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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Males in Skirts and Dresses

John Marine | 4:59 PM | | |
Before becoming a feminine staple, men wore skirts; and I am not talking about just kilts, either. Don't think that males wearing skirts is comical. Some males actually do wear proper skirts comfortably. Some males think skirts shouldn't be feminine-exclusive. Yes- skirts (to some) shouldn't only be worn by females. If a male wants to wear a skirt; society will reject the notion, but fashion will say "go for it, man!" How do you feel about males wearing skirts? Should they wear skirts? This is somewhat of a digest and a discussion regarding males wearing skirts. In fact, I'll even take it a step further- should males wear dresses (and I'm not talking about just drag queens)?

I would like to welcome everyone to my space for fashion- StyleSpace!

--- Males in Skirts: Video Influence ---

This post will begin with some video insight on this topic. Please be sure to view these videos to get some early insight on this topic. You may click on the links to each video if you can't view Flash video. Thank you to the YouTube channels that allowed these videos to be embedded. So these are some video insights on skirts for men:

^ "Jérôme Salomé : men in skirts"

^ "FRANCE 24 Fashion : Fashion: The return of men in skirts?"

Now that you have some video insight, please continue on reading to gain more commentary from me.

--- Males in Skirts: Basic Thoughts ---

Before I begin, let me warn you- you're going to read a lot of "society" in this section. A lot of my early thoughts on this topic relate to that word. You have been warned.

Skirts are free-hanging garments that have become a staple among females. They have been worn by males long before being a key garment for females. The comfort of skirts lies in the fact that you don't have to worry about bottoms hugging up on your crotch to stay secure and comfortable. This loose feeling is what makes skirts an attractive garment to wear. Why don't we look at this issue a bit further and from a few different perspectives?

Preserving Western Society's Perception of Males.

One of the biggest deterrents in skirts and/or dresses becoming trendy for males is in the stereotypical image of males. The Western male's primary image is to be this hunky and strong heterosexual fellow who doesn't wear feminine clothes. He has to be the kind of fellow who only wear men's clothing and does what most "normal" males do. If a male chooses to wear anything usually worn by females, people will look down on this fellow and ridicule him. Males would be accused of crossdressing or accused of being gay just because a male wants to wear feminine clothing.

These reasons are probably the reasons why there are not as many skirts and dresses available for males. People will think that by virtue of a male wearing a skirt or a dress, he is somehow a disgrace to manhood. Heterosexual females would reject being with a male who loves or wants to wear skirts. Some people would think that any male who chooses to wear skirts and/or dresses is somehow causing irreversible damage to manhood, basically saying and believing that males have no business wearing skirts or dresses. Such people think that something as simple as a male wearing a skirt or a dress is somehow more damaging to manhood than issues like domestic violence or being a horrible father to children. So to preserve what society perceives every male should be, items like skirts and dresses are off-limits to males; and any male who chooses to wear skirts or dresses is seen as gay, which in turn damages manhood (according to some people). Which leads me to this next talking point...

Of Males, Skirts/Dresses, and Sexuality.

A male's manhood is often questioned by someone who sees a male wearing any sort of feminine clothing. To make the case for males, skirts were never exclusively feminine- and still aren't. However, what has become a staple in feminine fashion in modern times... is now somehow off-limits for males, even though males have worn skirts all throughout time. Is a female's womanhood questioned when she wears men's clothing? Females and feminine fashion are versatile in an array of respects. That's why I am more comfortable discussing feminine fashion here on StyleSpace. However, many males would argue that if females could get away with wearing masculine clothes, then males should be able to get away with wearing feminine clothes. As we all know- life is not perfect, and not as many people are as forgiving or as considerate. Wearing certain clothes does nothing to impact one's sexuality. It may mean you take on a certain opinion from society based on your sexuality, but it doesn't DEFINE your sexuality just because you wear certain clothes that seem exclusively for one gender.

Skirts/Dresses for Males: Fashion vs. Society

Whereas fashion has its own say, society will say that skirts should be worn by females and only females. So the notion of a male wearing a skirt is either grounds for gossip or ridicule (or both). The only acceptable skirts for males are kilts. Kilts are especially common among Scottish blokes (if I may use "blokes" to diversify my audience). Will there come a time where skirts will be just as acceptable for males as they are for females? And when it comes to skirts, I am not just talking about kilts or anything; but imagine even if males wanted to wear certain feminine skirts. Do you give the green light for a male to wear them if he so chooses?

