Note: la version française de ce texte est ici
In September 2015, I took up the pen for the first time to tell you about my experience as a man wearing a skirt. Here we are 6 and a half years later, I told you the rest in 6 other episodes (the links are at the bottom of this article) and of course, I still wear skirts !!! More and more !!
As I have described over the course of these texts and my reflection, it is ultimately and not only a simple desire to vary my clothing (this is always present), but over time, I realized that this idea of clothing « different from the established norm » conveyed much more: tolerance, respect for others and differences, the desire for a more inclusive society and equity between girls and boys, between women and men…
Frankly, today and more and more, and even if we see few men in skirts in the street, it seems to me that things are changing. As far as my personal experience is concerned, I have not remembered for years negative reactions towards my outfit (whistles or silly remarks), which were only made by small groups, often young people (themselves victims of stereotype: I have to say that I don’t pay much attention to it anymore, and that I don’t really care what other people think… my tights by the way) Two recent examples among many others:
- This summer, on the beach at Les Issambres, a lady saw me in a beach skirt and told her friends about it. I was too far away to hear, but my friend Anastasia was nearby, spoke to them, quickly explaining my approach. Knowing this, I also went to chat with these ladies, delighted with my outfit (“It suits you very well, and you are right to shake up the codes”).
- More recently, I was walking in Grenoble. A lady, attaching her bike a few meters away, calls out to me: “Your tights are superb”. And we discussed fashion and “Lili gambettes” tights (one of my favorite brands, see the 3 photos below) for 5 minutes…
That said, what leads me to think that things are changing are the publications on the internet or the reactions in “real” life. I have classified them arbitrarily into 4 categories (I quote many references or brands, but I can assure you that I don’t get a single penny for this… Too bad…).
Notice that you’ll find a lot of links in this article (marked in blue)…
1 / The fight against stereotypes, formatting and conditioning of minds is gaining momentum and takes many forms. This struggle also translates into a search for equity (I prefer this term to that of equality) between girls and boys, between women and men.
- The Joy Fleutot store in Strasbourg (“Joy Kids Concept store”) is a telling example of this research. I have already told you about this store in my article « Let’s shake our necks off clichés and stereotypes ». Here we find non-gendered objects: toys, books, clothes (but when will there be dresses for girls AND boys?). No blue for boys or pink for girls, but clothes of all colors for all AND all, books where princesses free knights, where a prince meets another prince…
- The magazine « Tchika » also gives pride of place to this equality between the sexes, and is aimed at children, but also at their parents to change mentalities.
- A mother created the site « Dresses for boys » (« Little Prince Charming ») because she noticed that her young boys liked to wear dresses. And why not ? So she decided to create her own collection of dresses for children. And just recently, she launched the idea of also creating dresses for men. And for that, she contacted several men to give their opinion on what would suit us best: I am therefore part of this group (with people from all countries, for example USA and India…)
- I am also republishing the interview of a young mother who also fights against stereotypes! Her little boy wants to wear dresses and skirts, she lets him do it with kindness and tolerance!! https://www.facebook.com/RTBFwebcreation/videos/146862123253862/
2 / Many publications (books, memoirs defended by female students, etc.) are interested in this difference in male and female locker rooms, and on their reasons.
- Christine BARD, professor of contemporary history at the University of Angers, wrote a few years ago (in 201) « What raises the skirt« , where she is interested among other things in the male skirt.
- A young student, Leslie Lesaffre, presented her end-of-study thesis at the Institut Français de la Mode: “The wearing of skirts by men in our Western society” (see link at the bottom of the article). His conclusion shows that this phenomenon is struggling to become more democratic: « Thus, as we have seen, the male skirt is still a practice on the fringes, which does not manage to become more democratic despite a favorable context in view of the questioning of gender and systems of masculinity. We were able to understand the motivations of the men wearing the skirt, which are above all comfort and activism for gender equality. Open clothing for men faces many tensions such as a possible disruption of the social order, the gaze of others, the association of open clothing with the « weaker sex » or the fear of uniformity in the wardrobe, making its democratization more complex. »
- A young brand “Hello World Collective” presented and staged 10 very interesting podcasts. In particular, there is one devoted to the « great male renunciation: when men said STOP to frills ». Around the beginning of the 19th century and the arrival of machinery, men gave up all “frills”: stockings, heels, lace to adopt the costume, which was more serious and respectable. It was the women who inherited all these « frivolities » (including the corset, and a subordinate place in society. « Be beautiful and shut up »). Attached are the links to these « Hands in the pockets » podcasts (all of them are interesting), but if you want to go straight to the point, I recommend n°4 « Under men’s skirts: exploration of the most subversive of history » and the already quoted n°5 « Great masculine renunciation: when men said STOP to frills ».
