Beyond Retro Presents: History of Christmas Jumpers

Beyond Retro Presents: History of Christmas Jumpers

December 25th. The year? 1AD.

A fresh little baby Jesus, kicking back in his crib. Mother Mary is wiped, and after nine months preggers, she’s well up for an eggnog.

She tries in vain to catch her hubby’s eye, but not a chance. Why?

Three Wise Blokes, who just turned up to watch that baby get born, are showing off their gifts… a truly holy knitwear selection, which they are modelling for maximum effect.

Staff at Beyond Rero Brighton Modelling their Knitwear.

The first Shrewd Dude has a sparkly number, glittering under the night sky, a fabulous bright gold. The second Knowledgeable Guy is wearing a classic red and green, with ‘Talk To Frankincense’ emblazoned on the chest. The third and final Sensible Chap’s torso is entirely occupied by a woven picture of Olly Murs. With antlers.

Joseph doesn’t know who Olly Murs is yet (though by God he will), but he doesn’t mind. Cos these lads showing up has changed his festive wardrobe, and his life, forever. And also, he’s chuffed because his wife had a good baby.

Of course, we all know that story. The tale of how the Christmas jumper came to be. The weird thing is though, that no one wore them again till basically the 1950s. Which is mad, ‘cause they’re tremendous.

Some Randoms in the 1950s.

History of the Nordic Knit

Perhaps inspired by that tale - but more likely by the thick, geometrically-patterned, woven-hygge Scandi knits, worn from the 19th century onwards by everyone from ice-cold fishermen to Ingrid Bergman - decorated woolly jumpers found their way to the UK in the 1950s.

Woolly jumpers, hats and cardigans (and of course socks, the Christmas jumper’s evil little twin brothers), led a knitwear revolution that gradually started to replace dresses and suits as the winter gifts of choice.

The ‘Ugly Christmas Sweater’ itself, with festive designs such as snowmen, reindeer and X-Factor runners-up, found its way into popular culture over the next couple of decades, adorning such style icons as crooner Val Doonican, presenter Timmy Mallett, and w***er Gyles Brandreth*, very much the Three Wise Men of their time.

Andy Williams Christmas Jumper

When Christmas Jumpers Went Downhill.

The rebirth of the Christmas Jumper

Then something very sad happened. Despite such trailblazing, youth-culture icons flying the festive flag for the Xmas weave, they started to be seen as basically a bit naff.

However, on 13th April 2001, nearly two millennia later, a saviour was born.

Colin ‘Sexy Lake Man’ Firth, playing the emotionally-constipated heartthrob Mark Darcy, showed up at Bridget Jones’s mum’s mate’s party, in cinemas across the world… wearing a massive woolly reindeer on his tummy. Hallelujah.

Mark Darcy Christmas Jumper

The Jumper in Question.

From then on, ‘Ugly’ Christmas jumpers rose again into the mainstream.

Not without a good helping of humour and more than a smidge of irony, of course, our favourite yuletide pullovers found their way onto the high street like never before, onto high-fashion catwalks, melting the hearts of designers such as Ralph Lauren, Burberry and both Dolce AND Gabbana.

They even prompted an alternative range produced by thrash metal veterans, Slayer.

Slayer's Christmas Jumpers.

Our Favourite Vintage Christmas Jumpers

Nowadays, the Christmas jumper is a must-have in the winter wardrobe.

Practical, adaptable and ugly-cute, they pair well with almost any personal style. Whether you’re going for the ice-cool-at-Christmas vibe, getting swept away by the Yuletide, or going full-out ho-ho-ho, a vintage knit is a versatile and fun feature piece.

Vintage Nordic Knitwear

One of the jolliest things about vintage knitwear is the perfect opportunity it offers to help support change, as the world moves towards sustainable fashion. Shockingly, in 2017, one in four high street-bought Christmas jumpers were discarded after the holiday period. What the Dickens?!

For a more sustainable option, cosy up in a retro Nordic knit from Christmasses Past, that still looks great Christmas Present, and will just get better for Christmasses Yet to Come.

They pair perfectly with a port red lipstick, ankle boots, and a 70s wide-leg trouser for timeless tidings. God bless us, every one!

