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Cringe-free Christmas jumpers
It has taken a couple of millennia to perfect the ideal festive-holiday attire, but I think we’re close. And it has nothing to do with tinsel, beads or velvet.
It is, in fact, a jumper.
Think about it. At some point, everyone has to go into the kitchen either to cook something, or pretend that they’re helping to cook something. Even Lady Cora must approach the range occasionally to thank Mrs Patmore for the excellent quails in aspic. Glitter and velvet look foolish in a kitchen. Silks and satins are asking for trouble. A jumper can take almost all you throw at it. Plus you can tie it round your waist when things heat up.
Also, they’re now smart, with notched necks, contrast cuffs, frills (as at House of Holland, above), interesting pockets, neon backs and statement elbow patches. Either that, or they’re daubed with dates that ought to mean something to you but probably don’t and references to authors you ought to have read but probably haven’t.
Bella Freud is the queen of this genre. Imagine the fascinating conversations that will open with relatives asking why you’re wearing a jumper with ‘Ginsberg is God’ or ‘1970’ printed on it. BTW, I’ve asked Bella Freud’s team about the relevance of that date and no one – including Bella herself – knows. It just looks nice.
Or how about a Chinti & Parker knit with pompoms or stars on it? Festive without being Alan Partridgey.
A quality jumper will hold its shape, avoid pilling and see you through the holiday and far beyond. As for your lower half? The plainer, stretchier and comfier the better, from drainpipes and silky tracksuit bottoms to a satin slip dress. When not pretending to be helpful, you will be obliged to take the odd walk. Then you must slump on the sofa and read some Ginsberg – or the Amazon reviews of Ginsberg. You can’t have a jumper that’s more intelligent than you are.