A picture of a man in a skirt is normally the subject of hilarity and ridicule—typically the result of a stag party gone wrong or a low-budget Rocky Horror Picture Show production. But there are an increasing number of men who have decided to forego the laughter and don a skirt in the name of high fashion. We spoke to a fashion student who has taken to wearing women’s clothes simply because they’re comfortable. He talks about gender-based double standards, and why everyone should support men wishing to wear skirts.
Recently I plucked up the courage to occasionally wear women’s clothes, or perhaps what you might deem women’s clothes. It’s something I’ve thought about for a while. I always thought it was unfair that women can wear anything they like, yet men’s fashion is very restricted, and honestly often boring. In the interest of equality I should be allowed to wear what I like.
Let’s get things straight, starting with me. I am not gay, nor a cross-dresser, and I don’t get any sexual satisfaction from wearing a skirt. The fact that I have to explain all that already shows how closed-minded people typically are when it comes to men’s clothes. As a fashion student, I enjoy clothes. Clothes are a form of self-expression, and everyone is expressing themselves in their own way with clothes. How we present ourselves is an important part of who we are. And I am for equal opportunity.
Honestly, some days it’s just more comfortable to wear a skirt. I find trousers to be restrictive. So I don’t see why my sexuality must be questioned because I opted to wear something comfortable that day. Clothes don’t have a sexual orientation, they’re just a bit of material. In fact, it’s ridiculous to assume that a guy that dresses in a skirt or heels is gay. None of my gay friends, and no gay guys I have met, like to wear or want to wear women’s clothing. Gender and sexuality are distinct animal traits and should not be confused with each other.
As for the cross-dressing thing, I am not in any way attempting to look like a woman. I am still masculine when I wear a skirt. Not all men must be beer-swilling, football watching thugs. There are many points along the spectrum of gender. After all, it’s just a social construction, meaning we can always mold it as we see fit. Variety is the spice of life, is it not?
For some guys it’s fashion that prompts them to don a skirt. Skirts for men have been making their way onto the catwalk recently thanks to the likes of Marc Jacobs and Alexander McQueen. Many of them are stylized variations on the Scottish kilt, a widely accepted manly skirt, but some have been pushing boundaries more and adding increasing degrees of femininity. This long-overdue variety is much welcomed by male fashionistas, who have been waiting for something new to break the mould. And whatever has been on the catwalks slowly trickles down to the mainstream shops. Hopefully the sight of a man in a skirt will become more common and eventually accepted.
Women should most definitely be on board with this move towards clothing equality. This is probably the only topic where it seems they have the upper hand, because you ladies can wear what you like. Men in skirts are ridiculed and harassed because they are assumed to be feminine and to be feminine is to be weak. If it became acceptable for men to wear feminine clothing it could challenge the archetype of female weakness. Ladies really ought to high-five any guy they see out in a skirt, rather than laugh at him.
As for the other men, all I can suggest is give it a go. Samoans and Scots have been doing it for hundreds of years, so there’s got to be something to it. Whether a guy is making a fashion statement and pushing social boundaries, or it’s just a question of comfort and keeping me warm—like my tights—there really shouldn’t be a problem either way.