5 Fashionable Ways to Signal Your Queer Girl Status

I get it grrrl. You all up in the club trying to pick up some nice lady to snuggle with (clothes optional), but you keep getting ignored because everyone thinks you are the straight friend that just came along for the homo-erotic ride. Trust me, I’ve been there, and it totally sucks! I know it’s tough to want to dress nice and get hit on by girls, especially when going out, without feeling like you have to dress like a fourteen-year-old boy. FYI: I have nothing against this look (I steal my gf’s Land’s End shirts all the time), I just have more of an affinity towards dresses and heels and seeing the popularity of Modcloth on this site, I’m guessing many of ya’ll do too.

Have no worries lil’ femme chick-adees, I’m here to give you the top 5 pieces of clothing to add to your wardrobe that will instantly spike up anyone’s gaydar without getting an Alternative Lifestyle Haircut.

1. The White V-Neck Shirt


1. Perfect V-Neck T-Shirt by Alternative Apparel ($44) 2. Everyday V-Neck Top by Forever21 ($5.80)

The white v-neck shirt is the ultimate staple for any queer woman’s wardrobe. It’s so simple and classic, not to mention comfy. If you don’t have one, you can go to any megastore ending in Mart and get a whole pack of them from Hanes. No lie, I am such a hardcore femme I did not own a single v-neck shirt, white or otherwise, until my last week of college (which, as shown by my baby face, was not that long ago). Also, don’t feel like you have to completely cast aside your femme styling cues. A white-v neck is great because it can be easily styled with accessories, cute shoes and kick ass hair (Holla to my long haired beauties). Lana Del Rey is a great example of femme-ing up this classic queer style.

2. Invest In An Awesome Hat


1. Summer Beanie by BMC ($24) 2. The Floral Throwback Snapback by Obey ($38) 3. Flower Power Snapback Cap by Forever21 ($12.80)

It’s true, queer ladies love their hats like they love pussycats. The three most popular queer styles are the beanie, the fedora hat, and the baseball cap. I know that baseball caps sound like a big jump from the Blair Waldorf style headbands of our femme youth, but they come in so many floral styles now these hats are no longer resigned to just #tomboy status (just look at Rihanna). The beanie, while known as a winter staple, has a better queer effect in when worn all year long so invest in one made out of a light knit that wont make you sweat during the warmer seasons. With the fedora, I’ve noticed it’s queer girl sensing powers work best at night than just wearing it during the day. Trust the power of the Night Fedora. I don’t know why but lesbians have this thing for Humphrey Bogart and looking like 40’s gangsters. And if you don’t know who Bogart is then you need to get your life together, like right now. But try and stay away from fedoras made from straw because that’s hinging on straight girl territory.

3. It’s All About The Blazer


1. Faux Leather Paneled Blazer by Forever21 ($27.80) 2. Modern Maker Blazer by ModCloth ($47.99)

Now that I think about it, the classic black blazer might be the foolproof way to signal your queer girl status when out at a club or bar. It goes with anything and can be dressed down with a nice pair of jeans or dressed up with a dress and cute jewelry. It’s one of those pieces that looks effortlessly cool and like you have a job (which is always a plus). It says, “I mean business that’s NSFW.” Put one of these babies on and you can go party with the best of celesbians out in L.A. Say hi to Kate Moenning for me!

4. Pledge Allegiance To Flannel


1. Bonfire Stories Tunic in Red Plaid by ModCloth ($39.99) 2.  The Flannel Cut Out Dress in Black Plaid by *MKL Collective ($15.00) 3. Prairie Plaid Self-Tie Shirt by Forever21 ($15.80)

When in doubt, just try to look like a lumberjack. Plaid flannel is making a serious come back and it has changed a lot since its last major boom in the 90s. Just think of what a grown up Angela Chase would wear. It comes in so many different styles, you don’t have to feel restricted to just one thing. There’s the classic plaid flannel button down, which can be easily spruced up with a gold necklace (this was pretty much my uniform in college) but there’s also skirts and dresses if you feel more into the Laura Ingalls Wilder prairie girl vibe.