3 / Tights brands have increasingly inclusive approaches, and are aimed at all body types, but also at all AND at all (therefore men). These are often small brands that start up, but their work of inclusiveness is: noteworthy. We can cite :
- Yade, a young French brand, which explicitly presents a man on its packaging and in photos on its site.
- Snag Tights, Scottish, which offers colorful tights for all body types.
- Petit Cozy offers fleece tights, and also thinks of men.
- Carra Hosiery Boutique is an American brand that also advocates the wearing of tights by men.
- The online sales site “Collant.fr” even devotes articles on its blog to the wearing of tights by men.
For the major brands, the step seems more difficult to take (fear of offending, niche market…?), and if Wolford mentions on its site that several of its tights may be suitable for men, the visuals always represent female legs…
In 2021, I contacted the « Le Bourget » brand, which boasted of its inclusive approach (« thinking about and addressing all women, regardless of their morphology or skin color ») by telling them that men wear, or could wear, pantyhose. The response was encouraging:
“First, a big thank you for your commitment and your loyalty to the brand. We 100% agree with you, the question of gender in the world of fashion is finally being questioned! Of course, we take your comments and expectations into account. Men also have beautiful legs, and they also know how to sublimate them! »
I don’t ask for specific « men’s » tights. In the vast majority, the tights fit us (except to measure 2 m!!), but that men are staged by these mainstream brands.
Do we take up the challenge “Le Bourget” ?
4 / So-called “feminine” clothing stores accept men without any problem.
I have never been turned away from a store and the reception is at least professional.
In some stores, I generate a certain curiosity and real interest. But never have I received such a warm welcome as in a store that I would like to highlight here: the store of the Vib’s brand (Bréal, Cache Cache, Bonobo) in Aubagne (Bouches-du-Rhône in France). Beyond the charming welcome I received on my first visit, and the sound advice (the sales assistants don’t sell me clothes if they don’t go with my morphology), it’s the only store that shares on his Facebook page my posts when I wear their clothes. The publications of a man in a skirt on the page of a so-called « feminine » clothing store, this is not common…
This little inventory of my current thoughts is over, I hope you enjoyed it. Feel free to leave comments below.
And for men who are reluctant to leave their homes wearing a skirt, do it !! Everything will be fine, and later you’ll be like, « Why didn’t I do this before? » »
And finally, here are the testimonials of several people about me, and more generally the skirt for men.
First of all, Virginie whom I met on the net (via a site for amateurs and tights lovers “Sors tes gambettes”). After we met “in real life”, we became friends…
« When I met Marc, it wasn’t her skirt or her dreamy legs (yes, I’m a little jealous of them!) but her open-mindedness, her freedom and her benevolence that marked me. He embodies tolerance by his way of being and therefore of dressing. Then I really appreciated her looks in skirts or dresses which are unequivocally masculine, modern and perfectly elegant. I like his company and what he exudes, among other things through this original sartorial note, I like the surprise or the admiration that it arouses each time, the exchanges that it sometimes generates. « Marc in a skirt » is an « image of Epinal » of an endearing and open man: I don’t see the skirt, I see the man and it’s a treat. »
The 2nd person who testifies is Anastasia, whom I also « met » initially on the net via « Sors tes gambettes ». After meeting in real life, it was obvious, we became friends… Here is his testimony:
“So the first time I saw you, to be completely honest, I was worried that you were going to be the subject of unpleasant thoughts, especially in my city where tolerance is not always the rule, then you were so comfortable that I didn’t think about it anymore and it went very well. I was surprised by your ease, then by this very classy side of the rendering of your outfits that I had not imagined. What I liked the most was the “freedom” side that you convey, then the tolerance and the discussions that this generates in your entourage. What bothered me was an unpleasant look from a passer-by towards you. But what amazes me and makes me happy for you are the compliments and the discussions that you sparked several times when we were together and your ease in explaining your attitude (at the restaurant, at the beach…). »
Point of discussion on the theme of tights initially with Anne-Marie, a fan of street-art, and she made me discover several artists via the net. Well we discussed « men’s skirt » before finally meeting one day in October 2021 in Lyon, where I had offered to meet us one day: «
“Living in Paris, I have sometimes seen men in skirts – 2 or 3 times – they were Japanese, certainly wearing long clothes – few if not anyone – looked at them in an ironic or surprised way. When I told my husband that we had a date with you – in a skirt – he had no problem with it. I obviously suspected it – he wouldn’t be the man who has shared my days and my nights for more than 40 years without it… I don’t like tough guys, tattooed people, testrones! But human beings yes! Before seeing you in photos and after in real life, there were in particular photos of bus drivers in skirts, that of high school students. I found it super nice: finally men who go beyond the clichés! and confront them. Phew ! What a feeling of… liberation !
