A Guy’s Guide to Getting Skirted

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Words do not adequately describe a skirted man’s enhanced comfort in the sweltering summer months. While comfort is an enormous justification for donning a work-appropriate skirt, comfort is neither the sole benefit nor the sole justification, as I have pointed out in “Why I Wear Skirts” and other posts about men and skirts. Skirts need not be frilly, froufrou, or feminine, and skirts can indeed be very masculine if a person first understands the basic design characteristics and uses this knowledge to make some sensible selections.

The actual number of men worldwide who wear skirt-like garments is unknowable, but a reasonable estimate would be between 500 million and 1 billion, which, out of a world population of 4 billion men, is a rather significant percentage. Their garments are known by many names across the globe: kilt, gho, fustanella, hakama, sarong, dhoti / veshti / lungi, longyi, kanga / kilenge / kikoy / tappa, lavalava, baana / chola, ihram, futah, sulu vakataga, qun/chang, qumbaz, and thobe.

It is worth noting that, next to the loincloth, non-bifurcated garments are the second oldest articles of clothing. But the bifurcated pant is also fairly ancient as shown by native Amerindian peoples. Some anthropologists have suggested that bifurcation is attributable to textile technology. Under this theory, textile cultures adopted non-bifurcated garments while animal hide cultures adopted what we know call pants. For purposes of this blog post, I will use “skirt” to refer to all non-bifurcated garments regardless of gender much in the same way that “pants” refers to bifurcated garments worn by both males and females.

This post is aimed at providing curious and novice American men with the advantage of practical advice and a basic education on how to start wearing skirts. While I strive to be practical and balanced, I do advance a viewpoint of masculine aesthetics for several reasons: first, it is my personal stylistic preference; second, I believe this to be the most natural tract for men making their first forays into this counterculture movement; third, I believe this to be of greater service to the movement (as explained in closing). To make it easier to digest, I have divided this post into four sections: Key Concepts, Masculinity & Femininity, Wearing a Skirt, Shopping for Skirts, and Closing Remarks.

Key Concepts

Wearing a skirt does not signal that a man is homosexual, heterosexual, or transvestite (see this other post on  sex and gender), but wearing a skirt absolutely does demonstrate that the man is highly self-confident and willing to defy social norms.

Though American culture evolved to embrace rigidly gender-normalizing expectations of masculinity and femininity, America has been slowly expanding its understanding over the last century. At one time women were not allowed to vote or to drive cars. Later on, the women’s liberation movement asserted (successfully, I might add) that women had as much right as men to wear pants in the workplace. Following the latest turn of the century, states and municipalities began to recognize that some people do not fit the strict male/female paradigm. In 2018, America has focused on inappropriate conduct toward women. While this progression has made women more equal with men, the next phase will necessarily seek to make men more equal with women. I believe that the final enlightenment will also see the appearance of adult unisex clothing that will erase gender barriers and make all sexes even more equal. Until then, those of us willing to defy social norms are the pioneers of equality and progress (as well as its early beneficiaries).

It is difficult to say exactly why skirts are perceived strictly as a woman’s garment. This is to say, are skirts perceived as feminine because women wear them or do women wear them because skirts are perceived as feminine? At present, commercially-available skirts are marketed, patterned, and tailored for women’s bodies. Skirts could absolutely be tailored and marketed for a man’s aesthetic and body, but if free-market commerce does not support production, there is no economic incentive for manufacturers to bring them to the marketplace for male consumers.

Since all skirts are presently designed for women’s bodies it is not truly possible to speak of their skirts as being “masculine” but there are ways to exploit certain design elements in ways that cause the skirt to take on masculine properties. Through purposeful styling, a man can communicate a stronger message that overcomes social misperceptions. In order to do this it is first necessary to establish a baseline understanding of three core terms.

Cut. The skirt’s cut refers to how the skirt appears when worn. Cuts fall along a wide perceptual spectrum. Cuts that flow, waft, and flounce will emphasize femininity while cuts that are are straighter, stiffer, and closer to the body will downplay femininity. Another consideration of cut has to do with length. A miniskirt technically falls anywhere above the knee while full, midi, and maxi skirts range from knee- to ankle-length. (For obvious reasons of anatomy, no discussion of the micromini is necessary.)

