He’s in Fashion: Men in Skirts

Posted by – October 26, 2009

It’s not always the male-bodied people who crossdress or who are transgender that wear skirts; sometimes guys who identify as guys do. Sometimes even models do.

At Skirt Cafe (www.skirtcafe.org), skirt-minded men and people of other genders get together to talk about hemlines. As Bob explains:

At SkirtCafe, we are dedicated to the idea of “Fashion Freedom” for men. The basic idea is… if you want to wear a skirt, just do it; now you’re a man wearing a skirt. Men might want to wear skirts for many reasons. Some guys just like to be different, some want comfort, some want to look and feel beautiful, some have experienced gender dysphoria in one way or another. But whatever the reason, we are committed to the idea that we can just do it, as a man wearing a skirt.

We don’t need to go through elaborate makeup routines, or emulate a stilted notion of femininity, or consider changing our body through strong drugs and surgery, or orient our lives around our fashion choice, or call ourselves “Suzi” for the evening, or hide from everyone we know. There is no closet, and no secrets. Unlike the CD community, we really are no different from the woman who decides to wear a buttondown, described in your introduction. It’s just a fashion choice.

We have demonstrated, again and again, that a guy wearing a skirt in public is no big deal — a “non event.” We’ve experienced little or no rejection or discrimination, and we don’t bother much to hide our identity or fashion choice from the world.

Over at New Male Fashion, the blogger asks:

Wouldn’t it be likewise fair for us males in need of displaying our creativity, sense of style, and flare, who enjoy keeping in touch with our “feminine side”, to have the freedom to adopt styles, colours, and garments that were once considered too “feminine”?

Public opinion is moving tardily but steadily in that direction. Designers come up with innovations and creativity in their masculine lines, as opposed to the dullness and uniformity that has been so far the main feature of male garments. New proffers include not only more daring colours and designs, but also male skirts, high heels, dresses, and other garments that used to be kept at the other side of the aisle.

A “New Male” is under construction. Hopefully, a more balanced, understanding, sensitive, creative male.

The statement is beautifully underlined by the photo of the coy “new male” model that accompanies this post, & there’s a lot more like them there, including clothes by Westwood, Pugh, and Baratashvili.

(Ana de Gregorio styled by Ash Stymest, photographed by JM Ferrater.)

2 Comments on He’s in Fashion: Men in Skirts

  1. Jude says:

    I dunno, that second paragraph seems to shit all over anyone who might call themselves trans. “…elaborate makeup routines…stilted notion of femininity….strong drugs and surgery….orient our lives around our fashion choice….call ourselves “Suzi” for the evening…hide from everyone we know….closet….secrets.” And apparently, the CD community is “different from the woman who decides to wear a buttondown”

    I think a simple “we’re not trans” seems like it might have sufficed.

    Reading this, I’d probably find “men not in skirts” to be a more open minded and sympatico when it comes to accepting my own choices.

  2. nathalie says:

    It’s true, I know a lot of guys who’d like to wear garments traditionally associated with women but they’re just scared to do it because they are worried they’ll be labelled as transvestites. Whether that’s a helpful attitude towards transgender people as a whole or not, their point is that they don’t see themselves as transgender, but just as guys who’d like to wear a particular item as a fashion choice. So really, they don’t have to be concerned about how transgender people feel about it; they have enough problems of their own trying to be accepted wearing a skirt;)

    I suspect that the over-enthusiastically strong rejection of anything which seems to be transvestite is down to an uneasiness about being labelled something they don’t feel they are. They’re quite happy being guys.

    It puts me in mind of the “Men in Skirts” exhibition a few years back, and also of scene kid and flogger (foto-blogger) fashions I’ve seen recently ((e.g. Izzy Hilton, Andre J., Jean Paul Paula). As far as I’m aware, they don’t identify as transgender, even though the look sometimes LOOKS like trans. Its seems to me to be about the fashion statement, liking female styles, the labels, and wearing just whatever you want to. A quick look on Lookbook also shows a fair number of guys experimenting with female styles and clothing. It’s interesting, and its fun too!

    I also remember Grayson Perry doing a programme here in the UK on Channel 4 a while back when he noted younger generations of kids who might traditionally be labelled transgender, discarding ‘traditional’ trans identities and labels. That’s not to neccesarily suggest transgender identity is bad or less worthy or whatever; they just don’t want those labels. It would be interesting to find out why they reject them.

    In my own experience, I’ve never found fashionistas to be really taken on by anything which suggested transvestism (as distinct from mixing gender cues in clothing) and I put it down to either general fashion snobbishness and elitism. But this is what fashion is like, isn’t it? The model Martin Cohn was in a runway show a few weeks back modelling a dress in Elise Overland’s SS10 show. It prompted several humourous conversations online as to whether it was taking crossdressing toooo far…I guess fashion is concerned about one thing and transgender, another. To each their own, as they say.

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