5. Stripes, Stripes And More Stripes


1. Posh Patisserie Top by ModCloth ($24.99)

Tegan and Sara. Need I say more?

I hope these fashion tips have helped any confused chicas out there. As if it isn’t hard enough finding date material, it’s worse coming out and being introduced into this new kinda secret super awesome club and feeling like you don’t fit in. Just hang in there and have fun. Give it some time and before you know it girls from far and wide will want to buy you a beer.

feature image via minsct.tumblr.com

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Born in the small island of Puerto Rico, Nina currently lives in Athens, GA with her phantom corgi, Potato.You can find her work in BUST Magazine, HelloGiggles, Thought Catalogue and Portable.tv. She spends most of her time daydreaming about what it would be like to hand out with Taylor Swift and writing in her blog, http://femme-nist.blogspot.com

Nina has written 21 articles for us.


  1. “When in doubt, just try to look like a lumberjack.”

    Actual best advice given in my life.

  2. SO incredibly relevant to my needs right now (and thank you for presenting affordable options!)

  3. This post came at the perfect time! I was just talking about this the other day! :D. Great article!

    • I ordered an “Auto Straddle This” t shirt an hour ago. If it doesn’t work, I don’t know what will…

  4. This is extremely relevant to me right now. Next week, I’m going on a work trip to Brighton (the gay capital of the UK) with my brilliant (and also gay) male colleague. We are super excited to make the most of our two nights there and hit the bars both nights… and pretend we don’t have to work in the morning. Hopefully these style tips will help signal my queerness loud and clear, as I get mistaken for ‘his straight friend’ in gay bars all the time.

    I may even try and incorporate all 5 style tips into one outfit. I feel like that should put a stop to girls reading me as straight. White v-neck with a checkered shirt, black blazer, snapback cap and stripy shoes. I’d better do some shopping.

    • lol yep i went to brighton and i did get mistaken the whole weekend-totally irritating…the white t and loose trousers works well too esp if chequered..basically the opposite to straight wear-ie straight is loose white t and skinny jeans.. queer is loose both..or skinny jeans with mens large buttoned chequered shirt with hiking boots..or skinny jeans withblazer.. there is an art however i took to wearing a necklace of two women..unfort beanies make me look horrendous and so do snapbacks..however a hat is better than none so bobble hat for me!good luck!

  5. I’m wearing my best plaid and red lipstick, and I was sincerely hoping that I looked like an advertisement for lesbianism. This post has convinced me I did.

  6. Not a femme, but I think basically 75% of Beyonce’s new album videos’ outfits SCREAM queer to me without sacrificing the hard high femme look (I, mean, it’s fucking Beyonce.) Especially the plaid, shorts, hair, and accessories combo in ***Flawless.

  7. I may actually print this article and hang it on my fridge. I’m that desperate. In a small religious town where nobody wishes to admit that they’re gay, the straight population here doesn’t really understand that being gay doesn’t make you a criminal, and also doesn’t make you a sexual predator. Everyone is automatically assumed to be straight anyway, and if you look feminine (like I do, I’m super girly) you’re ULTRA straight. There are no gay bars in my town. There are no gay organizations in our schools, or anywhere in our town. There are no support groups(or if there are, I’ve never seen them advertised anywhere, so they may as well not exist). Gay does not exist where I live, and it’s extremely scandalous if someone steps out of line in that way.

    It’s nice to have ways to wear my sexual orientation without having to write LESBIAN on my forehead, which I maybe have considered doing once or twice. Granted, that once or twice happened only a few minutes ago. Maybe it would start a trend, and I would feel much less alone.

    • I feel this. I’ve left my small town for a big city, but at least once a day I wish I had a flashing sign on my forehead that read “GAY” as soon as some creepy cis man starts to leer at me.

  8. LOVE this post! Might pop out and buy a floral hat (to wear backwards, obvi). Also, side note, I went to school with the model who is in the middle picture for the hats and the flannels, she’s a pretty cool chica.

    • Yes to this! LOL

      Also, striped v-necks!

