The 20 Best Holiday Sweaters, Sorted by Occasion

Midnight mass: check. Hometown bar crawl: also check.

December 18, 2018 9:00 am

The heyday of the ugly sweater may be behind us, but the holiday sweater will never die.

Because it’s winter, and knitwear satisfies both your need to not freeze to death and your need to look fly at parties.

To wit: 20 of our favorites for 2018, sorted by every occasion you’ve got on your schedule for the rest of the season. From tasteful cable knits to reindeer-printed crewnecks, go ‘head and call yourself the Holiday Cheermeister (don’t worry, most will work well into the new year, too).

Fair (ha) warning: as noted in the past, the term “Fair Isle” is used in many of the names, but not all of these sweaters abide by that Scottish knitting technique. Doesn’t make them any less dashing, though. 

Holiday Sweaters 1 (2 images)

For the office party …
1. 1A Cable Crew in Loden by Inverallan ($275)
2. Birnir Cable Lambswool Sweater in Cabin Red by Norse Projects ($290)

Holiday Sweaters 2 (2 images)

For the annual family photo …
3. Fair Isle Wool-Blend Sweater by Kent & Curwen ($520)
4. Wetheralase Fair Isle Crew Knit by Barbour ($175)

Holiday Sweaters 3 (2 images)

For driving around to buy presents at the last minute …
5. Reverse Fairisle Raglan Crew by Bonobos ($168)
6. The Essential Cashmere V-Neck Sweater in Olive by Naadam ($75)

Holiday Sweaters 4 (2 images)

For catching up with old friends …
7. Color-Block Mélange Donegal Wool-Blend Sweater by J.Crew ($110)
8. Color-Block Wool-Blend Sweater by Universal Works ($155)

Holiday Sweaters 5 (2 images)

For feeding the reindeer and dog sledding …
9. Appliqué Sweater by Scotch & Soda ($165)
10. Reindeer Crewneck Sweater by J.Crew Factory ($39)

Holiday Sweaters 6 (2 images)

For layering before snowball fights …
11. Before the Snowfall Donegal Wool and Mohair-Blend by Howlin’ ($225)
12. Hudson Aran Jumper by Peregrine ($144)

Holiday Sweaters 7 (2 images)

For midnight mass ….
13. Love Aran Mid-Weight Wool Sweater by GANT ($225)
14. Hand-Knit Cable Crewneck Sweater by Todd Snyder ($388)

Holiday Sweaters 8 (2 images)

For the “best ugly sweater” party …
15. “I Believe” Crewneck Sweater by Pony ($70.50)
16. A Christmas Story Light-Up Leg Lamp by Ugly Christmas Sweater ($66)

Holiday Sweaters 9 (2 images)

For people who want the holidays to be over …
17. Morris Brushed Knit Sweater by Carhartt WIP ($155)
18. The Merino Ski Sweater by Everlane ($145)

Holiday Sweaters 10 (2 images)

For the hometown bar crawl …
19. Sequin Cheeseburger Christmas Sweater by Blizzard Bay ($30)
20. Drinking Game Christmas Sweater by Tipsy Elves ($60)


Updated Dec. 17, 2018; originally published Dec. 13, 2017
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