Spirited (er, ugly) sweaters redefine essence of 'dressed in holiday style'

2013-12-15T00:00:00Z 2014-05-21T13:36:50Z Spirited (er, ugly) sweaters redefine essence of 'dressed in holiday style'By Johanna Willett Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Joeann Fossland’s first ugly Christmas sweater does not disappoint.

You might think your sweater is festive, but this bad boy wraps all things Christmas into one, single cardigan. Fossland, 65, shared this beauty with us on the Star’s Discover page on Facebook.

She found it in October, shopping for something else, at a sale at the Golden Goose Thrift Shop, 15970 N. Oracle Road. It caught her eye — how could she miss it? — so she bought it.

“I just thought I’d wear it for the grandchildren on Christmas so they would remember their grandmother,” Fossland says. “I usually try to be pretty.”

It is tradition that the family gathers at her home on Christmas morning to celebrate and unwrap presents. Her four grandchildren get Santa mugs of steaming hot chocolate, and sometimes they try to dress in holiday colors. In past years, Fossland, a speaker and coach on the real estate business, has sewn dresses for her granddaughters.

This year, with icons such as a tree and teddy bear vying for space on her crowded sweater, Fossland’s holiday attire will likely best everyone in the family.

During the holidays, ugly sweaters go from castoffs to coveted. Thrift shops such 1st-Rate, 2nd-Hand Thrift Store, 5851 E. Speedway, collect the sweaters all year and pull the stash out around Thanksgiving, says assistant manager Hallah Karaman. At this point in the year, their pickings are slim.

The sweaters go fast, as ugly sweater party invites pile up. Other customers — mostly older, Karaman notes — come in looking for sweaters splashed in holiday cheer just for the fun of it.

Karaman’s favorite sweater sighting could give Fossland’s Christmas cornucopia some competition.

Karaman says the sweater was “red, but the whole front was hand-knitted with cats wearing Christmas sweaters.”

With Christmas and ugly sweaters, there is no such thing as too much. Here are some standouts from around Tucson:

Savers, 290 W. Fort Lowell Road

  • Price range: $5-$15
  • Shopping lowdown: Lots of stock that is often replenished from the back.
  • Best of the worst: Red pullover with Christmas tree, gifts and 3-D ornaments.

Walmart, 1260 E. Tucson Marketplace Blvd.

  • Price: $18.44
  • Shopping lowdown: Brand new sweaters but limited choices. No options for men.
  • Best of the worst: Christmas vests featuring an embellished gingerbread house scene with giant lollipops and giant Santa piling up gifts.

Tucson Thrift Shop, 319 N. Fourth Ave.

  • Shopping lowdown: Best selection we found — lots of horrifying handmade sweaters. Best option for men but the priciest shop we visited.
  • Price range: $15-$30
  • Best of the worst: The green DIY sweater with the Dr. Seuss bird encircled by a wreath and surrounded by feathers was impressive if inexplicable.

UA Bookstores, 1209 E. University Blvd.

  • Shopping lowdown: You have two options but if you are a UA fan this is the “sweater” for you.
  • Price: $20
  • Best of the worst: Nordic sweater-style green and red long sleeve knit shirts say “Arizona” or “Wildcats.”

Irene McKisson contributed to this story.

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