Vintage Christmas Jumper Beyond Retro

Nordic Knit, £26.

Slogan Christmas Jumpers

In more recent trends, Christmas jumpers have opened up a world of possibilities in woven slogans, puns and pop culture references.

Avoid disposable fast fashion, and keep the North Pole very merry, by wearing upcycled sweaters just like our reworked LABEL ones.

These looks are perfect for a statement-heavy but a fashion-friendly approach to the wacky world of Winterval.

If it’s not too snowy, match with your favourite jeans and a pair of Converse for a 90s casual look.

Vintage Christmas Jumper Beyond Retro

Label Slogan Sweatshirt, £17

Christmas Cardigans

Sure, if you want to go all out, get yourself a dancing, singing, turkey hat, a pair of elf leggings, St. Nick’s beard, and a 3D jumper with baubles, bells, a removable Rudolph, and all the trimmings.

But of course, the holiday period is a time of year for everyone! So, if you are too alternative for advents, and mince pies are a bit mainstream, a bold print on a black Christmas cardigan can look edgy when paired with Docs, cropped trousers, an oversized winter coat and a trawler.

Vintage Christmas Cardigan from Beyond Retro

Christmas Cardigan £19

Most merrily of all, ‘tis the only season you can prance about like a sassy Noël Edmonds and still get a kiss under the mistletoe, so whichever woolly wonder you wear this Winter, just get out there, and sleeeeeeeeeeeigh!!! 

The Royal Family in Theirs.

Get your Christmas jumper now!

*Not being rude, it’s true. Gyles Brandreth is a writer.

Keeping Christmas Sustainable

Keeping Christmas Sustainable

It may be the most wonderful time of the year but the sheer amount of waste that occurs every festive season isn’t exactly bringing joy to the world. According to WRAP (Waste And Resources Action Programme), every year 500 tonnes of Christmas tree lights are thrown out as are 277,000 miles of wrapping paper, 74 million mince pies, 2 million turkeys and 250 tonnes worth of tree. That’s not even half of it!

But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to drop the festivities and immediately become a Scrooge, far from it! With a little bit of innovation, you can have yourself a merry little Christmas, just with a touch more sustainably. Here are a handful of ideas to keep you rockin’ around the responsibly sourced Christmas tree come December 25th.

Swap The Wrapping Paper For Something Even Cuter

Whilst recycling your used wrapping paper is an incredibly environmentally kind thing to do, getting rid of the stuff completely would be ideal. Trading a potential paper cut infliction for something soft and reusable such as a silk scarf, not only looks fabulous but will be treasured for life (or reused again to wrap your present next year). It’s essentially an extra gift. See our handy GIF for reference of assembly.

Buy a set of three silk scarves from our website, or come into one of our stores to find the perfect pattern yourself.

Ask What They Want

Three People In Vintage Christmas Jumpers

To reduce the fear of seeing your hard sought Christmas present in your local charity shop come New Years, or worse: the bin, have you ever considered asking your chosen recipient what they actually want? Perhaps instead of that kind of cute but totally unnecessary onesie you’ve been eyeing up in a branch of your preferred fast-fashion chain store, they are in dire need of a new sweatshirt after managing to spill red wine all down theirs at the work Christmas party. Think about it.

Shop Vintage And Second Hand

Two People in Christmas Jumpers

One man’s trash is another one’s treasured Christmas gift! Not only does shopping vintage and secondhand drastically reduces negative impacts on the world around us but the quality of genuine vintage clothing is way better than modern-day high street garb. One pair of brand new jeans uses over 5000 pints of water in the production line, and you don’t need that kind of guilt playing on your mind when there’s delicious food to be eaten and perfect telly to be watched.

Buy Vintage Christmas Jumpers

You’ve probably heard us go on about how vintage is one of the best ways to reduce your environmental impact, but it’s true! And besides, no Christmas is complete without a jazzy jumper. Shop unique throwback styles complete with all the usual trimmings to bring some extra Christmas spirit to your celebration.