Fabric. The two main components to know are fiber and weave. Cotton or cotton-polyester blends will be perceived more androgynously. Synthetic fibers are prone to static cling and might be too thin for a man’s needs. Weave can get very technical for those in the textile industry, so for our purposes, weave will simply refer to the structure and density of the fabric. Thicker and denser weaves such as chino, twill, oxford, and broadcloth will make a skirt more androgynous and will capture common elements of mainstream male clothing. Denim can be tricky and might be best avoided for the first couple of months (after all, men’s denim shorts have been out of fashion for two decades so it would be best to avoid denim skirts that could be mistaken for denim shorts).

Fit. While men’s pants are sized by waist and length, women’s sizes use arbitrary numbers with almost no relationship to anatomical measurements. Women’s skirts are cut for two zones—waist and hips—which takes into account the different contours of a woman’s body. But because the sizes are not tied to actual measurements, something called vanity sizing has evolved over the years. Basically, the idea is that printing a smaller numerical size on the label will cause a woman to prefer one brand over another. One of the worst vanity retailers is Ann Taylor and Ann Taylor Loft where a size 6 Petite is roughly equivalent to a size 10 Regular at other retailers. For the most part, a reasonably fit man of average height can expect to wear a size 10 to 14. There is also something called the rise which is a measurement of the height of a garment on one’s lower back (more on this later on). Women’s waists are higher than men’s so their skirts are cut to be worn higher. Being able to recognize the rise will prevent the skirt from looking awkward.

Masculinity and Femininity

As noted previously, it is difficult to refer to a woman’s skirt as “masculine” so my references as such refer to exploiting certain attributes in a way that makes the skirt less feminine, more androgynous, and more congruent with masculine aesthetics. In this line, the single most determining characteristic of a skirt’s masculinity or femininity is its cut. Crisp straight lines communicate power while fluid planes suggest docility. By way of example, compare women’s business fashion with wedding attire. A woman’s business skirt suit has pronounced lines and crisp surfaces while formal gowns have fluid lines and gathered planes. In this way, a skirt that wafts, flows, or clings will accentuate femininity while a skirt that controls its movement will downplay femininity. This does not in itself make the skirt masculine by cultural norms, but by avoiding overt femininity, the wearer can more easily re-purpose the garment for a masculine aesthetic.

There are far too many of the “feminine” cuts to discuss in detail, but the masculine cuts are much more concise: straight, pencil, and a-line. These cuts are also typically constructed from weightier fabrics which enhance the masculine aesthetic. Following cut, the next biggest characteristic is color. Darker, earthier tones will convey more masculinity and are typically available as solid colors. In contrast, prints, pastels, and brights will have a significantly feminine flair. A white skirt can go either way and really depends on the cut, fabric, and skin tone. Length is also a consideration and in general a “masculine” skirt should be above the kneecap or all the way to the ankle. A skirt that covers the knees or does not reach the ankles makes it difficult to style with other male accessories. No man should wear a skirt that is shorter than his fingertips, but even that length can be tricky so use Tom Selleck’s Magnum P.I. character as a guide.

Several minor features have a astounding effect how a skirt is perceived within a gender binary. The presence or absence of pockets and belt loops, for instance, will make a huge perceptive difference. Unless one plans on carrying a satchel, backpack, or laptop, pockets are very helpful and a wallet in the back pocket really helps to reinforce masculinity. Belt loops, of course, afford the option to wear a medium-width belt which will have considerable impact on the overall presentation. Belts also permit the wearing of masculine accessories such as a leatherman or phone holster. For those who haven’t noticed, women wear belts less than fifty percent of the time but when they do, their belts are either very thin or very wide, and they never clip items to their waistlines. Therefore, a medium belt with some type of clip-on item will subliminally communicate that the skirted man is purposefully defining his own (hybrid) style. A wristwatch will add a further masculine nuance.

Wearing a Skirt . . . in Public

It goes without saying that wearing a skirt in a culture and society that implicitly considers the skirt to be a woman’s garment takes a certain measure of character, independence, and confidence. But no matter how confident a person might be, it will take time to bring one’s mental and physical selves into harmony. Every man will initially feel awkward, out-of-place, and self-conscious and if the man feels awkward, he will appear awkward, and he will give the creeps to those around him (but more on confidence later on).

I started wearing skirts one exceedingly hot July week and I suggest that a man begin wearing skirts in the summer, first because summer temperatures give the newbie a quick and simple answer to the “why” question, second because skirts are less likely to stand out among men wearing shorts, and third because wearing a skirt in cooler seasons takes a certain panache that requires at least six months to attain.

