We may earn a commission through product links on this page. But we only recommend stuff we love.

Style Thief: Calico Critters Are Lesbian Fashion Icons

A few months ago, I opened a box that was meant to contain garbage bags and found, instead, a Calico Critters* Family Seven-Seater, a British-looking mini-van driving along the oceanside with a bunch of rabbits peeping out the windows. My wife was sure it was haunted and urged me to repackage it immediately and send it back! Neither of us had ever even heard of the Calico Critters, but, according to the lesbian movie canon, idyllic European seaside settings are not fertile ground for goodtime gay fun. I, however, was completely enamored. I wanted to keep the Family Seven-Seater and fill it up with as many Calico Critters as I could get my hands on. A quick Google search revealed SO MANY CRITTERS. Cats and rabbits and bears and otters and giraffes and donkeys and sheep and who even knows what all.

Stacy finally convinced me to send back the Seven-Seater, but Calico Critters were suddenly everywhere. They landed in my TikTok inbox (Thank you, Valerie Anne), and then on my FYP. They popped up in YouTube’s recommended videos. Even my retro video gaming subreddit was suddenly flush with Critters. I knew it was a sign. These Critters were trying to tell me something — but what? And then, one night, as I was drifting off to an ASMR video of a woman gently whispering while stroking the Midnight Cat Critters with a tiny paintbrush, I realized something. These Calico Critter dads were all lesbian fashion icons! I already owned half the clothes and accessories they were wearing, and a quick search of Wildfang revealed near-matches of the other half of their wardrobes.

And so now I am doing what I have been called to do — creating a Style Thief for these legendary Calico Critter fits. You’re very welcome.

* Calico Critters are Sylvanian Families in the UK where they were born, and also in Australia


Billy the Goat, a Gay With a Message

Billy, the mail person of Cloverleaf Corners, is looking sharp in a plaid button-up and navy slacks, with a Timbuk2 — the go-to performance delivery sack of messengers and cycling commuters for three decades — slung over the shoulder.


Bruce the Koala, Your Friendly Neighborhood Plaid Dad

Bruce, the leader of the Cloverleaf Corners Environmental Awareness Society, is ready to save the planet in style with this comfy classic tomboy shirt and short combo.


Kyle the Otter, Sapphic Sea Swag

Kyle the Sea Otter, Cloverleaf Corners’ resident swim teacher, is making a splash in a short-sleeve button-up that pays homage to the magical island of Lesbos, with bold sketches of Sappho and Skala Erressos set against a cerulean backdrop.


Theo the Cat, Bowtie Tabby

Theo doesn’t just look smart in this professorial paraphernalia — with leather belt for added butch confidence! Theo is smart! Everyone in Cloverleaf Corners calls up Theo when they need directions, and Theo is happy to straighten that bow tie and set them on the right path!


Arthur Cuddle Bear, Coverall King

Arthur is the mayor of Cloverleaf Corners, and this outfit says Arthur is ready to get to work. The Essential Overall has SIX pockets, and various straps that can double as a tool belt. The bow tie and button-up elevate this everyday workwear into something a little more fancy.


Harlin Hopscotch Rabbit, Mr. Peter Tartantail

Harlin is an event planner who bakes bread for fun. Whether prepping for a wedding at the Sweet Raspberry Home or kneading the way to a spot in the Great British Bake Off tent, Harlin’s hopscotch fit is both fun and functional, with pops of electric color!

Before you go! 99.9% of our readers don't support Autostraddle. Still, it takes funding to keep this indie queer publication running every day. And the majority of our funding comes from readers like you. That's less than 1% of our readers who keep Autostraddle around for EVERYBODY. Will you join them?

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, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter, and Instagram.

Heather has written 1221 articles for us.

12 Comments

  1. I was so relieved when I got to the disclaimer that these WERE just Sylvanian families I thought I was losing my mind. I love these dudes! Mine were like multiple couples with DOZENS of adopted non-species marched babies between them because the babies could be bought individually and were the most affordable for my pocket money. I think I myself am a Harlin Hopscotch (new quiz idea?)

    • Same! Long moment of confusion that someone had ripped off Sylvanian Families/I had remembered my own childhood incorrectly then huge relief…

      There’s an entire shop that is only and all Sylvanian Families not too far from mine that I came upon all unexpected taking a walk one Sunday – it was so much fun peering in the window and sending overexcited texts to my sister.

  2. Our daughter wanted Calico Critters families for her 5th birthday. We bought two, swapped the hedgehog mom’s and cat dad’s clothes, carefully placed them back in the packaging, and voila, two gay-ass Calico Critters families.

Contribute to the conversation...

Yay! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated by the guidelines laid out in our comment policy. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation and thanks for stopping by!