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International Sweater Vestival

Can you look stylish and classy in a sweater vest? You better believe it, and today there is a whole holiday dedicated to wearing one. Started in 2007 by Carolyn Johnson, who was a reporter for The Boston Globe at the time, International Sweater Vestival is an "annual celebration of solidarity, superiority, and sartorial splendor that is expressed through the collective wearing of sweater vests." Today's holiday is meant to help everyone lighten up a bit. It is one of those holidays where people wear a piece of clothing to work—but sweater vests are not only worn at work today, they are worn everywhere. Some folks even use the day to gather together with others at "Vestivals."

The goal of wearing sweater vests in unison today is to connect with others. According to the day's creator, the day is "an expression of our shared humanity, and no other garment is quite so inclusive," as it is worn by anyone from "the self-conscious hipster to the person who just wants to stay warm." Sweater vests are diverse, which leaves room for creativity, individuality, humor, and fashion when celebrating with them. They may be button-down or pullover; they may be made from many materials, such as cotton, wool, cashmere, mohair, orion, rayon, and acrylic; and they may have all sorts of designs on them—from argyle to something much more flashy. But not everything that is a vest counts as a sweater vest—they don't have zippers, they aren't made of space-age materials, and you won't find them in the "performance outerwear" section. Still, with so many types of sweater vests available, it is easy for everyone to find one and participate in International Sweater Vestival.

How to Observe

The first thing you need to do is to make sure you have a sweater vest. If you can't find one in your closet, you could ask a friend if they have an extra one, check for one at a thrift shop, or purchase one elsewhere. Then, you should encourage others to participate in the day. If you know someone who doesn't have a sweater vest, you could give them one of your extras or buy them one. You could bring any extras you have to work today to hand out to anyone who needs one.

Smiles are to be exchanged with others wearing sweater vests today, and compliments can be given to them as well. Talking with them about where you each got your sweater vests or any story behind them is another way to participate. When groups of people participating in the holiday come together it is called a Vestival. You could organize one of these to be held at your home, at school, or at work. Make sure to gather together for a Vestival photo at the end of the day, and share photos and your experiences from the day on social media using the hashtag #vestival.

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