Skirts: Are You Man Enough To Wear One?
From left: Burberry, FW21. Photograph courtesy of Burberry. Molly Goddard, FW21. Photograph courtesy of Molly Goddard. Louis Vuitton, FW21. Photograph courtesy of Louis Vuitton. Stefan Cooke, FW21. Photograph courtesy of Stefan Cooke
“Is now the time men will finally start wearing skirts?” It’s a decades-old question that fashion journalists pose every few seasons. Two or three skirts will come swishing down the runway on the legs of a male model and, all of a sudden, we’re throwing around botched portmanteaus such as “manskirt”, or worse, “mirt”. Inevitably, the trend never quite catches on.
This season, though, the mood has been quite different and the trend for skirts has grown legs. The menswear fashion weeks – which originally broke off from the main schedules around a decade ago with mixed success – were largely cancelled because of the pandemic. This spurred London Fashion Week to announce it would permanently cancel its dedicated menswear days, absorbing them back into the main schedule, which would thus become a “genderless event”.
Everywhere you turn in popular culture, traditional masculinity is melting away. Nail varnish on men is enjoying a boom, as are pearls, which have replaced gold chains as the jewellery du jour and are the biggest men’s accessories trend we’ve seen in years. Mr Harry Styles, who is constantly blurring the boundaries of gendered style, is one champion of the trend. When he was photographed for the cover of US Vogue (becoming the first man to ever to command a solo cover), he wore a gown by London designer Harris Reed. Mr Dan Levy, who played David Rose on Schitt’s Creek, favours skirt suits by Thom Browne (as did his character on the show).
Burberry, pre-AW21 lookbook. Photograph courtesy of Burberry
Perhaps it’s not surprising that in recent fashion collections skirts have popped up more than they ever have before. Burberry showed a collection dedicated to “freedom of expression”, which featured skirts and even dresses for men. At Louis Vuitton, designer Mr Virgil Abloh presented long, A-line, pleated skirts worn with sharp, masculine tailoring in what many saw as his best collection yet.
Molly Goddard, meanwhile, showed traditional tartan skirts paired with creepers. Comme des Garcons, no stranger to blurring the binary, also showed pleated skirts, as did the up-and-coming designer duo Chopova Lowena, whose “pleated wrap garments” incorporate the designers’ British and Bulgarian backgrounds. Stefan Cooke, another bright upstart, presented thigh-high plaid schoolgirl skirts paired with matching jackets.
So, while there are plenty of skirts out there, the most pressing question is: who will wear them? The correct answer, for once, is not all men. Some will, though, and already are. Mr Mark Bryan is a businessman that has drawn almost half a million Instagram followers this year thanks to his preference for wearing a shirt and tie on top and a skirt and heels below, which he wears to the office where he works in robotics engineering.
Mr Bryan has been featured in international issues of Vogue, and recently did a photoshoot with Interview magazine. “I am just a straight, married guy, that loves Porsches, beautiful women, and incorporating high heels and skirts into my daily wardrobe,” his bio currently reads.
You’ll find no skirts on the digital shelves of MR PORTER at the time of writing, but that’s not to say you never will. The lines that define what we wear have never been wobblier; if I can wear a pair of heels for a week and write about it for MR PORTER, then, hey, what’s a skirt or two?
Also consider the practicality: easy to move around in, mercifully breezy in the summer and, we imagine, rather simple to get on and off. So, to pose that tired question again: is it time for men to start wearing skirts? For those who want to, the answer may be – finally – yes.