The week that I first wore a skirt, I was apprehensive of a lot of things. I was particularly concerned that wind or a stride-induced air current might vaguely suggest my lower anatomy. I wrongly believed that I had some duty to shield the public from consciousness of my anatomy even though it was a perfectly natural part of my body. After a few days of internal conflict, I finally came to the realization that I would never instruct a woman to subdue the visible form of her upper anatomy, so on what basis was I imposing this inegalitarian demand upon myself? I was in fact being (mis)guided by culturally-taught misandrist thoughts that men are inherently bad and that anything that a man does which might alarm a woman is a man’s fault and man’s duty to avoid. On the contrary, though, true equality begins with abandoning those notions. A woman who wears a skirt is not potentiating her becoming a victim of assault and a man who wears a skirt is being neither predator nor pervert.

Wearing a skirt in public begins with recognizing one’s right to dress as (s)he wishes. It is a declaration of personal freedom and an offcasting of the tyranny of social conformance. Developing one’s confidence starts with being happy with the overall “look” of the outfit. Each man must find his own path, but here are my tips for getting started.

Shirts. The right shirt makes a huge difference in conveying one’s message. A hard polo or a strong oxford upstairs signals that one’s downstairs skirt is not his attempt to cross-dress. The right shirt also shows that the man knows how to coordinate and how to put together a smart ensemble. A contrasting fitted t-shirt also works (a fitted t-shirt will have seams on each side and often slightly shorter sleeves). But regardless of the shirt chosen, it is best worn tucked in! Here again, women wear their blouses untucked more than half of the time but women’s blouses are also a good bit shorter than men’s shirts so that even when worn untucked, the blouse does not fall much below her waist. At first blush, one would think that an untucked shirt would be more masculine, but most of the time it looks really weird. The visual lines of a an untucked man’s shirt draws attention to the skirt itself by creating a linear continuity from the shoulders all the way to the hem. The untucked shirt eliminates the hard lines that would otherwise convey power. An untucked shirt also makes the ensemble appear sloppily or haphazard. The procedure for tucking a shirt into a skirt has some extra steps, though. After tucking in the shirt, the skirt needs to be raised and inverted above the waist. This allows the shirttail to be pulled down and any excess fabric to be pulled to the sides. After the skirt is turned right-side-out it can be adjusted downward to the appropriate waistline.

Footwear. The newbie will do well to wear darker-toned hiking shoes/boots. Athletic shoes can also work but might not coordinate as smoothly as one would like. In really hot and humid climates, however, plain, unadorned, brown or black women’s thong sandal flats work really, really well. In my opinion, men’s sandals are hideous and thong flip-flops are just plain tacky. Women’s footwear is narrower than men’s footwear, but it is sized fairly close. In general a man will probably need to go up one size and/or look for wide width (when available). Target and Payless are great places to look (these links are pre-filtered). Look carefully at their products as any bling often can be cut off to make the sandal acceptable.

It is almost guaranteed that larger-size sandals will not be available as second-hand items because a lot of retailers do not sell larger than size 10 or size 11 so a woman who finds that perfect pair keeps them until they fall apart. But as previously stated, heel-strap thong sandal flats are great in the sweltering months and are usually acceptable under employer dress code for women (and again, we are premising our attire on gender equality, right?). Loafers or athletic shoes run a close second in comfort. If going this route, it is a good idea to pick up some women’s sneaker socks and/or shoe liners. These items are available pretty much anywhere including dollar stores. Sneaker socks are more invisible than ankle socks. A shoe liner is the most minimal of all as it has no top to it. It literally covers just the toes and the back of the heel. Generally speaking, most women get away with going sockless because they have far fewer sweat glands on their feet. Sneaker socks and liners exist for those whose feet do sweat, or for those who need protection against chaffing.

Underwear. From a practical standpoint, there are few options for the skirted man. Boxers are too bulky to be worn under a skirt and briefs are prone to creating a bulge which can be socially awkward (but once again, this is not to suggest that men should feel ashamed of his body any more than women should feel shame for her body). Jock straps work better than briefs, but in general, a man will best minimize the profile of his anatomy with boxer briefs or au naturel. A half-slip also works well to smooth and hide contours and it feels nice against the skin while adding a little warmth in the spring or fall. Ultimately, what a man wears under his skirt is no different than what a woman wears under her skirt: NO ONE’S GDMF BUSINESS! Some women routinely go commando, some women occasionally go au naturel, some women are mortified at the thought. Some women wear briefs. Some women wear boyshorts. Some women wear thongs. Some women wear slips. Some women wear pantyhose. A woman’s choice makes her neither a whore nor a nun, and a man’s choice makes him neither a deviant nor a pervert.