      Srsly, I’m loving v-necks so much right now, it tends to lessen the chubbiness of my face and my being flat chested, plus it shows my awesome collarbone tat LOL it’s super comfy, it’s basic, and easy to style as mentioned in this article; you can put your hair down, braid it like Queen Elsa’s (YES!), or put it in a messy bun — it works with anything.

  9. wow, i already wear flannel & i have a hat that’s kind of slightly like #1? it’s a green thing that my grandmother made for me one Christmas. i wore it recently with a blue tank top, a long pink skirt, & some nice little brown boots c:

  10. How can I wear all five things at once? I’m not even a full-on femme (or whatever) and people are always shocked when they find out I’m gay … (And I’m not exactly quiet about it!)

  11. Thanks for the tips! Now I know what to look for when I see a femme girl and I’m trying to figure out if they’re gay or straight, lol. Do you have any fashion tips for lesbians who aren’t femme or butch and want to convey the message that other women shouldn’t make a snap judgment based solely on physical appearance because they could miss someone with an awesome personality by doing that? I know, I know… that’s a lot to ask out of an outfit, especially when it typically consists of a t-shirt and jeans, lol.

  12. flannel, v-neck, jeans, and a beanie is literally my uniform. paired with my docs or sneakers and obv some fab lip gloss and david bowie hair. thank you for validating my fashunz.

  13. Wow, turns out I was already doing most of these things! I guess I don’t need to constantly be asking my guy friend “Do I look gay enough?” for reassurance anymore. :D

  14. White V- necks are my go- to “holy shit I dunno what to wear” choice. Not too long ago one of my gay guy friends actually cut me off from buying more.

  15. We can step this up.

    Crop tops, sheer button downs, short shorts with low converse or high top kicks (floral pastel or with studs!).

    Summer styles you guys! This list is mega boring. Exciting tights, fishnets or with funky prints. High waisted rayon or cotton cigarettee pants a knitted bralette and a heavy necklace I don’t know but you can do it and it can be better.

    Also just to say, really? – on that ‘straw fedoras hinging on straight girl territory’ Wear what you want! It depends where you what your local hetero population wears anyways.

  16. Not to dismiss the great work that you put into this article, but I actually think it’s kinda problematic to suggest femmes need certain items of clothing to be recognised as queer.

    However femmes dress, they dress in a queer way, because they are queer.

    They shouldn’t have to change their appearance, or purchase items of clothing that have been assigned an arbitrary queer value. If you want to wear these items by all means do.

    However, if good ol eye contact doesn’t make it clear that you’re queer, and the cutie wants to perpetuate femme invisibility by assuming that you couldn’t possibly be queer because you’re not wearing a snapback, I really don’t think they’re worth your precious time.

    • Thank you for this comment because the whole premise which I get has some history (see flannel) are not isolated to queer women, it depends of the spaces we live in. My sister is straight and has every item on this list because 1. She’s fabulous 2. She wears whatever the fuck she wants queer/straight fashion politics be damned. I only have hats and blazers.

      Wear what you want and seriously the eye contact is so powerful I was just reminded how is important it is…

      Picture it:

      It’s 2014, I’m in my late 20s catching the train and see a beautiful girl with an asymmetrical haircut. I look at her and she looks at me like I was a crazy person, I look away embarrassed. A moment later I noticed a girl with a simple bob looking at me and I look back. We held eyes for more that 20 seconds on the Brooklyn bound A train I swear I had 20 bucks, packets of sweet and low I stole from the office and a dream, I was ready for a love connection.

      Alas, it was a missed connection and if wasn’t for me leaving before her, I would have said something.


    • I think this article is less a mandate than a list of suggestions for those who feel empowered using culturally recognized signifiers, like flannel, to be visibly queer. Shame on anyone for perpetuating femme invisibility, but I wouldn’t knock a person for trying out these tips.

  17. Firstly, I would add short nails painted in cute, “hey check out my short nails” colors to this list.

    Secondly, this article speaks to me in a big way. I don’t know how many others are in this boat, but I had an Alternative Lifestyle Haircut for many years and then decided to grow it out, and DAMN people have some opinions on that.

