Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Winter Outerwear Essentials for the Discerning Butch

It’s getting chilly outside, homos. While an electric blanket and cuddle buddy can keep you toasty indoors, you’ll need something equally warm to battle your daily commutes and date nights and the trek to queer karaoke on Fridays.

Remember: Winter outerwear is an investment. While I’d like to say that we can buy all of our wardrobe essentials at H&M and Forever21 and expect them to do the job, such is not the case. In the world of outerwear, the pricetag often hints at the length of time the item will last, and its efficiency in performing its duties. Being warm in the winter isn’t just a convenience – it’s something that will keep you healthier and happier, and while a quality parka or peacoat might take more out of your budget, it’s a necessary purchase. Make the investment.

This guide has been designed on a scale of winter conditions, from warmest to coldest. If you live in warmer weather where you’ll only need to protect from the occasional chill, you probably need jackets from the beginning of the list. If you live in a place akin to the one I grew up and require something to cross a dangerous frozen tundra formerly known as your driveway, you’ll need the tougher gear.

As is my family’s motto, “If you’re cold, it’s your own damn fault!”

Mild to Chilly

Lined Denim Jacket

Wear it over flannel and keep a pack of American Spirits in the front pocket if you want to be my twin.

Varsity Jacket

Pretend you were a high school athlete, channel your inner teen pop star, or just look really sharp.

Chilly to Shiver-Inducing


Peacoats are damn classy, so they’re nice enough to wear to work or out to dinner. Or you could wear nothing but sparkly gold underwear underneath and wear it to your queer poledancing class.

Toggle Jacket

Ahoy, sailors. It’s nautical. It’s versatile. It’s got big toggle things on it for girls to busy their hands with when you’re kissing in a sudden flurry.

Shiver-Inducing to Damn!


Will keep you warmer than a bottle of whiskey and a jacuzzi. Note: don’t mix whiskey and jacuzzi.

Down Jacket

Look puffy, feel warm. All the ladies will want to touch your marshmallow-like exterior.

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Full-time writer, part-time lover, freelancing in fancy cheese and cider.

Kate has written 130 articles for us.


  1. It’s true. I am always tempted to touch women in puffies. Also, peacoats are always dapper and sexy!
    I like the toggles idea too… flurry kissing and toggle-touching sure sounds like something to keep me warm!

  2. OMG OK so i have owned a variation of most of these before but oh my god if i had a varsity jacket i’d be in such a rad bromance with drake / he’d officially be my style icon and i really hope someone can validate this belief by finding me one and procuring it for me. that is all.


    I’ll be praying to the lesbian gods that I find quality jackets at all the thrift stores. I’m using a hand-me-down from my uncle and it’s fabulous in a “He thought he was Shaft” but I *need* something else.

  4. I think peacoats look good on anybody. They can really transform a basic T & jeans combo….especially the shorter bright colored ones. I love them….and they’ll never go out of style.

  5. It’s been an average of 5 degrees the last week, and it’s gonna continue. I’m still using my peacoat, but I’m considering bringing out some heavier shit to deal with this serious cold. Maybe even buying a new jacket. I’m such a jacket slut. I just love jackets!!

  6. My girlfriend wore a varsity jacket on our first date. It was as close to love at first sight as I’ve ever come.

    • Except it doesn’t say the Guess Jeans part above the logo… Less in your face about being ballin ;)

  7. every winter i get really excited about peacoats, until i remember they’re made of wool AND GUESS WHAT I AM ALLERGIC TO

    • Good luck finding a girl wearing a peacoat in Syd in this weather! Maybe next week….its going to get as cold as 22 degrees.

  8. Also GQ has taught me recently that if you’re going with a pea coat type situation, right now longer cuts are “in” (cut to mid-thigh or above knee), double-breasted is in (and hey, most of us are double-breasted anyway, right?), and the fit should be snug to show off a nice silhouette. And they class up every outfit. Also flannel scarves are in. So go nuts.

  9. What I’m using right now is an insulated leather jacket with a hoodie underneath, and beneath the hoodie a sweater and a thermal base layer. Because it’s eyelashes-frozen-together cold. It’s so cold that spit freezes before it hits the ground and tinkles gently on the skating rink that was formerly a parking lot. And yet, I still look great, because leather is magic.

    (It’s expensive though. Mine was free because my boss never throws anything away and instead gives old clothing to his employees. Try thrift shops)

    • +5 pts for using a Tina Fey baby quote. I am also a jacket-whore. I have had my eye on a red Banana Republic peacoat forever…one day it will be mine.

  10. My winter jacket makes me insecure cause I don’t even look like a marshmallow, it’s just plain bulky! So these more attractive alternatives are okay for days in Winnipeg when there is no windchill! yay

  11. “It’s got big toggle things on it for girls to busy their hands with when you’re kissing in a sudden flurry.”
    Well, I guess you’ve made me a believer

  12. I’d try buying coats in the summertime/off-season and laying them away for fall/winter and also looking for coats on clearance at the end of the season. (I’ve done that for swimsuits, actually, and I’ve had a lot of success!) I’ve found some cute, warm pea coats and parkas at Ross, Burlington Coat Factory (where I also found some awesome boots) and at the clearance rack at Sports Chalet. If you’re into thrift stores, the Buffalo Exchange, Goodwill and Out of the Closet (my personal favorite) are also great!

    + in case you haven’t heard of the awesomeness that is OTC:

    • Sorry non-Californians…didn’t realize that most of the OTC thrift stores are either in southern CA or in the Bay Area. There’s a couple in Florida, one in Brooklyn and one in Amsterdam, though!

  13. I love the toggle jackets but when your fingers get too cold you can’t undo them easily…gotta find some help with that! Maybe that’s the trick.

  14. no no no no
    dont tell cute butch girls not to shop at forever 21 for wintry things
    please come into forever
    i like looking at you while im working

  15. Got a new winter coat a few weeks ago. New peacoat. I love it. :) Now if the weather will cool off enough so I can wear it more regularly. Been a weird warm spell where I’m at, but I know when January hits it will finally be cold enough.

  16. After almost a foot of snow and below zero windchill temps this past weekend (yay Minneapolis!), I’ve quickly realized I need to give in and get a REAL coat (that parka looks amazing). It gets old getting into the office and taking off my jacket AND one or two sweatshirts and throwing them into a pile under my desk haha!

    • Oh sweetie, you need a real coat and some kind of hat situation. Preferably the kind with earflaps. You will be cute AND warm! Ladies love earflaps, in my estimation. Minneapolis winters are crazy but also awesome–three years ago there was a massive snowstorm on Christmas Eve and I LOVED it. Hiked to the cathedral in St. Paul (couldn’t drive) to listen to the carols with one of my gay boys. It was freezing/blizzarding but so gorgeous.

      ALSO these are the best mittens ever. I have a couple pairs now since I always tend to lose one mitten. Mine have snowflakes!

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