Occasionally someone in the public sphere asks me what I wear under my skirt. At first I asked why, and the most common reason given related to “regimental” kilts. I suspect that those who say they are “just curious” are simply too embarrassed to admit that they themselves enjoy going commando. I have largely quit asking why, and I typically smile and playfully say “sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t” or “dare to ask, dare to look.” The latter response seems to drive home the point that curiosity is normal, but vocalizing such curiosity can be inappropriate in all its forms. The inquirer usually apologies and I explain that I am not offended. Curiosity is natural and our society is largely to blame for the failure to grasp the inappropriateness of the inquiry (this is particularly true for women who thereupon realize that they just did to a man that which would have been infuriating had the same question been posed to her by a man).

Composure. There is really only one thing to keep in mind when wearing a skirt: Keep your knees together. For the most part, a skirt will keep its wearer mindful that he has a large opening down below, and this is particularly true of straight and pencil cuts which will not allow the wearer to sit with his legs splayed apart. It does not require a great deal of effort to remember and it will become second nature in time. If, however, a gent needs a reminder, consider starting with an elasticized half slip as its gentle traction will remind the wearer to keep his knees together. Fortunately, it doesn’t matter when sitting behind a desk or at a table. In other situations, a skirted man can extend his legs straight out and cross his ankles which will keep his legs sufficiently close together without crushing his jewels. If leg fatigue becomes an issue, one can always tuck the skirt snugly under the thighs and the skirt will then act like a wrap to keep the legs together without having to consciously or physically do so. Another option is crossing one’s legs at the knees and this can be accomplished by grasping the skirt’s hem (as if to straighten it) while deftly reaching up with a finger and lifting the obstructive anatomy out of the way. Kneeling or crouching should be done instead of squatting to retrieve something from the floor or from a lower shelf. Here keeping one’s feet and ankles together will also keep one’s knees together. Getting out of a vehicle usually isn’t a problem as the car door provides adequate shielding, but if extreme precaution is warranted, swivel 90 degrees (with butt in the seat and legs together), place both feet on the ground, and then stand up. It can also be helpful to do a Google image search (pick your own search terms) so as to learn from others’ mistakes.

Confidence. The first week or so it is normal to avoid walking across open spaces in malls or stores, but this timidity fades quickly and, honestly, a lot of people won’t even notice that the the guy walking past them is wearing a skirt. It is imperative to keep one’s head up and one of the biggest mistakes is constantly looking down. Don’t walk around with a goofy smile, but if someone chuckles, just smile and nod your head as if to say “right on!” (in a soulful Shaft or Marvin Gaye kind of way). Acting like a man’s skirt is perfectly natural will make the wearer feel normal and at ease, and others will subconsciously mirror that attitude. Even so, perhaps one of the hardest frontiers to cross is the gym locker room (it’s even more awkward than church). I can’t fully explain why, but it is the final frontier and once conquered, there is nothing left to fear.

Body hair. Since men usually don’t shave their legs solely for the purpose of wearing shorts, there is no compelling reason to shave their legs to wear skirts. That said, there are reasons why a man might remove his body hair regardless of his attire. Men who are body builders and competitive swimmers generally remove all body hair, many men with very little body hair remove their (usually chest) patches, and some male runners shave their legs and arms. A man with very pale skin, though, might wish to retain his body hair to add perceived color, but very hairy men might take electric clippers to their bodies before going to the beach as having less body hair makes applying sunscreen much easier. I have experimented with both options and I have found aesthetic justifications for both, though I feel that it is an-all-or-none issue (shaving one’s legs but keeping a hairy torso just seems incongruous). Still, the choice comes down to personal preference. There is nothing right or wrong with removing any or all of one’s body hair and there is nothing right or wrong with not removing one’s body hair either. I would encourage men to try full-body hair removal at least once. Electric clippers are fine for experimentation but it requires quite a bit of acclamation so give it a minimum thirty-day trial. If completely smooth skin is desired, I recommend using Schick’s Intuition which features self-lathering and moisturizing disposable blades. Alternately, a four-blade disposable but men’s face lather or gel is not formulated for body hair and will perform as well as foams or gels for body hair. (Also, singe- or twin-blade disposable razors will produce massive lacerations for all but the most skillful user).

