(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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.