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Tracing a trend: men in skirts

By Jayne Mountford

Jun 14, 2022

Fashion

Image: Burberry/Molly Goddard/Louis Vuitton

Men wearing skirts is commonplace in certain countries including Fiji, Myanmar and Bhutan. In Greece, it’s an integral part of the military dress uniform. However, nowhere has a skirt been of more cultural significance than the Scottish kilt.

A history of the Scottish kilt

Image: Courtesy Macgregor and Macduff

According to the Macgregor and Macduff blog, the first mention of kilts was in 1538. At that time, a kilt was a full-length garment called the féileadh mor or 'the great kilt'. It was a five meter untailored piece of fabric that was wrapped around the waist, with the excess material draped over the shoulder. It wasn’t until the early 18th century that the knee length kilt we recognize today came about. Over time, different clans identified themselves with specific tartan plaids and colors.

The modern era

Jean Paul Gaultier is credited with the first designer to show skirts for men on the runway. They were first presented as part of his Et Dieu Créa l’Homme (And God Created Man) collection in 1985, wide-leg trousers with a wrap-over panel created the illusion of the skirt, "challenging masculinity and questioning clothing stereotypes", according to his website.

In Recent Seasons

No doubt due to the blending of gender norms and the desire by many to be non-binary, in the past few seasons, skirts for men have been shown on many runways, here are some of the best:

Fall/Winter 2021 Runway Collections

Burberry

Image: Courtesy Burberry F/W21

For the Burberry F/W21 menswear collection, Riccardo Tisci showed a series of skirts and kilts, mostly over pants, and a variety of jackets and coats designed with 'British style' in mind. It was a theme he expanded on for FW22 with an emphasis on the heritage of the Burberry brand.

Image: Courtesy Burberry FW22

Louis Vuitton

Image: Courtesy Louis Vuitton FW21

Virgil Abloh's presentation 'Ebonics,' mixed American staples with other global influences, including plaid kilts and skirts under suit jackets.

Molly Goddard

Image: Courtesy Molly Goddard FW21

Worn by model Lucas Chancellor, Goddard showed a Royal Stewart tartan kilt and a Fair Isle sweater with a a white shirt and suit jacket, accessorized by socks and ‘creepers’.

Fall/Winter 2022 Runway Collections

Off-White

Image: Courtesy Off-White FW22

Virgil Abloh's posthumous show entitled 'Spaceship Earth,' look 14 worn by Gyuhyun Kim, was a show-stopping combination of a 'shacket' and coat with a pleated skirt over pants, all in black and green tartan.

Jan Jan Van Essche

Image: Courtesy Jan Jan Van Essche FW22

For look 8, Antwerp's Jan Jan Van Essche showed a pleated skirt over grey denim jeans under a blouson jacket with a knit sweater and beanie.

Dolce & Gabbana

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Image: Courtesy Dolce & Gabbana FW22

Look 55 was an oversized houndstooth skirt suit over a logo tee and rubber boots.

Gucci

Image: Courtesy Gucci FW22

Alessandro Michele presented a collection in collaboration with Adidas. Look 39 was a striped sports coat black leather tie and blue shirt over a yellow tartan kilt over track pants. Accessories mixed Gucci and Adidas logos and other details.

Y/Project

Image: Courtesy Y/Project FW22

Glenn Martens's collection for Y/Project included look 44: a double layered waist length jacket of denim and shearling under a silver nylon puffer and dark denim gored skirt with side splits over leather boots.

Egonlab

Image: Courtesy Egonlab FW22

From Florentin Glemarec and Kevin Nompeix of Egonlab, look 23 consisted of a jacket, kilt and pants all in a neutral colored window-pane check.

DSquared2

Image: Courtesy DSquared2 FW22

From Dean and Dan Caten, a collection they called ‘Hippy Hiker’ and a bohemian layered mix for look 42 on Brandon, an embroidered pullover shown over a pair of tattered jeans and split from long tartan kilt.

Off the runway

Mark Bryan, who identifies as a ‘straight, cis male’ photographs himself everyday in a skirt and heels. He currently boasts 660K followers on Instagram (markbryan911). Further evidence that skirts for men are hitting mainstream fashion is the abundance of appearances by major celebrities wearing them. That list includes Pete Davidson, Machine Gun Kelly, Harry Styles, Bad Bunny, Diddy and Lil’Nas. Not to mention, the very masculine looking Oscar Isaac. Isaac made headlines at a screening of ‘Moon Knight' in London, dressed in a Thom Browne grey pleated skirt suit. All predictions point toward the idea of the man skirt or kilt growing exponentially each season.

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