Always In Lesbian Style: Top 10 Cold Shoulder Tops

It seems like everywhere I turn these days people are clowning on cold shoulder tops. Why, just this week Heather and Jessica over at Go Fug Yourself said “I don’t know that I think the cold-shoulder look is that flattering. It makes people look slouchy.” Elle says they’ve reached “peak fatigue” with cold shoulder tops. Even The Toast co-founder Nicole Cliffe had a go, saying that “this cold shoulder top nonsense has gone on long enough.” Call me old fashioned but I don’t think cold shoulder tops will ever go out of style. In fact, here are the top ten cold shoulder tops to remind you why they’re always in, no matter the season.

10. Alex Vause

9. Delphine Cormier

8. Kalinda Sharma

7. Kristen Stewart

6. Santana Lopez

5. Sameen Shaw

4. Annalise Keating

3. H.G. Wells

2. Bette Porter

1. Carol Aird

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Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Heather has written 1718 articles for us.


  1. Thoughts:

    1. By strict definition I’m sure that Kalinda should be #1 for this, also I feel like at least 3 1/2 seasons-worth of Shane should factor somewhere.

    2. I appreciate this extreme gay-ification of an otherwise tedious straight take and think I would actually read style pieces if they were all like this.

  2. Yet another reason it’s great to be gay. What an unexpectedly wonderful turn this took! Love it, Heather!

  3. I’ve just created an account (after 2 years of lurking) to applaud you for making my day. This made me laugh so hard in Classic that my Latin prof flinched and overpronounced “facio”, sending the whole crowds into a gigglefit. Thank you!???

  4. I went through such a journey with this post. From thinking Heather wrote a fashion piece to thinking the internet was talking in lesbian terms I had never heard, I was amused at every wrong turn, then laughing hysterically by the time I landed in the joke. Truly a work of art.

    Also I would like to stand in defense of the clothing version of cold shoulder tops.

    • (An image of Emily Fields, another lesbian in favor of these tops, is supposed to be attached to this comment, but as anyone who has ever seen me attempt to comment on the Comments Awards posts knows, I am inexplicably incapable of successfully embedding an image in the comments. And this is a comment on a comment to comment on not being able to comment with a picture in my comment. Comment.)

      • Emily Fields might be the ultimate cold shoulder top. I think, looking back, she hated everyone she ever dated.

        • I always saw Emily as more of a bottom, which, if we’re following the cutout pattern here, makes her…assless chaps aka a cold bottom?

  5. Well, this was perfect. And do I see a “cold shoulder top” pin in our Autostraddle Store futures?

    • FTR, I say “pin” and not “shirt” because while I would totally allow one type of cold shoulder top on my body, I would absolutely not allow the other type.

  6. JUST when I think I’ve read the best piece on this site, you surprise me with this. So delightful.

  7. picture: me, a blush creeping up my face as i scroll through this list, realizing that “cold-shoulder top” is EXACTLY my type

  8. OK sure this was hilarious but I was really hoping for nine more pictures of KStew’s oddly sexual shoulders and now I feel kinda betrayed. And horny.

  9. Ha, I love this so much. At first I was like, they put the wrong pictures with this article, and then I was oh….ohhhhh I get it :D

  10. My girlfriend sent me a screenshot of the link to this article a couple of days ago, captioned “autostraddle have betrayed us”. I have only just actually opened/read this article via the comment awards. Reminding myself to click through those clickbait titles. Heather Hogan you rogue, you.

  11. Oh nothing, just Regina Mills, cold shoulder top, WEARING A COLD SHOULDER TOP on this past week’s episode.

    • …Well, my first attempt at posting an image appears not to have worked. But trust me, it’s worth checking out. AND IT’S A FLANNEL, NO LESS.

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