Penile tumescence & epididymal hypertension. These are natural physiological occurrences and a man should not feel ashamed (after all, women’s breasts can swell cyclically and their nipples might harden spontaneously, but they carry on as normal, right?) But for the modest gent  who wishes to go au naturel but who would die of embarrassment should a breeze between the knees cause him to salute, a fellow might for this reason again consider wearing an elasticized half slip—at least for the first two weeks or so. Alternately, a fellow could cut the elastic waistband from a pair of boxers. and wear it around the thighs just below the buttocks. If tumescence happens, it is easy enough to nudge the elastic band downward to restrain that member. In time both epididymal hypertension and penile tumescence will cease to be issues as the body adjusts to the new experience. (It won’t be an ongoing “burden” as famously penned in Aristophanes’ Lysistrata).

Shopping for Skirts

Shopping for skirts is as enjoyable as it is intimidating…like driving a car for the first time…but a man has to adjust his cognitive analysis just a little. Men typically wear clothes until they are completely worn out and not fit for further use. Women, however, are more likely to keep a garment until they become bored with it. Premium brands like Gap or Columbia usually find their way to consignment shops like Plato’s Closet while store brands are more plentiful at thrift stores. Value brands like Old Navy can go either direction. That said, I have found the full panoply (including Ann Taylor) at church-run thrift shops. As for discount retailers, I have struck gold at Ross but generally strike out at TJ Maxx.

Shopping at large thrift stores is the ideal starting point because these will have a variety of cuts, fabrics, and fits so as to afford a quick and comprehensive education. Their wares are also cheap and when trying to start one’s collection of skirts, a man will inevitably have a lot of “maybes” that don’t turn out as well-suited as initially hoped. Sometimes a man will find a great skirt but it has some odd embroidery or is slightly too long, too flared, too pleated, etc. If he spends just $4 on the skirt, spending $25 on alterations isn’t all that bad. On the other hand, if the skirt doesn’t work out then it’s not a big investment and can be donated back to the thrift store. I have found many skirts that I think will work in the store, but I have learned to always wear them at least once at home. This gives me a chance to get used to it and on several occasions this has also led me to realize that I didn’t feel comfortable in it (or at least not comfortable enough to wear in public).

Skorts. A skort combines a skirt with an internal short. Unfortunately, the short components are not anatomically compatible with men! But this does not mean that all skorts should be discarded as very often the short can be cut out. Skorts can actually be a great source for rugged, outdoorsy aesthetics as so many of them are designed and marketed for active women who enjoy passtimes like hiking and camping. Skorts also tend to be cut somewhere between straight and a-line and this makes them breezier and more comfortable in the sweltering months. But once again, this is where shopping at thrift stores can be helpful. If the skirt shell simply doesn’t work after removing the short, it wasn’t a big investment in the first place.

A-lines. A-line cuts will always be airier and more comfortable than straight cuts, but this extra room comes with the danger of the unintentional flash. For starters, straight skirts restrain the maximum angle of a man’s legs but with an a-line skirt there is slight increase in the chance that a man might forget to keep his legs together!

Stretch fabric. Stretch fabric actually works rather well on many body types (note, though that I’m talking about modest 1%-3% stretch component and definitely not bodycon). But undies are a categorical no-no with stretch fabrics because even boxerbriefs will be visible and anything else will accentuate a frontal bulge which, while not shaming our bodies, can be just down right awkward. There is a clear difference between passive knowledge of one’s anatomy and putting that anatomy on display! Stretch fabrics accentuate one’s backside (assuming it deserves to be accentuated) and control hem flare thus making the skirt more structured and perhaps less feminine.

Rise. One thing to keep in mind about adapting women’s skirts to a man’s body is that a woman’s waistline is higher than a man’s and this extra height of women’s garments at the small of the back is known as its “rise.” This is more easily understood through women’s pants. Low-cut jeans have zero rise while dress pants which sit at or above the navel have considerable rise. But whereas pants have a crotch that determines how high or how low the garment should be worn, skirts are less obvious, and many skirts are meant to be worn at the navel!

Rise does not just determine how high the garment sits on the body, but it also determines where the garment begins to curve for the hips and buttocks. Unlike pants, it can be difficult to determine the rise of a skirt just by looking at it on a hanger. Rather, when trying on a skirt, if it just doesn’t seem quite right in the mirror, it might just need to be worn higher. Once the skirt sits properly on the buttocks recheck other angles in the mirror. A proper rise adjustment can drastically improve the skirt’s appearance from the front and sides.

