Musician Harry Styles dressed up as Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz” for night one of Harryween at Madison Square Garden. He wore a little polka dotted dress and ruby red slippers and all of us couldn’t stop thinking how hot this man is.
The barriers around masculinity are slowly coming down within our generation. As a matter of fact, women are helping to tear them down. Popular trends on TikTok include girlfriends dressing their boyfriends in “women’s” clothing or getting matching manicures, which just goes to show that some women love a man who is comfortable exploring and embracing his feminine side.
The fem-men movement has been on a rise as of lately and, sure, it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. Heterosexual men are experimenting with more traditionally “feminine” styles and characteristics, such as crop tops, dresses, and jewelry (FYI: a man wearing rings with painted nails makes me lose all motor function) but on a larger scale, I think this new aesthetic may be a step down the path towards the end of toxic masculinity. A man can dress and embody a feminine style or persona, but that doesn’t make him any less of a man (unless they want it to). If anything, dressing femme displays a level of security with their masculinity; they don’t have to boast about it or exhibit it at all times. And frankly, that’s hot.
Harry Styles serves as a sort of poster boy of this movement, at least for Gen-Z. He openly embraces the concept of dressing femininely as separate from sexual orientation or gender identity, which is often the stigmatized perception of this style: a man who dresses femme must be struggling with their masculinity in some way. Rather, Styles believes his clothes make it possible for him to encapsulate a creative and free expression of himself, how he’s feeling, or just beauty in general. Sometimes people—regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation—just want to wear a pretty dress, damn it. And that’s why they put Styles on the cover of American Vogue in a dreamy Gucci gown last year.
Besides the iconic musician, many male figures in Hollywood and the media have openly expressed their feminine side—and it’s not a new concept. Musician and actor Jaden Smith often dresses in a more “feminine” way and has had to publicly defend his choice of apparel against backlash from the media: “If I want to wear a dress, then I will.” He was even featured on the cover of Vogue Korea donning a skirt and a rose in his hair, and he looked fabulous.
Jared Leto is no stranger to throwing on a skirt for the red carpet. He wore a bejeweled red gown to the 2019 Met Gala.
YouTube commentary star Kurtis Conner identifies as a straight man, but is permissive when it comes to his style and expression. He wore a flashy sequined two-piece outfit and green eyeshadow for a recent photoshoot.
Feminine style is nothing new to Actor and author Billy Porter who loves to freely and openly express himself and his beautiful style in the lime-light. He often wears extravagant gowns to formal events such as this Critic's Choice Awards number.
Besides these contemporary examples, men have been breaking the masculine mold for years and years now. Some rockstars of old who come to mind are David Bowie, Prince, and Freddie Mercury, and it’s important to remember that this new, trendy fem-men movement is deep-rooted in LGBTQ+ activism and liberation. So, while this is nothing new historically, for some cis men out there, it may be strange to wrap their heads around. To them, I’d say embrace it—experiment, find your niche, throw on a skirt or some sequins one day and see how it feels. Dresses aren’t just for girls.