back to top

An Oral History Of "Sweater Weather"

Who knew the coziest time of the year had such a totally true, unfabricated past?

Posted on

Sweater weather has become one of the most influential seasons of today's society. Without it, how would we all know when to finally break out our knitted gear?

But how much about its history do we actually know? Some of the top experts in the field are here to discuss the illustrious background of this cultural phenomenon.


Martha D. Oglethorpe is a renowned historian, currently instructing at Oxford Community College.

Ross MacConnell is an award-winning documentarian, most known for his film Sweater Weather: Cardigan or Cardi-can't.

Chloe Nightingale is a Newbery medalist for her novel "Birds of a Feather Sweater Weather Together."

Additionally, BuzzFeed was also able to speak with an actual sheep (who chose to remain anonymous).


Martha D. Oglethorpe: One of the most surprising facts about sweater weather, or as I like to call it, "sweather," is that it actually originated at Stonehenge.

Chloe Nightingale: That's true! Though many people agree that Stonehenge is an other-worldly mystery, it was actually just a giant weaving loom.

Sheep: Long ago, my aaa-aaa-ancestors would work together during those extra harsh winters. Stonehenge was essentially our way of making more warmth. Like a giant maypole used for weaving.

MO: Soon thereafter, in the grand scheme of things, Celtic clans and other large families began learning from the sheep herds. The groups of humans started making large clumps of wool, usually borrowed from the sheep themselves, to use as warmth.

Ross MacConnell: What was interesting about those families was that they made those woolen lumps out of sheer fear of shivering to death. It was a preventative measure, not necessarily one made out of love.

S: They, like, barely even thanked my ancestors. A little goes a long way, guys.


CN: Now, moving transportation really changed the game, here. Vehicles meant faster breezes which meant more sweaters were needed earlier on in the actual autumnal season.

RM: This is really when the more romantic notions of sweaters came into play.

CN: Exactly! Courting teens became obsessed with borrowing sweaters and then surreptitiously smelling them when they thought no one was watching.

MO: A far cry from the survivalist sheep of that past, truly.

S: Tell me about it. Sweaters have never been about comfort; for us, it's always been about self-preservation.

MO: The climate change debates and scientific studies around the 1970s made even more people aware of when the seasons changed. It became cooler much sooner in the year than it used to in recent times.

RM: People were also starting to wear uglier sweaters around that time as well, I've found.

MO: I would like to point out that it was around this time that the actual term "sweater weather" was coined. Originally, it was a term created by environmental activists to be used for political propaganda purposes.

CN: It's like they forgot that people actually like sweaters. People loved the idea of having "sweater weather"!

MO: Once the '90s rolled around, our friends the sheep started a bit of a protest of their own.

S: Yes, I'm glaaa-aaad we're finally talking about this pivotal moment in history. You see, we became aware of some of the leading ladies on TV who were "trying to have it all." That was a big thing back then. We watched a lot of Sex and the City to learn about pop culture and what was important to humans. We decided more independence, too.

RM: They actually caused a small shortage of wool sweaters available on the market by refusing to give it up.

S: However, much like the activists of the '70s, our plan also mildly backfired.

CN: People love a good polyester blend!

S: Exactly. So, our demands were never exactly met. But we like to think our message was herd.

RM: Stop smiling at your own wordplay.

CN: Nowadays, "sweater weather" is all about the young and unattached folk.

RM: The term has basically become a way for the youth of today, which includes people in their mid-thirties, to console themselves with what life is actually like for them.

MO: Yes, whereas the ancient people used these devices as methods of survival, people these days have used both the term and the physical sweater as a coping mechanism.

RM: It gives them something to proverbially snuggle up with, if you will.

S: We feel very little pity for the people who now, essentially, have baaa-aaastardized what was once a time-honored and necessary tradition. Simply to feel less alone in the world. Don't you people know that everyone feels that way?! Talking about wearing sweaters doesn't fix anything.

CN: Maybe so, but at least we're cozy during our existential crises!

For beauty & style as you are.
a brand