How to Look Cute When Wearing an Ugly Holiday Sweater

During the holidays there is no such thing as too much spirit, especially when it comes to ugly holiday sweaters. Go all out with them — DIY one with all of the jingle bells and whistles or find one already decked out — and embrace the holiday spirit. Even though they’re not thought of as fashionable, there are plenty of ways to style ugly Christmas sweaters to show up to holiday parties looking festive and put-together.

For the full-on Christmas tree decoration look, try pairing your sweater with metallics. Funky silvers and holographic colors reminiscent of garlands are the perfect way to add a unique pop of color.


Wear sequins to create a literal halo around you. Black sequins or a monotone sequin piece won’t be as overwhelming and will make you shine bright in any lighting.


Go for the cool mom look and layer your sweater with a lightweight turtleneck and some mom jeans. Pairing the look with holiday socks and Birkenstocks will enhance the overall festive mom look.

MOTO Limited Edition Stone Encrusted Mom Jeans from Topshop / $190

If the sweater is completely oversized pair it with some distressed tights and turn it into a dress. Adding sheer tights (with a tartan pattern or even cute flowers) will allow you to casually mix prints. If it’s not long enough to be a dress, wearing pleather shorts or even denim shorts layered with tights will allow you to flash leg while showcasing the patterns on your stockings.

Tartan Tights from Anthropologie


If you have bell-bottomed sleeves or even a slight flare on your sweaters, pair it with some flared denim to create a retro look.

Rag & Bone Velvet Crop Flare from Nordstrom / $225



Layer your sweater with delicate lace for a contrast. This is another opportunity to try mixing patterns with the sweater. Get a little black dress and let the lace drape past your sweater, or if it’s a Christmas vest wear a lace or simply sheer top.

Kerr Dress from Free People / $580

Play around with texture and go for a more edgy yet effortless look with a pair of leather pants. Depending on your sweater, the sky is your limit with colors but black is always a fool-proof option.

7 For All Mankind Vegan Leather Skinny Jeans from Anthropologie /  $199

For a fancier holiday party that requests your ugly Christmas sweater’s appearance, pair it with a flouncy tulle skirt and tights with structured boots or oxfords for a quirky twist to the typical black pencil skirt.

Boohoo Layered Full Tulle Midi Skirt from / $39

Play around with different textures and go with a full on denim ensemble or try crushed velvet. Deep cranberries and an olive green will be a refreshing take on the typical green and red Christmas colors. Jewel tones such as emeralds and rubies are another option.

Or simply make your sweater the main attraction by accessorizing around your sweater. Modern and minimalist jewelry (like hoop earrings or basic studs) will complement it without completely distracting from the beauty that is your ugly holiday sweater.

And if you’re in a really crafty mood, try and distressing your sweater. Gently pull at the threads to create a more worn-in, grunge look.

Holidays are a time for carefree fun and your sweater shouldn’t be stressful to style, so welcome its ugliness with these suggestions.

Liv Chai is a staff writer. Email her at

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