Like ‘Fetch,’ Men’s Skirts Are Never Gonna Happen

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Why can't we get it together?

In 2008 they asked us, "Are You Ready for Men's Skirts? Because They've Arrived." (I was ready.) A year later, Marc Jacobs was like "Alright people, they're here!" (They weren't.) And now in 2014, designers Sarah Burton, Sebastien Pieter, and Christopher Shannon are all "They're coming back!" But here's the thing: aside from the runway or at a costume exhibit, I have seen about one "mirt" in the United States. It was in the Columbia, Missouri airport and upon further reflection that man was actually wearing a garbage bag, so I don't think it counts. Unfortunately, like meggingsbackwards pants, and rat-tails, in Western culture, man skirts stick around for the nine seconds it takes for models to walk down the runway and then inevitably, everyone goes back to their boring be-panted lives. 

In her piece for Sociology of Style Anna Akbari explains the prominence of men wearing skirts or draped garments in warmer climates including "the unstitched dhoti in India, printed and fairly unisex sarongs in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, and the colorful Eastern African garment, Kanga." Unfortunately, she notes "fashion is just a symptom of larger cultural norms and changes… As men grew to incorporate pants into their wardrobe, women were restricted from doing the same because of norms of 'modesty'… This in turn made loose garments like dresses and skirts take on a feminine association, and today, most men avoid these garments for nothing more than …a fear of femininity in combination with a recognition of the social norm that they should dress in ways that uphold their masculine identities." 

This might be why (with the exception of this German dad teaching his kid that it's okay to be different) the androgynous item hasn't gained much traction in the West. I, for one, will carry the torch by continuing to try to convince naked gentlemen callers to wear my "little black apron" complete with faux pearls. As Marc Jacobs as my witness, one of these days, it's gonna happen. 

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