christmas jumpers.

Being in a relationship really does open one’s eyes to the world as experienced by another.  Case in point: through my boyfriend, I have been forced to acknowledge the existence of the Christmas jumper. I do not possess anything approaching a Christmas jumper, and do not intend to; however, upon navigating the high street clothing stores at this time of year, one’s eyes are assaulted by variations on this theme.

Toby has a few things that could be considered “Christmas jumpers”; but according to him, some are simple Scandinavian jumpers while others cross the border into Lapland. Snowflakes aren’t just for Christmas, it would seem – and The Killing agrees:

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There is in fact a whole website dedicated to Sarah Lund’s jumper. The knitwear incorporates a pattern or knitting technique called “fair isle” (or “fairisle” – originally I misheard this as a creative pronunciation of “feral”, but this is apparently false, although I may decree it apt). With the help of Google, I have some examples of “fair isle”, which comes from the Shetland island of the same name. However, I can’t quite pin down exactly what it is, other than thin rows of repeating geometric patterns, all of which create a festive but unattractive effect. To wit:

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However, it doesn’t plumb the depths of despair that some of my colleagues’ festive knitwear choices did. One adventurous co-worker selected a red jumper with a big Christmas pudding on the front. Colin Firth, eat your heart out:

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Now that I have laid the foundations with the above, with Toby’s help (in spirit at least) I have analysed some of the offerings available at online high street retailers including ASOS, River Island, Topman and New Look. Firstly, out of the plethora of offerings on ASOS, I have selected this one as fairly standard (complete with boy apparently auditioning to be in One Direction):

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At least the colours are not garish or clashing, but the limp geekiness of it just makes me a little bit sad. The price, at £30, is reasonable. Next up, River Island, who have an ominous online “Christmas Shop”:

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I actually quite like this fairisle snood, as it takes a pattern that can be dominating and yet sheepish (ha! ha!), and restricts it to an accessory, which makes the texture and look of the knitwear an embellishment rather than an anchor dragging a whole outfit down. It’s only £20, which is also fairly good. However, this makes me sad:

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At least it’s reduced to £25. But frankly, it looks like someone stole the upholstery from my grandmother’s old sofa, and turned it into a jumper. The shoulder pads are the final nail in the coffin. Can Topman redeem 2012’s knitwear? (I’m already laughing derisively at the thought of Topman redeeming anything, but let’s be sporting:)

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“Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without a festive jumper” is the tagline to Topman’s “Christmas shop”. I am quite pleased I have never experienced a Christmas that isn’t “the same”, going by the above which reminds me of a Magic Eye puzzle. The crimes against fashion here are numerous, and the more overt Christmas jumpers break my rule of banning animals from the torso. I actually intended to pick a nice example from Topman, in order to say “look, there is still hope!” But alas, there was not. But finally, I will turn to New Look, as I know they actually have something quite nice (because Toby bought it and I fully approved):

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This I guess is more “Scandinavian” than “fairisle” or Christmassy (I am ignoring the jumper emblazoned with a reindeer’s face that New Look also offers hopefully). But it is very flattering on, and the maroon is festive without screaming in one’s face. A tasteful look, and also –

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– this other jumper is nice too, as it uses a little bit of fair isle, but in order to transition between the maroon of the shoulders and neck, and the white of the stomach and forearms. It’s a clever use of pattern, rather than a relentless one. Who would have expected New Look to come out on top? (again, ignoring that reindeer.)

With that, I wish you all a Merry Christmas! And remember: although fashion may work in seasons, it never takes a holiday.

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About alan

singer / songwriter / fashionista / aspiring novelist

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