In short: Some men wear dresses as a form of self-expression or to challenge gender norms. Others wear them for practical reasons, such as the comfort that dresses and skirts provide.
In recent years, there has been a growing trend of men wearing dresses.
From Harry Styles’ iconic Vogue cover to Billy Porter’s red carpet looks, more and more famous men are breaking gender norms and embracing traditionally feminine clothing.
But why are guys wearing dresses? Let’s talk about it.
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History and cultural significance
Men wearing dresses is not a new phenomenon, and it has been present in many cultures throughout history. In fact, there are at least 13 countries where skirts are worn by men.
Throughout history, men have worn dresses and skirts for various reasons. Most of us might not know this, but skirts are actually the second-oldest type of clothing in the history of the world.
In ancient Rome, for example, the toga (a loose-flowing outer garment) was a staple of male fashion, while men in the 14th century wore skirts with tights underneath.
It wasn’t until the 18th and 19th centuries that men’s fashion changed, and pants became the norm. However, in some cultures, men continued to wear dresses and skirts.
Even today, they are part of the traditional clothing of several cultures around the world.
In some cultures, guys have worn dresses as a symbol of power and authority, while in others, it has been a way of expressing individual style or embracing cross-dressing fashion choices.
For example, in Scotland, men wear kilts, which are a type of skirt made of tartan fabric. In some parts of Africa, men wear robes and tunics that are similar to dresses.
In China, men wear the Hanfu, a robe worn as the upper garment, with a skirt worn as the lower garment. The Indonesians wear a sarong, a version of a skirt predominantly worn by guys.
Aside from history and cultural significance, men wearing dresses can also serve spiritual purposes. Dresses are worn during festivities, religious ceremonies, or marriage ceremonies.
For instance, in some Native American cultures, men wear dresses with intricate beadwork as part of cultural ceremonies. The dresses represent a connection to the spiritual world.
In the Indian subcontinent, male Hindus wear a type of dress called a dhoti, which is a long piece of cloth that is wrapped around the waist and legs.
Evolution of gender roles
As modern society has evolved, so too has the concept of gender roles and gender expression. The desire of many men to be non-binary has sparked the rise of guys wearing dresses.
The fashion industry has long been criticized for its rigid gender norms, and many men are pushing back against these expectations by wearing dresses and other feminine clothing.
By doing so, they are challenging the idea that certain clothes are only meant for certain genders and are creating a more inclusive and diverse fashion landscape.
By embracing this variety, we open the door to a never before experienced flexibility and celebration of varied forms of masculinity or femininity.
In other words, men are free to choose what they want to wear. If they want to express themselves by wearing a dress or a skirt, it’s no longer bizarre.
Since the fashion industry provides an outlet for exploring these new identities through clothing choices, dresses and skirts are no longer strongly associated with one particular gender.
Form of self-expression
Due to the evolution of gender roles, men wear dresses as a form of self-expression. And for many guys, wearing a dress or a skirt is an expression of true confidence and strength.
The freedom to express oneself through clothes can be empowering and liberating.
For some men, cross-dressing and wearing feminine clothing provide a way to reinvent their look and find freedom from societal pressures on gender roles and expectations.
For other guys, wearing dresses and skirts may symbolize alternative lifestyles, especially for those who live in non-traditional households like goths and punk rockers.
They all have been used to express their different outlooks on life through clothing.
Others see wearing dresses as a political statement.
In a world where toxic masculinity and gender-based discrimination are still prevalent, some men are using fashion to challenge these harmful ideas.
By wearing dresses and other traditionally feminine clothing, they are rejecting the notion that there is a “right” way to be a man and are promoting gender equality and acceptance.
Combination of all the above
Overall, the reason why men wear dresses and skirts is a long and varied one. In recent years, there has been a resurgence of guys wearing dresses and skirts.
While men’s fashion has changed over time, there have always been men who choose to wear dresses and skirts, either for cultural or personal reasons.
Some men wear them as a form of self-expression or to challenge gender norms. Others wear them for practical reasons, such as the comfort and freedom of movement that they provide.
As society becomes more accepting of gender fluidity and breaks down traditional gender norms, it’s likely that we’ll continue to see guys wearing dresses as a form of self-expression.