Society will frown upon the male who chooses to wear feminine or feminine-inspired pieces. I think especially in American society, the perception is that males should all be strong and hunky. There's also the perception that any male who wears a skirt or a dress is perceived as being gay. While it is true that there are certain garments males don't wear, just because he wears a certain garment does not define or alter his sexuality or sexual preference. All it would take is for someone to really convince males that skirts can be just as wearable and as fashionable as any other male fashion pieces. About the only fashion designer who immediately comes to mind for me regarding male skirts is Jean Paul Gautier. What if a young boy wanted to wear a skirt? That's why I don't exclusively use "boy/girl" or "man/woman" in my posts- most of what I discuss pertains to males and females of various ages.

As with the appeal of wearing skirts, one is also subject to some of the less desirable elements of skirts. Among others is the dreaded upskirt fear and feeling covered. Does a male perhaps trade boxers for briefs when wearing a skirt? The most important element of fashion is comfort. If you aren't comfortable in your wardrobe, you won't feel and be confident in your wardrobe. So be sure to take this carefully in any of your outfits.

--- Males in Skirts: What Works? ---

It would be fair to say that any kind of skirt is fair game for males. Anything from denim skirts to any real feminine skirt would obviously be the kinds of skirts males would wear. You could even say that skirts ranging from floor-scraping lengths to mini skirt lengths are also fair game. After all- a skirt is a skirt.

What Is Acceptable for a Male's Skirt?

The most common skirts a male would wear would probably be denim skirts. An acceptable minimum length for a male skirt is just above the knees. I don't think there are too many males who would dare wear a mini skirt (any skirt mid-thigh in length or higher). There may those daring males who would wear a higher-than-normal skirt, but I think the greater majority would be better suited to more airy and comfortable skirts of decent length. Finally, I would not recommend any high-waist skirts for skirt-wearing males.

I think most males would probably want to wear denim skirts that are very loose. Some may even prefer some twill or linen skirts. A few fashionable ones would even wear a few skirts of soft materials like jersey. A concern area would be about wearing certain tight skirts. To put it modestly... (an embarrassing moment) may arise if a male wears certain bottoms of a very silky and soft material, and (it) especially happens if the fellow is sexually aroused wearing certain bottoms. I'm trying to keep this blog as professional and clean as possible- you probably know what I'm trying to talk about!

Skirt Alternatives.

If a male isn't confident about wearing a proper skirt, there are a few alternatives. First off are skorts. A skort has a skirt-like appearance thanks to certain panels or a certain proper skirt look. However, there are shorts underneath to keep the wearer covered. So you are essentially wearing a skirt with attached shorts or bloomers. Skorts are especially common for uniforms and active outfits.

Another alternative is culotte skirts. I am using "culotte skirts" to show that I am referring to culotte pants or skirts- not culotte underwear. Anyhow, culotte skirts are split skirts. This means they have a skirt-like appearance while still being primarily a proper skirt. They are just pants that have skirt-like legs.

If you go to the beach a lot, try a sarong/pareo. The terms vary depending on certain cultures, so that's why I use both sarong and pareo. These are cover-up skirts for the beach. In some nations, like some South Pacific nations, a sarong/pareo is a common bottom for males to wear.

This may hopefully get you males interested in skirts.

--- Should You (Males) Wear a Skirt? ---

All of you males should be able to wear almost whatever you want and feel most comfortable in. In no way do I think skirts are somehow off-limits for males if they so choose to wear them. The only ones who say males shouldn't wear skirts is society. Fashion (as well as art), however, rewards the individual not afraid to wear certain garments and outfits in a chic way. Even if at the expense of being heckled by society and peers, most important of all is the feeling of being comfortable and confident in what you wear. You should be happy regardless that you decided to go with something different from what society considers normal.

So if there are skirts you males would feel comfortable wearing, feel free to wear a skirt in the name of fashion. Express yourself any way you choose.

