From 90’s pop stars to the rappers of today, the skirt has become a hot but controversial garment.
Photographed by Tyler Mitchell, Vogue, December 2020
Gender bending fashion has been around for quite some time, but the concept of men being able to express themselves openly through fashion is still controversial. The issue of toxic masculinity has loomed over men and their choice of clothing for too long.
One of the most popular, but disputed, garments worn by men today is the SKIRT. For years now, some male celebrities have pushed social boundaries by appearing in public in skirts. These actions have brought about the question:
“Are men emasculated by wearing typically feminine clothing?”
To answer that question let's take a quick look at some famous men who have pioneered the gender bending skirt style.
Most notably in the 90s, people such as David Beckham, Samuel L. Jackson, and Jean Paul Gaultier paved the way for genderless fashion. Jean Paul Gaultier was one the first designers to create a collection of skirts for men, to put genderless clothing in question. The “daring” choices made by these men at the time were considered shocking or disturbing by the press, but redefined the male stereotype.
Fast-forward to today and men are still facing the issue of “toxic masculinity.” Though today's representation of the skirt has been taken on by people with a much larger following, and has opened the eyes of those who may have condemned it in the past.
Jaden Smith is the first that comes to mind when thinking of someone that tests the social norms of clothing. He has been photographed in everything from a skirt in a Louis Vuitton ad to dresses while out on the town. He truly has redefined the idea of what is socially acceptable for men to wear.
Louis Vuitton ad Campaign photographed by Bruce Weber
Jaden tweeted out speaking on the subject and stated “If I Wanna Wear A Dress, Then I Will, And That Will Set The New Wave…#ICON.” This statement solidified that there was going to be change for modern male attire.
Lil Nas X is also on the quest to redefine masculinity and appeared in a plaid skirt on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. The kilt-like skirt was paired with a crisp white blazer and leather Doc Martens, reminiscent of the grunge trend from the 90s. If anyone has been able to push society's buttons, it's been Lil Nas X. From giving the “devil” a lap dance, to wearing shoes containing human blood inside them, Lil Nas continues to make heads turn. His wardrobe choices only stir the pot more, his all pink Versace cowboy look worn to the 2020 Grammys red carpet redefined the question of “Can a black, gay man wear head to toe pink and be considered masculine?”
Harry Styles has also joined the fight to make clothing genderless, taking it as far as appearing in a dress on the cover of Vogue. The skirt was the centerpiece of the fashion spread given to Styles. Vogue blended Styles' handsome physique with garments typically considered “feminine”.
Looking at all of the celebrities that have tried to redefine the idea of what is socially acceptable for men to wear has been eye opening. It’s crazy to think that for over two decades men are still having to fight for the freedom of self expression and the ability to wear what makes them happy.
Freedom of expression should never be denied.
The acceptance of genderless clothing is LONG OVERDUE!