A world where men wear skirts

Could it be on its way?

Published August 12, 2008 1:45PM (EDT)

No, it's not a sequel to "Braveheart." According to New York magazine, several men have been sighted on the streets of Europe wearing skirts. Not ironic skirts, not sarongs, not "I'm going to my cousin's Scottish wedding" kilts, but honest-to-goodness skirts.

New York magazine appears perplexed and apprehensive. "Don't get us wrong," the article says. "We're all for equality of the sexes, and if Yves Saint Laurent can put women in pantsuits, there's no reason other designers can't put men in skirts. We expect to see them on the men's runways from time to time. And we find it delightful when we do, but in a non-serious way. But now that it may be getting serious, we're a bit unsettled. We don't know if America is ready for her men to be traipsing around the streets in skirts."

Personally, I think America has a lot of bigger adjustments to deal with than worrying about whether in five or 10 years a couple of guys in New York and San Francisco are going to start showing thigh in public. But I still have trouble believing that this trend will ever really catch on beyond the particular subset of guys who wear very skinny jeans (why, God?) and have a collection of tweed newsboy caps.

But hey, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe a time will come when one of my oldest fashion grievances -- that it's OK for women to wear pants, but demeaning for a man to wear "female" clothing -- will be laid to rest. Maybe someday both genders will be able to experience a refreshing summer breeze up the skirt -- or, alternatively, the feeling of panic when you're standing on a subway grate and a train goes by. Maybe someone, somewhere, will call a moratorium on skinny jeans, and send all those caps back to their rightful places in the costume racks for Oliver Twist. Unlikely? Perhaps. But a girl can dream.

By Catherine Price

Catherine Price is an award-winning journalist and author of Vitamania: How Vitamins Revolutionized the Way We Think About Food. Her written and multimedia work has appeared in publications including The Best American Science Writing, The New York Times, Popular Science, O: The Oprah Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post Magazine, Salon, Slate, Men’s Journal, Mother Jones, PARADE, Health Magazine, and Outside. Price lives in Philadelphia.

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