Selection. Stick to the selected aesthetic criteria with leeway to fudge one criteria, but never more than one criteria. Also, a skirt that is too large, too loose, too small, or too tight will not only look really weird, but will be a disaster waiting to happen. However, an awesome skirt that is too big or too flared can usually be altered by a good seamstress at a reasonable price. In fact, a solid seamstress can work miracles with garments. I once brought an item to a Russian seamstress with the instruction to “make it masculine” and for $45 she did just that and it gets tons of compliments. If unsure as to a skirt, buy it and take it to an independent seamstress and ask what can be done to butch it up (seamstresses that design, make, or alter costumes are especially suited for the task). After all, a non-returnable second-hand purchase is not a significant financial investment and retail purchases can be returned if she advises against alteration.

Still Not Sold on Skirts?

The quickest way to “try before you buy” is what I call the redneck kilt. Turn a seamed muscle shirt (such as ones sold by Old Navy) inside out and step through the arm holes. Pull it all the way up to the groin, cinch it with a belt at the natural waistline, and fold it down over the belt. If it is too short, cut the shoulder pieces and raise it up more before folding over the belt. This provides more length but sacrifices the extra layer otherwise masking that anterior and posterior anatomies. Wear the redneck kilt around the house for a day and take a two hour drive to get a sense of how much more comfortable the experience will be on an even longer trip or while toiling away at an office cubicle.

Closing Remarks

The reality is that most people are too preoccupied with their own insecurities to care much about what other people do. Never forget that insecure people respect confident people. When all is said and done, we have to understand that before worrying about whether others will judge us, we must ask ourselves why we would even give a GDF about some stranger’s judgmental opinion.

I am sometimes asked if I have ever forgotten that I was wearing a skirt and unthinkingly let my legs sprawl. The answer is that this has happened only once in the eighteen months since I started wearing skirts but the circumstances were an unlikely trifecta (and it was before I learned of the aforementioned  elasticized half slips). First, the skirt was actually a skort with the short removed. Second, the skirt was two sizes too big (it was a 14 and I wear 10s and 12s). Third, I was sitting at a table. The table gave me a false sense of visual obscurity, the size increased the exposure window, and the wider cut deprived me of the modesty reminder. I later found out that a few people got a view from the far side of the room. Worse still, they didn’t bother to give me a friendly heads-up and instead gossiped about it. I would say that, more than anything else, I was disappointed in those who saw the wardrobe malfunction but said nothing about it. Moreover, any embarrassment that I felt stemmed from my mental lapse more than anything else. I read a post somewhere on the internet (Quora, perhaps) in which a fellow suggested that there was nothing wrong with men wearing skirts except for the fact that men lack the years of “modesty training” that women receive from childhood. That poster’s logic was absurd. Ask any woman if she forgets that she is wearing a skirt. The reality is that the “air-conditioning” comfort that one feels keeps the wearer mindful of the skirt and straight skirts will further keep a fellow mindful to keep his knees together. Apart from this, however, there is risk of catching the hem on various items like backpacks (or, eh hem, like the garment hanger of clothes draped over an arm). But there again, I have seen similar things happen to ladies so the thing for everyone to remember is that accidents are just accidents. Laugh it off and move on.

For most Americans, seeing a man in a skirt is unusual enough that they have not had the occasion to formulate an opinion on the matter. I choose to think that these are wonderful teaching moments. In fact, I even printed up some punch-out business cards on my ink-jet that I can hand to people to refer them to my blog post on “Why I Wear Skirts.”

skirts for men business card

As I have pointed out in my earliest posts about gender issues and skirts for men, one of my principal skirt arguments stems from gender equality in the workplace and I strongly encourage men to structure their skirt selections with the workplace in mind. While personal preference and expression are sacrosanct ideals, we are ambassadors of a social movement, and that movement is not served by selections that are too extreme for our fellow citizens to admit into their realms of normalcy. This is nothing new to counterculture movements such as post-Vietnam long hair or electric guitar solos of the national anthem. In-their-face approaches are sometimes necessary, but sometimes subtlety is more fruitful.

With all these advices in mind, I say, go forth confidently and enjoy your personal freedom! The personal rewards are worth the investment of time, thought, and energy.

39 Replies to “A Guy’s Guide to Getting Skirted”

  1. Great article and I totally concur with everything. I believe skirts are the best choice of clothing for activities such as walking, hiking, and should be for golf and other outdoor wear. I prefer “masculine skirts” that match shorts as much as possible. I like light weight denim or the same color. The seam up the middle disguises the fact it is a skirt. I have a few camouflage pattern skirts that are very good for hiking. I frequently visit state and national parks. I have never had a negative comment, stare, or worse. I have several skorts with the shorts removed. Women like them. My wife likes me in a skirt. I have a tee shirt that says “Real Men Wear Kilts.” I get a lot of positive comments from women when I wear it.

