Style Thief: How to Dress Like Riverdale’s Jughead Jones

(This article has spoilers for the first season of Riverdale.)

There are a number of shows out there with real lesbian characters, and I love a lot of them! What I love less, though, is the depressing tendency for lesbian characters to get killed off, and the rarity of a gay relationship ever being a show’s main romance. That’s why my girlfriend and I play a game when we’re watching TV, which entails pointing at pretty much any character at all and declaring that they are Definitely a Lesbian. What matters the most is their gay vibe — an ineffable quality that has something to do with good hair (bonus points if they have chemistry with another Definitely Lesbian character on the show). Sometimes, in the interest of escapism, it’s fun to just decide that you’re going to deeply identify with a character — even if you’re not really supposed to.

Image via The CW

This brings me to Riverdale’s Jughead. The CW teen drama does not, so far, have any Canon Lesbians in it (although they just confirmed a bi lady character, heck yeah) but I’ve decided that pretty much everyone except Archie is a lesbian, and Jughead is my very favorite. He’s an outsider who loves investigative journalism, conspiracy theories, diners, true crime, and his iconic beanie, the latter of which inspired me to write this personal manifesto. Here’s how to nail Jughead’s classic lesbian look:

Image via The CW

Everyone in this show has certain iconic pieces of clothing and jewelry. Jughead has two: his t-shirt, emblazoned with a mysterious, grungy “S,” and his crown-shaped knit beanie (as a cartoonist I can tell you: it’s just good character design). Pick up a Jughead-inspired beanie here, and a shirt with Jughead’s S on it here (available in many cuts). Alternatively, search sites like RedBubble or Etsy for art that speaks to you.

Image via The CW

As a ’90s kid, I never stopped tying shirts and sweaters around my waist, and I’m glad the ouroboros of fashion has decided that that trend is back. Make like Jughead and tie a big flannel around your waist, paired with a henley shirt.

Image via The CW

Is there a word for when you clip suspenders to your jeans, but then decide you don’t need them to do any actual suspending, so you just let them hang around your waist? I think this is a great casual gay fashion statement. Do it in these.

Image via The CW

For someone who’s homeless for most of Riverdale’s first season, Jughead has a TON of jackets. Flannel with shearling, blue denim with shearling (straight size version here, plus size version here), black denim (straight size version here, plus size version here), a Carhartt jacket — any one of these is great for cool weather wear.

There’s been a lot of writing about how many queer adults are fascinated with high school stories; many of us didn’t get to be our queer selves in school, and shows like Riverdale are a window back. Obviously the show is hyper-stylized, the writing is over the top, and somehow not a single one of these teens has acne. It’s not real high school!

But some of the feelings are real — of things happening for the first time, of friendships and romances that are more important than anything in the world, of choices that feel as important as destiny. I think I love Jughead because he dresses the way I would have liked to in high school (I also would have liked to solve a murder mystery with a cute girl, but I digress). While we wait — and fight — for a better, gayer era of television, I’ll take my representation and my escapism wherever I happen to find it.

Image via The CW

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Molly Ostertag

Molly Knox Ostertag draws comics and plays D&D in fiery Los Angeles. Find her on Twitter @mollyostertag.

Molly has written 1 article for us.


  1. If you’re a knitter, the beanie is a simple & satisfying project, & as a bonus you could be a data point proving the designer wrong for saying “it just looks better on guys!” PS I put my queerdo pin on mine, excellent life choice.

  2. I’ve never watched the show, but judging by the screencaps, I can totally see that Jughead is a Lesbian.

  3. I’ve been telling my brother his haircut and fashion sense is peak lesbian (more so even than me) for a hot minute now and as he looks and dresses just like Sprouse on Riverdale (like it’s uncanny, just my brother is a few shades darker) honestly I feel pretty validated right now thank you


    *heads off to find the matching denim jacket content in unisex/menswear section*

  5. Is being team #jughead going to be like being obsessed with Devon Sawa or Leo for the next generation of pre-out lesbians?

  6. Great article, Molly! :D

    Can someone explain *how* to wear a beanie? This sounds stupid but I can never achieve that artful slump (as modeled by Jughead), with the brim pushed back so a lot of hair is showing. When I attempt to wear beanies like that they fall off the back of my head, or slide forward over my forehead. Are there bobby pins involved? Magic? Pls help me figure out this queer wardrobe staple.

      • I’m not alone! Perhaps, as Riese suggests, we share the same shape of head, and must find an alternate queer-flagging style of hat. :'(

        • I made it my 2016 A-Camp goal to get comfortable in hats, and I had this beanie I really wanted to love, but it would only ever stay in the right place on my head for 5 seconds, so i was CONSTANTLY readjusting it. But in the photos it looks perfect!

    • I think that a lot of regular beanie-wearers are gifted with a specific shape of head. because one size does not fit all the same. some heads lend themselves to certain looks and some do not! we don’t talk enough about how we all have different shapes of head. it’s a major and important issue facing our community

    • A Bobby pin, maybe w/ a crisscrossed second, but not always! Pin at the top of the head where the beanie rests. Magic!

  7. I’m thrilled that I’m not the only one playing the Definitely a Lesbian game! And Jughead is one of my favorite Definite Lesbians!! Can we make this a regular column?

  8. also side note i just watch riverdale assuming everyone is queer, even the parents. is that not correct / have i been doing it wrong?

    • Literally everyone on Riverdale except Archie is queer. At least that’s how I see it *shrug* and as a bi woman I literally want to bang everyone hahah everyone on that show is so hot; the girls, the boys, the parents!

  9. I saw one episode randomly because my roommate was watching it one night, and was on the Levi’s website ordering sherpa trucker jacket by the end of the show.

  10. Okay so I saw this post this morning and was like huh, I should try out that show, and now, exactly 1 snow day later, I have seen the entire first season and I’m in love with Jughead. If anybody finds a knitting pattern for his hat, PLEASE let me know!!

  11. This is amazing. Could you please please please do one for Elio and Oliver from Call Me By Your Name. Although I’m not 100% on board with the whole age situation, I am 100% on board with dressing exactly like them this summer!!! I think gringo wearing mini shorts on a summer vacation in Italy is my new aesthetics and/or sexuality.

  12. I saw a picture of this show somewhere and googled “Is jughead a dude or a lesbian” about 6 hours before I saw this article. I think you’re right: both.

  13. Hey Molly,

    As a person in a lesbian relationship I totally relate to need for escapism and reading characters as lesbian, but as an asexual I really wish, in discussing the queerness of Jughead (even just in style), you addressed his canonical aro/ace erasure in the show first. It hurts a bit to see him now associated (online) with another queer identity when the Jughead character already canonically has one in the comics that was pointedly erased in the Riverdale adaptation. I don’t mean to dissuade you from sharing your personal experiences – I think escapism is a really interesting topic to share and talk about – but Jughead in particular has been a frustrating case of erasure for the ace & aro communities and I wish you would acknowledge that before proceeding with this kind of discussion. Otherwise, it just feels like the article perpetuates that same erasure. I hope you’ll consider this for the future when writing about Jughead, but otherwise, praise for his fashion is so deserved and more lesbians are absolutely needed.

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