Whether it’s the massive Christmas tree looming over Occupy New Haven on the Green or the dining hall decorations that offer up aesthetic delights to compensate for Yale Dining’s perpetual grossness, nothing says ‘omfgHOLIDAYZ’ quite like an ugly sweater. You know the kind. It has to feature between three and seven patterns straight from hell or the ‘50s. It has to be large enough to effectively hide that growing belly that says ‘just one more peppermint Hershey’s Kiss’ every time you see those infernally tempting red and white stripes. And it absolutely must be completely inappropriate for the rest of the year (unless you’re the kind that would wear such items year round, in which case you should probs ditch Cross Campus for The Sartorialist – consider it boot camp. For life.)
Savvy pop-up store entrepreneur Danyel Aversenti recognized our community’s burning need for some puke-y woolens and retail therapy in this, the (literal) winter of our discontent, after conversations with her Yalie interns. She went online, ordered 150 sweaters and 50 sweatshirts, rented the former home of Allegra (R.I.P.) on Chapel Street and opened up New Haven’s first Tacky Sweater Shop last Wednesday.
The masses heard. Our collective ears perked up. Our next-big-thing receptors began to buzz.
Within 36 hours, Aversenti said, she had sold out. By the time your reporter got to the scene, the store wore a look of happy devastation. Three gross ties malingered on a counter. Some menorah sunglasses for Hanukkah chilled beside them, untouched.
Serenaded by holiday music and energized by tweets, undergraduate Elis poured into the store Wednesday and Thursday and proceeded to purchase a stock Aversenti had estimated would last for two weeks. Disappointed customers, that unhappy lot who just don’t invest the time in Payne Whitney to run quick enough to a new opportunity to partake in the glories of consumerism, continued to stream in to the pop-up through Sunday.
Today, as you read this very article, the sweaters are everywhere on our campus. Someone’s sleeping in one in a library. Zeta Psi brothers, whom Aversenti said bought the bedazzling monstrosities in bulk, are doing whatever bros do with festive garments. Last weekend’s regrettable hookup is personalizing his/hers with some ornamental stitching in a neon shade best left to Safety Dance. Aversenti’s sweaters have infiltrated our pristine campus. They walk among us.
This popularity both makes one want to be nocturnal to avoid a parade of obnoxious wool and begs some questions. Are tacky sweaters the new Longchamp totes? Will President Levin sport red and green at his next public appearance? Are we ever going to run out of stuff to mine from the recent past and laugh at? Cross Campus doesn’t know and neither do the snowmen covering the chests of holiday sweaters, but at least we both make you feel warm and fuzzy.
It seems like we have missed the deal of a lifetime. During their brief shelf life the sweaters went for prices Aversenti called “a little less than eBay” ($25 for a sweater). But hope is not lost, my child.
Aversenti expects a shipment of 100 more sweaters are set to arrive in-store (is ‘in-pop-up’ a term? After all this brouhaha, it may be) on Dec. 8. Two more days until your liberation. Cross Campus will be waiting, braving the snow, the cold, the screaming masses yearning for freedom from boring sweaters, and we will be at the Tacky Sweater Shop on Thursday. Til then, impatient reader, content yourself with other sickly expressions of holiday sentiment. We hear some colleges have gingerbread houses. Get at ‘em, readers, for Santa, for presents and for winter break.