Ugly Christmas sweater

How to Style Your Ugly Christmas Sweater Just because your sweater is ugly doesn't mean the rest of your outfit should be

It’s a love-hate tradition. Every December, in what can only be described as a bizarre ritual in which Christmas and alcohol are tenuously linked together via festive holiday knitwear and deemed a fitting celebration, the ugly sweater party is a yuletide tradition with questionable origins, unseeming relevance, and a ridiculous dress code. You roll your eyes when you’re invited to one of these ordeals, but inside you secretly look forward to the occasion earnestly. However, this year, maybe there’s a cute girl that you know will also be attending this festivity. Or, maybe you just want to look better than all your friends in the Instagram picture. We get you. While challenging, it is indeed possible to still look fantastic while rocking a less-than-favorable tinseltown knit. We’ve broken down every aspect of a GentleManual-approved ugly Christmas sweater ensemble so you can ace the style game this Christmas.

Table of Contents

Go (Semi) All-Out with your Sweater Choice

Don’t be the guy that shows up in a faux ugly sweater. This is one of the few occasions for which you aren’t simply given permission to dress ridiculously, but it is practically required of you. Have fun with your sweater choice! Get one with lots of festive colors or some pun-filled verbiage, because why wouldn’t you? The sweater is the fun part. Go crazy. 

Ugly Sweater Picks

Our Picks: Filthy Animal Sweater, Urban Outfitters | Slothy Christmas Ugly Christmas Sweater, Alex Stevens


Alex Stevens Men’s Slothy Christmas Ugly Christmas Sweater

  • 100% Cotton
  • Hand Wash Only
  • Jacquard sweater in Fair Isle design featuring crew neckline and festive sloth at front


Pair with Solid-Colored Chinos

It’s best to keep your pants on the simpler side to ground that sweater of yours. If you want to keep the fun going, go for a pair of red or green chinos! Otherwise, some neutral trousers or a pair of dark wash denim will suffice.

Chino Picks

Our Picks: Blue Jean, Bonobos | Lived-In Straight Khaki, Gap

Add a Button-Down Shirt

One way to up the style factor and protect you from the uncomfortable scratchiness of your sweater is to add a button-down shirt underneath. A multi-colored plaid variation or a solid color (perhaps one that matches one of the accent colors in your sweater) will make your sweater look more polished and really pull your look together.

Shirt Picks

Our Picks: Slim-Fit Gingham Shirt, Banana Republic | Easy Care Striped Long Sleeve Shirt, Uniqlo

Throw in Some Dressy Kicks

To really amp up your fashion-forward approach to the ugly sweater party, you’ll want to seal the deal with some classy, somewhat dressy kicks. Opt for some black or brown boots, oxfords, brogues, or double monk straps. For added holiday cheer, a pair of festive socks are a great way to keep the theme going without overdoing it.

Dressy Kicks Picks

Westminster Argyle Green Sock

Put a little prep in your step. Our Westminster Carded Cotton Socks in green feature a signature burgundy and red argyle pattern and will add just the right amount of conversational pizzazz to any outfit, be it casual or business.

Our Picks: Cognac Bamonte Boots, Aldo | Black Leather Brogues, Topman | Westminster Argyle Socks,

Finish with a Tie or Bow Tie

Like we said earlier, this is your chance to go a little nuts with your attire. Put a festive spin on a dapper accessory and add a tie or bow tie in a complementary color. If your sweater is excessively… visual… make sure to keep the bow tie/tie a solid color or very subtle pattern so as not to distract from the crowning glory of your outfit.

Neckwear Picks

Green Andrew Plaid Skinny Tie

This tight-knit traditional plaid gives a subtle pop of color to break up the often monochrome nature of a suit.’s green Andrew Plaid is made of a soft and durable cotton to keep you comfortably cool during spring and summer.

Our Picks: Simplicity Speckle Diamond Tip Bow Tie, | Green Andrew Plaid Skinny Tie,

The Final Looks

GentleManual-Approved Ugly Sweater Look #1

Ugly Sweater Outfit #1

GentleManual-Approved Ugly Sweater Look #2

Ugly Sweater Outfit #2
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