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The Sefer HaChinuch #564 writes that it’s forbidden for a woman to wear men’s clothing.

  1. If it’s cold outside, is a woman allowed to wear a man’s coat to keep warm?

  2. If #1 is a problem, are any distinctions made that would allow a woman to wear her husband’s coat while her husband is with her?

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  • 3
    Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/22765
    – Fred
    Commented Dec 23, 2014 at 1:28
  • 2
    See Taz (YD 182:4), who permits a woman to wear a man's clothing due to the cold or the elements, and writes, "This appears obvious to me."
    – Fred
    Commented Dec 23, 2014 at 1:32
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    Gavriel Is the coat distinctively men's or is it just a labeled that way but looks about the same?
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 23, 2014 at 3:44
  • @Double AA is this a dupe?
    – Seth J
    Commented Dec 23, 2014 at 16:09
  • @DoubleAA It's clearly a mens coat.
    – Gavriel
    Commented Dec 23, 2014 at 17:19

3 Answers 3

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From Rav Aviner's tshuvot (text)

Wearing Wife's Jacket in the Cold

Q: Is it permissible for a husband to wear his wife's jacket if he is cold, or is it forbidden on account of "Lo Yilbash" (the prohibition of cross-dressing)? And what about visa-versa?

A: It is permissible, since the purpose is not to wear it but simply to warm up (Shut Yabia Omer 6:14).

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  • It's a long tshuva but has a lot of interesting halachos about shmoles beged isha
    – sam
    Commented Dec 23, 2014 at 16:12
  • This is not germane to the discussion but I wonder whether quoting Rav Aviner or just simply the Shut Yabia Omer would make a batter answer.
    – Gavriel
    Commented Dec 23, 2014 at 18:50
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    @Gavriel citing R' Aviner shows one more opinion that held that position was conclusive. Commented Dec 23, 2014 at 19:11
  • I edited this answer, assuming this was a direct quote. If I'm wrong, fix it, by all means. (+1)
    – MTL
    Commented Dec 23, 2014 at 19:54
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The prohibition comes from Devarim 22:5, for which Rashi provides commentary as follows. Please click on the image to view "full screen" mode.

Devarim 22:5

Rashi is citing from the relevant section of the Babylonian Talmud (b. Nazir 8:1a, II.4.E [Folio 59A]), which appears as follows. Please click on the image to view "full screen" mode.

Babylonian Talmud, Nazir 8:1a

The yellow highlighted area indicates that the intent is the issue in addition to the concomitant public perception. Is there apparent intent for the woman to dress like a man, or a man like a woman?

This citation from the Talmud is also interesting because the stipulation includes that women cannot be soldiers (please note last paragraph where Jacob Neuser mistranslated the word "wore," which should be "war").

REFERENCE:
Neusner, Jacob (2011). The Babylonian Talmud: A Translation and Commentary. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, pp. 222-223.

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  • "A man should not wear woman's makeup" -- what about actors? Or do all of these basically mean "don't cross-dress"?
    – galois
    Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 14:28
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Igros Moshe (OC IV, 75 s.k. 3) says that the halacha follows the taz, and it is indeed permitted to wear a man's garment to protect from the cold.

However, the Chochmas Adam, who is widely considered the authoritative decisor in aspects of Yoreh Deah, states (CA 90, 3, and nishmas adam there) that there are two distinct prohibitions.

If a woman wants to wear a man's garment, it is forbidden, regardless of why she wants to wear it.

If she wants to perform an action which only men do, she is permitted to do so if she has a good reason, since she does not intend to use it to look nice or to imitate a man. Therefore, she is permitted to use a man's walking stick so she won't fall, but not if she wants it to look nice. A man is permitted to shave hair which women usually shave, if he does so to avoid skin irritation in that area.

This hinges on how to understand the prohibition on a woman to wear weaponry (gemara nazir 59); see their logic in the sources cited.

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  • What do you think of the Bach on SA YD 182 iirc 5. (It's famous, but I can't look up now, when I get to my pc)
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Apr 18 at 17:16
  • It's a machlokes. the taz in shulchan aruch there sides with bach (see shach there too), but that issue with the weaponry is a strong question on that tzad. Commented Apr 19 at 12:43

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