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I didn’t imagine what a burning question this is when starting to browse the web for some material for this blog: I have come across skirt wearing men’s forums and discussion groups; exhibitions in London’s Victoria and Albert Museum and New York’s Metropolitan Museum that have explored this topic; and a variety of designers who have dedicated themselves to design men skirts and similar attire. Yet, apparently to little avail. Regression in male’s freedom to dress came with the early Victorian period. Bright colours and luxurious fabrics were replaced by sober dark coloured suits and plain shirts, which dominate most male wardrobes ever since. It seems, much to the anger and frustration of many men who would like to enjoy the same comfort, versatility and variety as their female counterparts others like to redefine established gender roles or simply end what they call “trouser tyranny.”

The answer of Star Trek Next Generation Designers was the “Skant” a short sleeved top with attached skirt which establishes “the total equality of the sexes presumed to exist in the 24th century.” Mind you, in many parts of the world outside the west, it is common to see men in skirt or dress like clothes such as caftans, djellabahs, or sarongs; most famous in Europe, are kilt-wearing Scots. Yet, efforts by various fashion designers such as Jean-Paul Gaultier, Giorgio Armani, John Galliano, Kenzo, Rei Kawakubo, and Yohji Yamamoto, in the 20th and 21st century to make the men’s skirt street fashion seem not to have made an impact neither has it become more fashionable, nor have we become more tolerant: Male skirts reappearing on New York’s cat walks this July and photos posted by the Sartorialist (excellent fashion blog) received comments such as "it’s just not right…unless, of course, it’s a kilt….. " or “we can’t get past the fact that they’re men wearing skirts, and something about that trend just doesn’t look or feel right.” Yet, some “absolutely love men in skirts.”

BurdaStyle members whether caftans, sarongs, your own skirts or the Start Trek skant serve as inspiration I challenge you to brighten up and diversify the wardrobes of your male partners and friends! You could start off by sewing a modern kilt using instead of the traditional Scottish Tartan patterns, other materials such as leather, or denim.

11 Comments

  • Missing

    May 9, 2010, 03.59 AMby dhandz02

    I know this post is rather old, but I want to include my input. I would love to wear skirts. The lack of variety in men’s clothing drives me crazy.

    Like gedwoods I have had male friends comment on their uncomfortableness when I am wearing biking tights, I am sure that if I wore a kilt or any skirt like clothing many would frown even more. At some point once I make a kilt and/or a sarong I will wear it around in public.

    The fact that so many men feel uncomfortable with anything different just means that they are not comfortable with themselves. Stand up men and wear a skirt, make-up, or whatever else you want to. Ignore what others say and you will be fine, otherwise just be another Lemming.

  • Missing

    Jan 27, 2009, 02.48 AMby mipi

    Do we really need trousers to feel masculine, or prove to be? It’s all about our western culture. Nothing more.

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    Oct 11, 2008, 05.46 AMby annika

    Years ago I spent some time in Samoa. The polynesian people wear something like a sarong, but in Samoa they call it “ie lavalava”. But on formal occasions the men wear a “skirt”, a special masculine model made in suiting fabric, with a shirt and tie.

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    Oct 10, 2008, 11.31 AMby ch3rryd3b

    maybe its because im scottish and its part of our history but i LOVE a man in a kilt!!!

  • Newyears_eve_2012_002_large

    Oct 10, 2008, 09.45 AMby krunamagiar

    yup..yup… Sarong is very Indonesian. Some part of Indonesia such Kalimantan where they even speak Malay very similar to Malaysian- they wear something like THIS for special occasion or tradisional ceremony.

  • Missing

    Oct 10, 2008, 03.11 AMby alwaysautumn

    Guess it’s the same old problem, girls can play with action men but boys can’t play with Barbie (as an action man loving girl I know it isn’t that simple) My boyfriend will happily steal my skirts but would never walk around the street in them. In his case it’s a lack of confidence to be seen by people doing something different. In one of the least diverse counties in the UK his long hair gets enough stares.

    I wonder what his reaction would be to me making him his own skirt? I’m going to have to bring this up as soon as I get home.

  • Photoge01_large

    Oct 9, 2008, 07.35 PMby gedwoods

    From a masculine perspective, the issue of skirts is rather complex. Although it seems like they should be “just clothing”, they are not. They are very powerful statements of identity – as is the case with all elements of fashion. And these issues run very deep, our gender identity is one of the strongest forms of identity that we carry with us.

    As a young man, I experimented with dress codes quite a bit. I wore skirts in public and among friends. While many women approached me favorably and encouraged me, other men were extremely perturbed by the practice. I had (masculine) friends who quietly took me to one side and told me that the practice made them (!) feel very uncomfortable. At the time I found this reprehensible, but I’ve come to recognize that the relationship between dress code and gender identity is not so easy to tamper with, and that not all the reasons for this are to be viewed with disfavour.

    Today, a “progressive social view” tends to view men as either “like women only more masculine”, or as at the root of much of the violence in our society – that is, the norm that defines what it is to be human has come to be women, not men… This leaves men in a rather odd position, and one that is not very comfortable – no doubt akin to what women experienced for many years (or centuries), but “two wrongs don’t make a right”. I think that a certain “retreat” by men into conservative clothing choices that mark a clear gender difference has been a result of this change in how we view men, and that until we begin to recognize the positive value of men, not just as “tender” but also as “powerful” and “dangerous” in regenerative ways, different from women, this is unlikely to change… I know this viewpoint is an odd one to put out on a “do-it-yourself” sewing site, and likely to raise a certain amount of controversy, but I would caution forum participants from this idea that men wearing skirts is a minor change in attitude… I think the issue is much more serious than that.

  • Emilykate_large

    Oct 9, 2008, 06.01 PMby emilykate

    Heheheheh the kilt will be the gateway drug and then they’ll just crave MORE SKIRTS MORE SKIRTS!

  • Missing

    Oct 9, 2008, 04.13 PMby rasita

    The utilikilts are great things. I think they make the man still feel ‘macho/masculine’ while wearing a ‘skirt’. They even have a sleep skirt for men (I haven’t convinced my hubby yet that they are a good idea). I made my own ‘utilikilt’ for my husband a few years ago. He loves it and it wasn’t too difficult, just time consuming. I think skirts would be a great idea (especially if they had a modesty flap for those men who like to sit with their legs wide apart) and would gain in popularity if they were seen more often on TV and in the shops.

  • Spiderlilyspats11_90x90pix_large

    Oct 9, 2008, 03.04 PMby spiderlily

    I think emilykate is right, the kilt would be an easier entry for those who are timid about men in skirts. I don’t see the big deal with men in skirts. It’s just clothing. This reminds me of the Seattle based company Utilikilts I saw a lot of men wearing them when I lived there. Now I am in the midwest outside of Chicago and I don’t think I would see any man here wear one.

  • Emilykate_large

    Oct 9, 2008, 02.25 PMby emilykate

    I think it we start with a kilt push and then let that kinda become ‘normal’, THEN later the scope will open up a bit more for other types of skirts for guys.

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