Why do men never wear dresses or skirts? Why do men always wear pants? And women get to choose? It seems to be a cultural norm in most human societies. Perhaps pants facilitate movement of the legs. I can understand how pants are useful for jobs like construction. Are men anatomically “suited” to wearing pant? Is there some gene that predisposes human men to decorate themselves a certain way, different from women? What about other cultures’ acceptance of certain skirt like outfits, like kilts? (That link has some hilarious photos revealing the limitations, or one could say, overexposure, of kilts. Beware.) Or what about Dhoti’s from India? Or perhaps sarongs from Indonesia? (I found this cute site with the proper way to tie a sarong, and some fun suggestions for this versatile skirt)
Perhaps men haven’t found the right designer to accentuate the leaner lines of a man’s body. Men’s bodies are shaped differently, with narrower hips. I’m sure if the interest were there, a designer would accommodate. I seem to remember some trendy version of kilts showing up on fashion runways for a few years, but it never caught on. Here’s a site where skirts for men are sold. Men in Skirts.
I have worn dresses and skirts. I once found a $50 bill in my dresser drawer, and decided to do something out of the ordinary. I went out and bought a black sweater dress. I am very tall, slim, with no hips, no chest, and pretty broad shoulders. I had a female friend in my orchestra who liked to wear tuxes to work. She was straight, and very fun and cool. She looked great in a tux. I looked pretty good in the dress. We decided to gender bend a little.
So we decked out in the opposite sex outfits, me in my dress (no makeup, just a man in a dress) and her in her tux (with long flowing hair and big boobs) And, on New Year’s Eve we joined the masses of wealthy, upper class revelers at the Kennedy Center. We waltzed (I can’t remember who led) through the grandiose atrium hallway, floating across the royal red carpet, the crowd parting magically before us. We had a blast. (However, my PMS ruined the mood and I slapped her for looking at another woman. Or was it a man? No, actually the dress constricted my movement, and prevented me from doing my finale, a full split at the end of the dance.) In fact, nothing dramatic happened. We just had fun, and lots of champagne.
Another time I wore a skirt with a T-shirt and very large hiking boots to a dance bar in DC. I danced my ass off. It was comfortable and freeing. Though I still didn’t do splits. I’d skip the boots next time around, though. I had blisters for days.
At other times I’ve worn loose skirts. Now that’s comfortable!! Especially with no underwear in the middle of summer. AHHHH! (No problem with the splits, either.) I prefer those ubiquitous Indian wrap around skirts. They come in a fun variety of rich patterns and colors. And one size fits all. Never bunch up in the crotch.
I’ve been to a couple of Faerie gatherings, where men wear anything they want, or nothing at all. Some faeries wore 2 or 3 different dresses a day. Like a mood ring, only with dresses to express the mood. At first it was almost offensive that men, sometimes fat and hairy men, would prance around in wedding dresses. I was intimidated by their audacious freedom. I was paralyzed by my own judgments of them, and the implied judgments of myself. “I would never do something so, so…” So what? Free? Random? Different? But after meeting several of them, who usually turned out to be articulate and sensible men, I realized I was the one with the problem. I met doctors and lawyers who just wanted to let their hair down, so to speak. Soon I was enjoying every rule shredding moment, sifting the bogus chaff from the real seed, the playful core of my self. I didn’t wear any wedding dresses, but then again, I didn’t come with my own wardrobe, either.
Except those times, I’ve almost never ventured away from pants. I feel it would go against the accepted behavior for men. My rebellious days are over. It would attract too much attention. It would be considered weird, freaky, comical. What a shame.
I imagine a society where difference is really accepted. Where I can swish around in a park on a summer day wearing a loose skirt and a T-shirt and perhaps see someone else doing the same.
Dresses are comfortable, and freeing, both for the body and the spirit. I don’t think women should be the only ones with that freedom (or choice of fabulous wardrobe elements).