Three Staff From Beyond Retro In Christmas Jumpers

Vegan Food Christmas Alternatives

Although meat eaters literally won’t stop going on about pigs in blankets every festive season, raising livestock causes over half of the world’s global emissions and animal farming creates around 18% of all greenhouse gases. Swapping to a nut roast with deliciously seasoned vegetables and a veggie stuffing could warm your stomachs without contributing to global warming.

Sustainable Decorations

Forking out for new tinsel and baubles every year, only for them to be cast away to sit in landfills forever isn’t so jolly. Try opting for something a little kinder like hung pine cones or chains made from recycled paper, even turning your old CDs into baubles. You can even make little gingerbread shapes and attach them to your tree using ribbon!

Sustainable Christmas Wreath Decoration

Gift Vouchers

There’s nothing worse than receiving a present you’d never use, except maybe being the giver of the said gift. Let your loved one choose some goodies for themselves with a gift card, which we have available both online and in store. Waste not, want not.

Shop Gift Vouchers AT Beyond Retro

Cutting Christmas Waste

We live in a society where being 100% waste free is genuinely impossible, but there are a few tricks to making it a little bit better. Cut down on your Christmas waste by donating any leftovers to food banks, downloading the Olio no waste food app and reusing gift bags when possible!

Phone Showing Waste Reducing App

Out With The Old

In the disastrous event of receiving a gift so horrendous and unlike anything you’d ever imagine owning, or maybe your new gift renders an old favourite useless, perhaps you should consider donating elsewhere. Either drop it off at a local charity shop or re-gift to someone who could really need it. And after all, there’s always eBay, Depop, Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree!


Recycling Sign

Stuck for gifting ideas? Check out our online store and bag yourself or your loved ones the perfect Christmas present from our website

The Beyond Retro Ultimate Halloween Party Guide

The Beyond Retro Ultimate Halloween Party Guide

Welcome back to goth month!

Where every fan of all things haunting and scary start counting down the days until the next Halloween night.

Obviously here at Beyond Retro, we’re huge fans of the spooky season, and although we never really need an excuse to dress up we have a handful of frightening tricks and treats for our readers to devour for themselves. 

How To Make Halloween Decorations

Head Jar

Everyone’s a little grossed out by pickled body parts in jars, so why not turn your own face into one? It’s pretty simple, just follow these simple steps:

  1. Take a selfie and side profile shot and upload to photoshop
  2. Align images and blend
  3. Print and laminate
  4. Fill your large jar, add food colouring to make it look like preserve
  5. Place the head image in the jar and freak out your friends!

See the full tutorial here.

Cockroach Hand Soap

You know those bags of plastic creepy crawlies that are everywhere this time of year? Well, they look super icky oozing in gooey soap bottles, especially when your guests least expect it.

Maybe consider saving some for later in the year as a prank.


Spooky Houseplants

Probably thanks to the need to have an Instagrammable bedroom, we’ve noticed that everyone has slowly become obsessed with houseplants.

Incorporate the trend into your Halloween decorations with a little bit of black spray paint. 

Another brilliant idea is to create a gorgeous Halloween party favour. All you need is wax chips, black wax dye, and red roses! 

See the full tutorial here.


Spider Lanterns

Admittedly this is just the first two decoration ideas combined but popping a few fake insects into a jar amongst fake cobwebs with one of those electric tealights placed in the center make for a terrifyingly cool addition to your Halloween crypt.


Because pumpkins are so last year. 

To Die For Party Themes

Addams Family

They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky, they’re altogether ooky and they make a classic Halloween theme.

Deck your house out as though it’s haunted and get your mates together for an iconic group costume.


Freak Show

Clowns are a lot of people’s idea of a nightmare but the rest of the circus can be equally as terrifying. Think mutations, rabid animals and garish prints. For more inspo, be sure to watch the American Horror Story series with the same title.


Hollywood Undead

Lay down the red carpet and make a Hollywood Walk Of Shame before asking everyone to arrive dressed as their favourite dead celebrity.


Monster Mash

Challenge your friends and family into inventing the scariest monster or creature. It’ll be a graveyard smash!

Out Of This World

Let your house be abducted by aliens and deck it out like the inside of a UFO or a Roswell crime scene, which if you’re on a budget means a lot of tin foil and silver streamers. Lime green punch is a must!