--- Should You (Males) Wear a Dress? (BONUS!) ---

I told you I'd take this topic a bit further- so should males wear dresses if they choose to? Dresses are absolutely feminine and almost exclusively feminine, but I don't think there are too many dresses that would do for most males what most dresses do for almost any female. A dress has to be every bit as wearable and as comfortable as a skirt. A dress is an all-in-one piece. The top portion and skirt portion both have to be stylish and comfy for a dress to be purely magical to wear. Why do you think females can confidently wear dresses and feel beautiful while in them? It is because they fit and flatter a female's body so much to where wearing them is second nature.

If a male wanted to try wearing dresses, I'd first stay away from any ultra-feminine dresses. A good start would probably be something like a shirtdress. Shirtdresses are essentially long shirts that flow and hang like a dress. They would be a great start. Some people even think that maxi dresses are great to wear for those who don't have bodacious bodies to wear any ultra-feminine dresses. I love maxi dresses, so maxi dresses can be the next step up for the male who wants to wear a dress as part of his wardrobe. If you're more confident and more daring, then surely go for the girly short dresses; or you may even try out a few feminine dresses- like those with deep backs, deep necklines, high slits, etc. Just go with dresses on levels you are most comfortable with.

Would I try wearing a dress since I'm bringing all of this up? No way! I don't have the body or the confidence to even dare try this out. Just because I am talking about males in skirts and dresses doesn't mean I am an advocate for or trying to encourage anything you see here.

There is at least one fellow out there who isn't shy about wearing skirts or dresses. Who is this fellow? Get to know him:

^ "Outfit of the Day: Clubbing!" (if you can't view Flash video)

Okay. Maybe not all males can get away with wearing skirts or dresses without looking the least bit awkward (unlike the person who you just saw in the video); but if you can wear a skirt, try going with wearing a dress if you can wear one. It could just be a regular dress (as opposed to a tight dress like in the above video).

--- Males in Skirts and Dresses: Final Thoughts ---

While I am not calling to action that males should wear skirts or dresses if they choose to, I do tend to believe in fashion freedom. What is mostly stopping certain males from being able to wear skirts or dresses are primarily social stereotypes and certain fashion double standards. For instance, it is okay for a female to wear masculine clothing and menswear pieces; but it is somehow unacceptable by society if a male wants to wear a skirt. People will take something as simple as clothes- one of a number of different essentials to keep us protected and warm- and turn it into some sort of intense debate. There would certainly be a number of females who would detest against the notion of a male wearing skirts and/or dresses.

Would I want to see any of my male friends wearing skirts? If they choose to and feel comfortable wearing them, who am I to stop them or tell them how they should dress and conduct themselves? Fashion is all about being yourself and expressing yourself through the means of fashion. If it means dressing in certain ways different from normal society, then so be it. Fashion rewards the ones who break boundaries and become their own inspirations rather than follow any norms set up by mainstream society.

Perhaps if more fashion designers were willing to take chances trying to make skirts and dresses chic for male, and if more males were open to try wearing skirts and dresses; then maybe males in skirts and/or dresses will be more commonplace and more acceptable. That day may likely never come any time soon. It doesn't make a male gay that he chooses to wear a skirt or a dress. These are just males who want to express themselves and be fashionable. Males probably wouldn't even mind wearing even the most feminine skirts and dresses. It is shameful how one article of clothing that males have worn for ages... is somehow off-limits or comical in today's modern times.

I want to stress again that I am not calling anything to action or not crusading for males to wear skirts or dresses. All I am doing- and all I try to do- is try to offer points and fashion discussions in my own way. Any males who may have enjoyed this blog post and want to wear skirts or dresses- if you want to wear skirts and/or dresses, then it's your call.

--- Cross-Promotion ---

I have created more blog posts on similar topics elsewhere online. To read my other material, you need only take a look at these posts I've created on similar topics:

"Fashion Freedom" (StyleSpace)
^ Do you believe in fashion freedom? This is my post here on StyleSpace regarding fashion freedom.

"Fashion Freedom" (John's Blog Space)
^ This was my original post on "John's Blog Space" regarding fashion freedom.

"Males Wearing Feminine Fashions" (John's Blog Space)
^ This blog post highlights on my thoughts regarding males wearing certain feminine fashions, including skirts.

I hope my posts are to your liking.

So, what are your thoughts on males wearing skirts and/or dresses? Let's get a discussion going! Thank you for reading!

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