Men In Skirts

Feb 16

And you wonder why men don’t wear skirts?

Awhile back, there was a show called “Bravehearts:
Men in Skirts” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
As the piece in the Times pointed out, this fashion is really nothing new. Besides kilts, we’ve already seen caftans,saris, sarongs and various other forms of
skirts being worn by guys through the ages.

But could this be a trend in today’s world? Picking right up on this was a CNN piece by Jeanne Most, who used phrases like “skirting the issue” (I love Ms.Most), and showed a clip of Jean Paul Gaultier, who said something about skirts freeing the legs and being less restricting. Plus, it’s so fashion forward and we get to look at all those muscular thighs.

Well, this is all fun on that hot young model on the runway, but if you’re looking for an actual trend for actual men, don’t hold your breath. It will never happen and here’s how I know.

About two weeks ago, I rediscovered my legs. I had bought a jacket that actually fit, then found that there was a matching skirt. With a leather strip and a sort of ruffle on the bottom. This also fit, so I thought, well, what the hell. This is not the first skirt I’ve bought in the last decade, but this time, I actually wore it. (I recently donated a suit to the New York City Opera Thrift Shop with a somewhat worn jacket, very worn pants and a totally new, price tag attached, skirt. You get the picture.)

Here’s the thing. When you wear something feminine that you think looks good on you, you behave in a more feminine way (think tilting of the head, tossing of the hair, crossing of the legs), and you act as if you look good, which, in turn, makes you look better, and you have more fun, and like that.

If you haven’t worn a skirt in years, and you can pull it off, you get a lot of positive attention, and you want to repeat the experience. So, when you’re off to meet an old friend for a drink at the National Arts Club (by coincidence or not, scene of the first leg revealing episode), you want to wear the very same outfit

You always meet different people at the club, and you could (and I did) wear the same black pantsuit for an entire season without anyone noticing. Not this year though. Now I have the . . .skirt!!

But here’s the rub. It was raining. Not a drizzle, not a little, but a downpour, and the club is a five to ten minute walk away. Great on a good night, but long enough to get completely soaked on a night like this. And even if I could get a taxi going there (oh vanity thy name is woman in a skirt), it’s unlikely I could get one coming back. At that point, I wouldn’t mind my legs getting wet, but it would ruin the shoes. Because, you see, with a skirt, you have to pay attention to what is on your feet. They show.

And so, with a heavy heart-alas, no longer brave- I abandoned all hope of looking fresh and perky and reached for the black good-but-not -new pants suit and the nice-but-not-new-black short boots that are waterproof. All very acceptable, but not a skirt.

And now I remember why I stopped wearing skirts in the first place: it’s too damn complicated.

It can be cold. It can be wet. And you have to consider the condition of your legs: Are they shaved? Bruised? (Don’t get any ideas, mine get battered by running into the opened dishwasher, as anyone who knows me will find perfectly understandable). Do you have stockings that go with the skirt? And omigod, what about the shoes? If the shoes go with opaque stocking, like tights, then you don’t have the shaved, bruised thing to worry about, but tights can be, well, tight, and sometimes too heavy. If the shoes show your toes, you need a pedicure. This is freeing the legs? This is less restricting?

Men in skirts? I think not. Men are the ones who say things like, “But you already have a pair of black shoes.” When men ask what to wear, they mean, “Do I HAVE to wear a jacket?” Fashion forward? Sure, right. They fight getting a new pair of shoes, then decide that the pair you’ve forced them to buy is the only pair on Earth they can walk in, and refuse to wear anything else until the next time you drag them into a shoe store. Where they buy the same shoes in the same color. Men want it to be easy, and comfortable, and brainless. And maybe they’re right.

Because here’s the other side of the coin: I had a perfectly wonderful evening wearing pants. Okay, maybe it was the two martinis, where one is my Absolut limit. Maybe it was because the Feminists of America were meeting at the club, and my (male) friend and I were talking about James Bond, and decided that if anyone wanted to make something out of it, we could take them.

I was having a good time, and ended up holding court at the bar as a succession of men came and went, as they are wont to do. I talked myself hoarse, agreed with the bartender that I still have it, if I could only remember what “it” was, and wondered what was going on here? All I can figure is that when you’re enjoying yourself, you attract people (we knew that), and that it doesn’t matter much about the skirt. In fact, I’m glad I wasn’t wearing the damn thing because that would have clouded the issue.

So the next morning, with a mild hangover, a slight sore throat (from talking too much, maybe, but not from drafts) I read about this push to get men to wear skirts. HA! I said. HA! It takes far too much effort and creates the possibility that you will actually have to be uncomfortable. Men have already figured out that they can be comfortable and still have a good time.

And yet. I’m not ready to donate that skirt to the thrift shop. Not at all! There will be a clear night in my future, and I’ll be ready to flounce into the club or restaurant of the moment. In the meantime, flounceless but happy, life goes on.

By the way, in case you were wondering if men in skirts might be less prone to violence, and that it would help them to embrace their feminine sides and not be so eager to start wars and such, forget it. Think about Braveheart (yechh). Or the Praetorian Guard. Or African warriors. Or cavemen. You can take the boy out the pants, but you can’t take the, oh you get the drift. Or the draft. By the way, most of the women at Men In Skirts premiere at the Met were wearing pants. And so were all the men.


Do you wear skirts? Are you a woman?

Do you go for comfort or style? Or can you mix the two?

And how do you feel about kilts?

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