    1. Very cool, my friend, and thank you for the comment. As to running, I find that Nike and Under Armour have great, feather-light running skirts. Since your link did not appear in your comment, here it is for anyone who wants to check out your product.

  2. A very good article about something that might be a revolution. Thanks for being so exhaustive in your explanations. Your article should be considered as a reference.

    Skirts are clothes and don’t determine one’s sex orientation. They neither have a gender. They just have different styles that fits (or not) with one’s body shape. I personnally think that they give elegance when they’re well worn.

    I’m a man, from France, I proudly and bravely wear skirts in public. They’re quite short (a little more than fingertips !!) because I consider that they fit me better and after all it’s my choice. So …. why not ?

    You’re absolutely right that there are not any problem for a man to wear a skirt. Nobody protest (apart of my wife but she now accepts it). Only few people notice and very few look me weirdly. Once or twice they asked me “why?”. I just answered “why not ? Women can wear pants. So I can wear a skirt”. Till this moment. I’ve never been called “Madam” by anyone.

    Let’s be the soldiers of our cause !! Whenever the skirt for men become commonplace we ‘ll be proud to think “I was a pionneer!”

  3. I enjoyed reading your article. Lots of tips I find very useful. Sitting down and not exposing yourself is only avoided with underwear. In the case of kilts the front apron helps a lot and you can go commando easier, but not with skirts. I’ve exposed my underwear many times but then I’ve seen many women do the same.

    The focus on gender equality is very important, as you mention it. Men wearing skirts could help support women, and I’m glad you can wear your skirts in the workplace.

  4. Dear Brother in Spirit, (I don’t find your name somewhere),

    my name is Heiner, I’m living in the South of Germany and I found your post via wikipedia. In Germany I couldn’t find any website following up with this issue – ten years ago we got some but there seems to be no more life…
    I’m concurring with you: the comfort of a skirt is hardly to describe by words, and I think this doesn’t only apply for summer months but also in winter: you just have to add warm underwear, preferably leggins, which go with the respective skirt.

    It’s sad to see that so many men don’t even think about trying it, although they are open minded in many other spheres of life. A very good friend of mine told me today: “yes, it looks great, but I wouldn’t dare to wear it…” But why? What makes a skirt so dangerous for a man?
    Of course, it will take about ten years or maybe more from now on, that manufacturers will bring a wide selection of “male skirts” to the marketplace. But I think, it’s not the missing offer, that makes men hesitate – our saleswomen in the ladieswear sections are more than polite and ready to help, if a man asks for a skirt – and I have the conviction, that they accept his request with a lot of comprehension, not only because he increases the sales.

    So, if the missing offer for men’s skirts does not accout for men’s hesitation, there must be another reason. By the way, skirts are quite easy to produce by d.i.y. I sometimes tried and succeeded…
    As I have experienced the situation, there is one woman and a number of men, who bring headaches to me. The woman is my wife, who doesn’t show too much understanding towards my requirement of changing the fashion laws. The men are those, who aren’t in accordance with their masculine role. They are alerted by our skirts and react in a disagreeable way. Furthermore there are some youths, who are used to make a huge noise about things they didn’t know yet. Never mind them…

    It is about ten years ago, when I first started to wear some skirts in public. It was a big challenge first, because I knew that neither my wife nor people like my colleagues would applaud. But many other people did!

    Surprised about the sympathetic reaction of our second hand shop saleswomen, I enjoyed not to be called a jerk from the beginning. Paying about 5 € I was equipped with a light blue, long denim skirt, fitting perfectly to my hips.

    Strengthened through this first experience, I went to a party where I had arranged to meet a (male) friend, skirted as well. My wife was embarrassed, but the great approval that our friends gave to us, made her becoming calmer…

    Since then, I regularly went out wearing my skirt during my leisure time, and soon I added other exemplares, partly selfmade, partly bought via ebay. I even bought an old motor scooter because my motorbike wouldn’t work together with a skirt. But I never managed to get free from a slight uneasiness if being explored by people in our town, whom I knew namely but not as good as knowing what they might think (and talk) about me…

    So I kept staying in a uncertain condition. Away from our town, there was no problem, but the nearer to my home, the more uneasy my feelings became.

    Then we moved into an even smaller town in the south of Germany and I stopped wearing skirts completely. I felt, for the mainly conservative people, it could become a too big provocation.

    This is about nine years ago and again I explore my need for wearing skirts again. A few days I wore them at home and enjoyed the more or less surprised reactions of our visitors. But today I made the first step into the public.

