Christmas Jumper Day: Friday 14 December 2012

Tomorrow (Friday 14 December ) has been declared Christmas Jumper Day. It’s all in aid of Save the Children and the idea’s to don a Chrimbo jumper in exchange for a donation to the charity. The press release informs me that newsreader Jon Snow and the actress Ashley Jensen are among the campaign’s celebrity sweater wearers. At this point I’ll fess up that I haven’t a clue who Ashley Jensen is but Jon Snow normally wears horrendous multi-coloured ties and socks so any reindeer emblazoned jersey has to be an improvement.
Of course it’s all so ironic and undoubtedly a load of dicks will be making more of a dick of themselves than normal. The Colin Hunts of the office can pretend to be Colin Hunt for the day.
But of course jumpers are having a bit of a revival at the moment. The high street is full of chunky knits while Norwegian fishermen’s sweaters have been a winter layer of choice with the Urban Ramblers for some time.
Sarah Lund, The Killing’s unique detective, is credited with popularising Faroese sweaters while the designer end is full of the things. From Stella McCartney and Jill Sander to a white Moschino reindeer number at £396 a pop everybody’s into knitwear. Dare I say it’s ‘bang on trend’?
And from one small step to one giant leap as they’ve all embraced this one-wear (or once a year-wear) garment: The Chrimbo jumper.
Of course it’s nothing new with the lads that like dressing. Not that it would ever have touched the radar of Stella and her disciples. Back in late 1980 certain corners of London went ski jumper crazy. Well me and my ten mates did. Authentic American jumpers that looked and felt like they had come straight off the Holiday Inn and White Christmas film sets. Decorated with skis or reindeers or Christmas trees or snowflakes or mountains – and often all of those things – they were worn over a checked shirt buttoned-up to the top and above – and usually tucked into – drainpipe jeans, desert boots on the feet, with a bubble jacket or Pendleton work jacket over them! They were great jumpers. They were bought from Flip in Curtain Road and I had three; each different shades of mucky brown and mossy green with American labels inside (and an equal provenance with plenty or wear in them). One, if I remember correctly, had some sort of felt design on the front of it. Or was that one that the mainstream shops brought out? For like everything they soon caught on and by the time they’d caught on we were all moving on.
It would be a few more years before we were searching out equally gawdy tops as we went after the Best Company sweats but that is another story…
So if you feel like buying a daft sweater and giving some money to a fine charity then fair enough but when you’re in the pub being so ‘ironic’ remember some of us wore these jumpers out of choice. Not that the type of people that will now be donning this kitsch knitwear would have noticed if they’d been about at the time…


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