By Maureen Post Special to Published Dec 26, 2008 at 4:31 PM

The Holiday may be over but this still is the holiday weekend. With parties spread out over the course of several weeks, there is still plenty of time to consider, plan and execute a holiday sweater party.

It's a holiday tradition growing out of control. There are Web sites, party favors and retail sales all geared to help the common man plan the ugliest, most tragic holiday sweater party.

I had completely forgotten about this tragically funny holiday tradition until I was at Red Dot last weekend for brunch. Sitting for eggs Benedict and Bloody Mary's, there was presumably a holiday sweater party in the bar's corner. Friends kept telling me not to stare, but isn't a holiday sweater party exactly the kind of thing you should be able to stare at?

I tried to determine if this was indeed a Sunday morning Christmas party or possibly the remnants of an all night party the night before. Either way, the group was complete with Santa Clause in a stuffed suit, gaudy sweaters matched with pink sweat pants, sleeveless snowman vests with bare arms and turtlenecks or dickeys covering every neck.

So in the midst of this jolly tradition we started thinking about the Holiday Sweater Party as a new phenomenon. Where should you really have a holiday sweater party? And if you choose to do it in a bar, should you expect a few glances if not downright blatant stares? Are there bars where you'd be able to blend in a bit better? Or is the whole point to stick out in a crowd?

So, if you're still looking to celebrate the holiday in style or your Grandma sent you an embroidered pullover, here are a few suggestions on where to slyly sport it on the town.

At Random- A cozy lounge with classic cocktails and extravagant ice cream creations, At Random is covered in holiday lights, faux snow and red velvet year round. A few small windows are the only reminder of the world outside, so even in July you'll question the month but never your holiday sweater.

Serb Hall Friday Fish fry- Covet a large round table and bring holiday and Milwaukee tradition together. The older fish fry crowd's appreciation for embroidery and quilting will notice your choice selections.

Soho 7- If you want to stick out in your holiday garb, here's your stop. Running a strict dress code forbidding tennis shoes, hats and torn jeans, you're going to have to tailor your look to allow you in the door. But once inside, the full-length mirrors provide a constant visible refresher of just the holiday look you are trying to convey.

Landmark Lanes- There's no argument that more or less anything goes in a bowling alley. From split color shoes and iridescent bowling balls to linoleum flooring and plastic seating everything about bowling teeters on the fine line of tacky versus trendy; and just the same, holiday sweaters are infinitely trendy exclusively because they're tacky. It's a win-win combination.

Angelo's Lounge- Anytime you force friends into all wearing the same thing, there's destined to be a sing-a-long by the end of the night. So, to help you stay in tune and on key, Angelo's piano bar has live music Wednesday through Friday plus you'll get a great holiday photo with the glowing décor outside.


Maureen Post Special to staff writer Maureen Post grew up in Wauwatosa. A lover of international and urban culture, Maureen received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

After living on the east side of Madison for several years, Maureen returned to Milwaukee in 2006.

After a brief stint of travel, Maureen joined as the city’s oldest intern and has been hooked ever since. Combining her three key infatuations, Milwaukee’s great music, incredible food and inspiring art (and yes, in that order), Maureen’s job just about fits her perfectly.

Residing in Bay View, Maureen vehemently believes the city can become fresh and new with a simple move across town.