When my husband and I arrived at the meeting place, I wondered how we were going to recognize you… Ah! but am I stupid, he will be in a skirt! Full stop, neither my husband nor I made any further comments. We saw you coming in profile – straight figure – dark coat and hat! Your legs in pantyhose were barely noticed. Did you see an embarrassed look from us? No, your outfit was nothing extravagant. I might have twitched more if you had worn red checkered Bermuda shorts with sneakers… or sandals with socks! – You were comfortable – so were we. When we walked up and down the street, I didn’t see any surprised, mocking or disapproving looks from the people we passed. When we got up from the table at the end of lunch, I made a remark about your skirt – and there – like an exhibitionist (yes, yes! ) you pushed your coat away – saying to me: “yes! you saw, it is wrinkled. And then I saw our neighbor at the table, sitting on the opposite side of you, leaning over to see too – what was his look? I don’t know – have you seen it? Still, he’s the only one who paid attention to your outfit! We would have been embarrassed if you had been defiant – but that was not your goal. You were a “normal” being – elegant – almost strict in appearance – in a skirt – at ease. Only the simpletons could have found something to laugh about and complain about. One more word: I never doubted Sean Connery’s virility when I saw him wearing a kilt. Maybe because he had no questions about his? Maybe, I don’t know… »
The fourth testimonial is from Natalia, one of the sales assistants at my favorite store:
“Seeing you for the first time was surprising, but not shocking. It wasn’t the first time I had seen a man in a skirt. By nature, I am tolerant, everyone does what they want. There are women who don’t wear makeup, who only wear pants, so why shouldn’t men do what they want too? Everyone is free. And it’s nice to have the courage to be yourself. It’s important to feel good about yourself. Keep it up and see you soon at the store! »
Fifth testimony, that of Nathalie, a friend with whom I worked for several years. We hadn’t mentioned my clothing when I was working (and anyway, at work, I only wore pants…), but when I retired, I confided in her. Here is what she wrote:
“When Marc told me about him wearing skirts and dresses, I told him I would love to hang out with him when he dresses like that. I found the approach brilliant and super courageous: to assume your tastes in a society that tends to put you in boxes. So we decided to go to the restaurant together and I loved it! We have done it again a few times, it is always super elegant. He has a lot of class and he has a very safe choice when it comes to his outfits. In all honesty, I think he wears a skirt much better than many women! »
And the last, Nathalie, who opened the doors of this blog to me:
“For me, a man in a skirt was Marc Jacobs, J.P Gaultier Or Sean Connery with their legendary kilts that made them so seductive! When I first met Marc, I was surprised to see that he wore skirts that are mistakenly considered “feminine” and that above all he wore them really well. When we walked around town and I saw the eyes of people mocking him, it annoyed me to a point, but to a point! I can’t stand intolerance, disrespect, gratuitous mockery. But Marc was unfailingly stoic! Zen, he did not notice the remarks, ignoring the inquisitive looks. And I thought he was right. That we had to keep this positive aura and not give importance to these sneers. For all these years, I must admit that I no longer pay attention to this kind of behavior, I smile at the compliments that are paid to him, and I am delighted that slowly, the idea of wearing skirts in a man is becoming more and more obvious. In the 1920s, women were shouted down for wearing pants. A century later, the idea of non-gendered clothing is advancing and taking a more obvious place in our society. Thanks to people like Marc and all those who dare… And that’s the main thing. »
Links to my previous articles:
Link to the “Lili Gambettes” tights site (a nod to his boss, Stéphane)
#Meninskirts #Meninskirt #clotheshavenogender #genderfluid #genderfree