‘’I didn’t just wanna wear a tuxedo and be boring’’ – fashion designer Marc Jacobs The Scottish kilt or the shalwar kameez and kurta are evidence that the fashion world is no stranger to the idea of men wearing skirts or dresses. Despite this, skirts and dresses, ‘feminine clothing’, would incite verbal abuse and slander if worn on a man.
Leading figures such as actor Bill Porter, Marc Jacobs and Jaden Smith are just three men not afraid to blur the lines of dress. At the 2019 Academy Awards, Porter wore a ‘tuxedo gown’, which resembled a tuxedo at the top but had an enormous velvet skirt on the bottom. Porter, no stranger to bold dress, explained ‘‘my goal is to be a walking piece of political art every time I show up. To challenge expectations. What is masculinity? What does that mean? Women show up every day in pants but the minute a man wears a dress, the seas part.’’ While previously uncommon, diversity in clothing for men is entirely possible.
Skirts and dresses have been intrinsically allied to femininity. Marc Jacobs attended the 2012 Met Gala Ball in a sheer black lace dress with white boxer shorts underneath, claiming ‘’I didn’t just wanna wear a tuxedo and be boring’’. It is becoming more and more difficult for men to stand out amongst each other as tuxedos have had a homogenising effect with little to no choice in alteration. In the land of Hollywood, failure to stand out and be seen could be detrimental to one’s career. Fashion is all about risk after all.
It’s also worth noting that these are not just trends from within indie labels, but from household names such as Thom Browne and Gucci. Jared Leto and Harry Styles are well known stars for Gucci who frequently and unapologetically wear a dress. Why be afraid to be seen as effeminate? Gender fluid fashion is on the rise, don’t fight the tide but go with it. Male make-up and man buns are not looked at twice in many social settings – is the dress next to gain legs?