Home Daily Outfits Men’s skirts are a gender-fluid fashion trend worth trying

Men’s skirts are a gender-fluid fashion trend worth trying


The author in Comme des Garçons Black Pleated Dobby Skirt; Maison Margiela Collarless Blazer; Custom Bootleg Spago T-shirt; Solovair 3-Eye Gibson Shoes; Oups Tie Dye Socks

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(Denita Turner/For The Times

This story is part Image Issue 5. “Reverence,”An exploration of L.A.’s beauty. The complete package is available here.

My legs were the first thing that I noticed. My legs have been hairy for most of my adult life. Not “midcentury suburban carpet”Hairy, but definitely on the heavier end of the spectrum. My thighs are thick, but below the knee, my calves, shins and ankles are whatever shape you’d describe as “pleasing to the eye.”I hate showing them off. I am a Californian and have lived in California my entire life. I can wear shorts for survival in the summer months. But, necessity is the only reason I expose my shins to the outside world.

This was my first attempt at trying on a skirt. I was surprised at the sensation I felt in the Dover Street Market’s dressing room in the Arts District. I could feel the air moving! My huge thighs! My first thought was: “What if I step over a subway grate like Marilyn Monroe in that movie you probably haven’t seen?”Then I remembered that I live near Los Angeles and could avoid subway grates for the rest my life, if I so chose.

I eventually purchased a pleasantly slimming, black Comme des Garçons after what felt like hours of combing through rack after rack of avant-garde, expensive, gender-fluid clothing. Buying a type of clothing you’ve never worn before can be an intensely mystifying experience, one where a lack of reference points can make shopping feel similar to cooking a three-course meal in the dark. You have to keep your hands on the wheel.

Trend Analaysis column on man skirts with writer Dave Schilling.

(Denita Turner/For The Times).

I’ve resolved to make the skirt a strictly formal part of my wardrobe, only coming out for evening socializing when the occasion requires a bit of peacocking. If, for some reason, I’m invited to an art gallery opening to offer such scintillating commentary as “Oh, I like that color”Or “The brushwork here is … present,”A skirt will do. It might not be a trip to Ralphs. I’m still trying to find my comfort zone with this new piece of clothing; but the men around L.A. embracing the skirt trend are doing so with even more aplomb.

Do a prolonged dive into fashion journalism in 2021 and chances are good you’ll stumble upon a breathless report declaring that this is finally the moment when cisgender men embrace skirts. Many of them were written in the last few months and are available on GQ.com. In a style landscape devoid of monocultural trends, the cis man’s skirt is both a last best hope for sartorial conformity and a dividing line between tribes.

Even though men have been wearing skirts for centuries, it’s only been in the last few that we decided they’re not allowed to. And those draconian social rules “rules”These are reasons the skirt has become a favored shibboleth in divided times. It is a sign of freedom and adventure for outsiders to see a heterocis man like Harry Styles or Russell Westbrook wearing a Thom Browne or Vivienne Westwood Vivienne Westwood skirt. If you’re Fox News bloviator Laura Ingraham, the men’s skirt is a perfect opportunity to prove how into “traditional gender roles”You are. The men’s skirt can be robbed of context and history. If you really want to, it can be reduced to a talking-point, a trend, or a political statement. It is likely that many people will continue to do this as long as there is attention. But in Los Angeles, where fashion has no rules, the men’s skirt is more than just a talking point. It’s a chance for us to finally grapple with the most crucial question to millions of Angelenos: What does it mean to be beautiful?


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Beauty is a word that culture tends to associate femininity with. Never once have I thought of calling my father. “beautiful.”I know enough male acquaintances and friends who are actors to feel that I could call some of them my own. “beautiful,” but I don’t. It seems intimate to use for any gender identity, but especially for straight, cis men. Beautiful is to be seen by the world. I’m a wolfman with my skirt. Beauty means you’re noticeable and perpetually noticed. You will be photographed. Strangers will be drawn to you. Like in Harry Potter movies, doors will open for you like a magician. Beauty also requires care and maintenance. It’s something to preserve, to cherish and to bitterly cling to. In short, it is the clichéd blessing and curse.

Straight cis men may be reluctant to wear skirts. This is why legacy mall brands like J. Crew aren’t pumping these things out for mass consumption. A skirt can make even a straight man look beautiful. It can be both glamorous and powerful at the same time. It can expose you literally and metaphorically.

This feeling of exposure was something completely new to me and took some getting used to. It wasn’t imaginary subway-grate flashing scenarios that really gave me pause. It was the question about what people would think. Even in Los Angeles, where people are supposed to be tolerant, hate crimes against women and men are commonplace. Every day, the media broadcasts and discusses the reality of prejudice, homophobia, and other malignant aspects in human society. One recent example of this is the Wi Spa protests in Koreatown. A skirt is not the same as wearing drop-crotch trousers or nail polish. It’s more exposure than most cis straight men are used to.

Whatever risk you might perceive — social anxiety, accidentally sitting your bare ass on a chair — are outweighed by the feeling of power that comes from wearing a skirt. My girlfriend admitted that I looked sexier and more tough than she thought. She even said that I looked sexier than she thought. “beautiful.”Perhaps it was the thrill to see me in a different light, with the pleats that make it look like a Kilt, or just the lack fabric separating us. I can’t say for certain, but there’s really nothing else in my closet that makes people notice me as consistently. Sometimes my anxiety can give way to confidence and pride. Paradoxally, my vulnerability makes me feel stronger.

Trend Analaysis column on man skirts with writer Dave Schilling.

(Denita Turner/For The Times).

The thing that keeps straight cis men who aren’t incredibly famous from wearing skirts is fear. But practicing fear is antithetical to seeing beauty; exposure moves us closer to feeling beauty’s texture on our skin. By giving in to beauty in my own life, I’m banishing fear from my brain.

Beauty is not something I was taught to be. But it is the thing that makes life worthwhile. It’s baked into the vibe of Los Angeles: beauty creeping out of the mass of strip malls and popcorn ceilings. Beauty is the thing we crave and what gives value to a place most of us can’t even afford to live in.

Dave Schilling, a writer, humorist, and fashion lover, has had his work published in the New Yorker and Guardian, New York Magazine, GQ, and New York Magazine. He hosts the television show The Schilling Show. “Galaxy Brains” podcast.

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