty it was destined to be. Is it possible the ugly sweater rack is full of potential Cinderella stories? Maybe…however, it seems more likely that this blogger, with a tendency to romanticize and an attraction to all things tacky, might just be walking around in ugly clothes.
Sweater: Vintage (Ugly Sweater Rack at Savers)
Belt: Vintage (Etoile)
Sunglasses: Roberto Cavalli