Killer Halloween Costume Ideas

Scary Skeleton

The backbone of a traditional Halloween, we’ve made the skeleton costume just a little bit more fashion with our hand painted blazers. Complete the look with cheekbone defining and super scary skull makeup.


Skeleton Leggings

Stranger Things


Everyone's favourite sci-fi Netflix series, Stranger Things, is coming to Secret Cinema! With an array of lovabhle characters, there's plenty of costumes to choose from.

Browse our curated Stranger Things collection now to find your perfect costume, straight outta 1985.

Geometric Top

Teenage Witch

Gone are the days of warty noses and green fingers, that look is over.

Another Netflix favorite, we’ve got on trend peter-pan collars and hooded capes for every teenage witch or wizard in our Halloween section.

The Girls from Booksmart

Booksmart stole our hearts and money when it hit cinemas this year, and we're not alone.

Nobody could stop talking about this movie - so pay tribute to your favorite heroines by donning a vintage boiler suit! 


Other Spooky Ideas For Your Halloween Party

Halloween Playlist

Get your guests the heebie-jeebies and show off your freakish dance moves with our special Halloween playlist with hours of grooving to Halloween classics and hidden gems.  

Spooky Nail Art

An easy way for a subtle everyday nod to Halloween this month is with some scary nail art. Think cobwebs, eyeballs, bats, pumpkins and more!

Pentagram Laces

Summon a subtly demonic look by tying your laces in a pentagram-like we did last year. Follow the tutorial here.

If you’ve enjoyed this, be sure to check out our 2019 Halloween Fancy Dress Ideas for some more spooky inspiration! Don't forget you can celebrate Halloween with Beyond Retro through an array of events we are hosting, and once the party is over you can recycle your Halloween costume back to us and receive  £5 voucher!

Last Minute Gift Ideas From Beyond Retro

Last Minute Gift Ideas From Beyond Retro

The weather outside is frightful and the wine is so delightful but if you don't get your Christmas presents soon, the situation could be frightful. Luckily at Beyond Retro, we have your back with a fabulously festive selection of gifting goodies, perfect for stocking fillers or secret Santa surprises available in just a few clicks. What's better is that many of our favourites are now reduced in price, meaning that you'll have a couple of extra pennies to spend on Christmas Eve drinks. Ding dong merrily on high!


Christmas Jumpers

Whether your office is participating in an ugliest Christmas jumper competition or you simply want your loved one to have the best day ever, our selection of vintage treats is not to be rivalled. From cute and simple designs to outright distasteful disasters, even just a quick scroll through will have you giggling into your eggnog.

Even better, they've all been reduced to £14.95 in time for the big day!


Wool And The Gang Knitting Kits 

When they've overstuffed themselves with dinner and mince pies or can't be bothered to watch Home Alone for the tenth time this month, your loved ones will appreciate a fun wholesome activity as the day draws to a close. Our reduced price knitting kits from Wool And The Gang not only offer result in a glorious new accessory or decoration but also double as a guaranteed bonus fun time. 


Pyropet Candles

Chesnuts may traditionally roast by an open fire, but isn't it about time that they got a bit toasty next to a melting animal about to reveal it's metallic bones? Ok, that was a bit of a long shot but these badass Pyropet candles really do make a great gift. Choose from a cat, deer or bird, available in a variety of delightful colours and currently on sale. 


Assorted Bric-A-Brac

Let's be honest, almost everybody could do with another mug or notebook, which BTW are bound with vintage archive fabric. Luckily for your chosen receiver of gifts, both of these are on sale so grab em whilst stocks last. 


Gift Cards

When you still can't decide on the perfect gift for your friend, partner or family member, usually it's best just to leave it down to them. Our e-gift cards are always available and will be emailed over which means you could literally leave it until Christmas Eve, although we really don't recommend being silly enough to do that. 

If any of our suggestions aren't really your thing, check out the rest of our website and discover a whole world of vintage delights. We can guarantee that there's something for everyone, even the Scrooge in your life. 

✨ Order your Christmas gifts by Weds 20th for standard delivery or Fri 22nd before 2 pm for next day delivery ✨