    I have always very considered myself very femme, and I really had no idea how much my hair had influenced others opinions of my sexuality. Suddenly both straight and queer people were telling me to my face that if I was interested in dating other femme girls then I shouldn’t have grown my hair out. That pissed me off in a big way and I became sort of defiantly UBER GIRLY for a while, which I eventually had to admit wasn’t really me. I honestly had enjoyed being recognized as queer; I was just over the haircut. It took me a while to find my style again.

    It might sound weird that consciously adding things like blazers and combat boots to my wardrobe was part of learning to NOT over-think my wardrobe, but that was the freedom that I finally found in my long hair. I now feel that I can go to a bar with my friends and have a good chance of being recognized as both gay and femme, which is how I like things!

    • I hear you on the long hair thing. The aesthetics of femininity have a weirdly low status in the queer female community.

      • I think some of it is internalized misogyny that leads to masculinity being privileged and some of it is that masculine aesthetics are more visible.

    • After all that exhausting hair business, I’m really glad you found a nice balance there! Good for you.

  18. Question: related to the whole bra theme the other week, what color bra should one wear under a white shirt? Is it totally unacceptable for people to actually see your bra?

    • Depending on your skin tone: bright pink, beige, brown, or black :D. Or no bra at all. No bra is quite queer.

    • No right answer to this question; I personally like a killer lacy black bra under a white or cream shirt, but if you want your bra to disappear then find one in whatever version of “nude” suits your skin tone, like Carina said!

    • I have one that’s bright purple and black lace that I love wearing under white bc otherwise hardly anyone gets to see it and that seems like a damn shame!!

  19. So a striped v-neck shirt with a plaid blazer and an awesome hat is the quintessential queer uniform this season? Gotcha.

  20. Oh my god, can this become a regular feature!? This is very, very relevant to my interests and there must be tons of more sartorial dyke codes.

  21. Last weekend I wore a plaid flannel shirt and boots to a gay bar to see my friend perform and all the people we hung out with asked if I was straight. Every single one. Then they asked the waitress: if one of us was straight, who would it be, and even she said me. I don’t get why I don’t give off “the vibes” man…

    • I have the opposite problem. I’m bi, and people often assume I’m gay. I want to assert my identity, but I don’t want it to seem like I’m making it a point to say I’m not gay because there’s something wrong with it. UGH! Life is hard.

      • I’m bi too!!! But people just automatically read me as straight unless I’m with my girlfriend. And then they assume I’m gay. :'(

  22. I’ve gotta get me one of those summer beanies. I have a knit beret I wear on bad hair days (see my profile pic), but it’d be nice to have a hat rotation going.

  23. I just tend to come off as 100% straight no matter what, even wearing my white v neck shirt. Should I just start aggressively mentioning my love for Tegan & Sara and Autostraddle in every day conversation?

  24. I got a few cute baseball caps at Claire’s recently. They definitely work with my grunge/glam feemmegirl look but also look sufficiently dyke-y. (:

  25. Since all of the above have always been part of my wardrobe to no avail, I may resort to just wearing them all at the same time. Stupid? Challenge accepted.

  26. ” I don’t know why but lesbians have this thing for Humphrey Bogart and looking like 40′s gangsters.”

    I thought it was just me ;U; #notaloneanymore

  27. I use shoes. I have so many shoes. I have chucks, PF Flyers, Oxfords, Botas, slightly-more-feminine-than-combat boots…Shoes! I own not a single pair of high heels because I think shoes that alter one’s natural way of walking should go to straight to hell. I think vests are also great.

    But I’m still single so what the fuck do I know.

  28. This cracks me up!

    Back before I was allowed to dress in my own style, I pulled off all of these styles! Blazers were my go-to addition to an outfit and hats were a major part of my closet.

    So yes, I was always a lesbian. Whether my parents liked it or not.

  29. This article was posted to Jezebel as well, I was just on there reading the comments and feeling super gross. People really didn’t get it, and honestly took it as an opportunity to slam on queers. But then I came back here, and I feel happy and safe once again.

  30. Lots of cute straight hipster girls here wear plaid and are forever confusing me. :'(

    Cute girl I know wears a beanie all year… Again the question is queer or hipster???

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