    We have passed about ten years now and times went on also in the south. People seemed to be amazed, but no one approached in an uneasy way.
    So I’m happy, having done the first step to my new old identity.
    Now to my thoughts about your post from March 2018.

    – Unfortunately a lot of men do interprete a skirt as a sign for homosexuality. I often had to explain that… (Walls in mind are often made by concrete!)

    – I agree to your assessment, that we (as skirted men) are pioneers to a progression for a new egality between women and men. As well as some people do, I know.

    – The cut is significant for the appearance. First I thought, for a man it couldn’t be possible to wear a short skirt. This was triggered by the look on heavy hairy legs of men in the summer time. I didn’t like the sight. A skirt, I assumed, is an expression for a finer, softer and more “feminine” type of man, and hair was not matching my expectation.

    Now I found out, that a short skirt MAY match the view: for a unknown reason I lost my complete body hair two years ago and in this summer, when I wore short pants at work, my (female) collegues for the first time took a look at my legs, praising them for their fine shape (what makes me a bit proud of course…). Therefore I feel, hairy legs may be a general problem for a good appearance. Especially when wearing short skirts this will apply to us.

    On the other side, for the first time I tried to wear a short skirt in winter, now combined with fitting leggins and lo and behold, the shape satisfies and the complete appearance fits together…

    As you told, male body and a straight cut goes together very well and doesn’t bring too much doubts about the wearers will to be seen as a man. A short skirt “feminizes” a bit more than a straight long one, but the equipment features and the cut decides at last. I feel well in both cases now.

    – The fit: I recommend for every man, as long as we don’t get masculine cuts in marketplace, we should tend to bigger sizes and stitch down the shape as it is needed. Usually the waistband is the smallest benchmark, by which we are faced with. The hip’s might be too wide then but it’s quite easy to manage that. Much more than a too tight waist…

    – And last but not least…: The penile tumescence! Who is unsure about this item should dare to try a chastity device. They are not expensive any more and it’s an interesting experience wearing it for a time. Pay attention to the right form of the device (more lowering down) and you get the insurance not becoming embarrassed by the caprices of your mind and body… 🙂 (if you feel embarrassed at all, of course).
    Now, if you are interested to put this reply to your site, I would be glad. I hope, in Germany we will find a way to connect our comrades-in-arms again, as it has been years before. Times can’t be turned back, I believe.

    Thank you for your extensive post, which encouraged me to do what I do.

    Kind regards from Germany!


    1. Heiner, I’m so glad you found my humble post to be so informative and useful, and I had no idea that it had made its way onto the German Wikipedia! Your comment is much appreciated and and I’m sure will serve invaluably to embolden other men who read this post hoping to learn more about venturing into skirt freedom.

    2. I love your comment and personally I [believe] skirts don’t need to be made masculine obviously this is personal choice but I love the look of more traditionally Feminine skirts as is.

  5. Nice to see your article.

    Two years ago, I read Induvidual Psychology of Alfred Adler and Understanding Human Nature and other related books.

    Starting in mid-2019, I also started to try to break the line to wear skirts because skirts are not clothing with a single gender symbol.

    Your article has a lot of relevance to social psychology. The first action will be the most difficult, and it will be subject to many challenges and prejudices. The best way is to do it with action.

    Since the beginning of the change, I haven’t thought about wearing pants again. When making changes, I will do it permanently. The best way to combat gender bias is to put on skirts to let more people know that someone is already doing it. Already.

    The world is big, and you can’t see more different diversity within your own private world.

    The clothing itself should not be limited by gender segregation, and here I will say that it is driven by action together.

    Kind regards from Taiwan!

    Chen Yan lin

    1. Hi 陳彥霖 and thank you for the visit and for the comment. I infer from the multiple submissions that you did not have the smoothest experience. All visitors must have at least one approved comment before subsequent comments will appear, and I regret that this indicator had somehow stopped appearing (but it is now re-enabled). To make matters worse, the repeated attempts caused Akismet to flag all of your comments as spam and sent me no notice. Once I discovered it, I approved all your comments, but I eliminated the duplicates. Sorry for the trouble and keep skirting!

  6. Hi,
    Thanks for this, lots of good thoughts here, most of which I agree with. I am a 3+ years skirt wearer.

    Definitely will second your recommendation for womens’ sandals. I have a couple pair of slide sandals, one in a T-strap style, one with an oblique strap plus big-toe strap. Much lighter in appearance and feel than typical mens’ sandals. (I do have a pair of those, with multiple straps and velcro, which keeps them in place for easy to moderate hiking here in New England, where trails consist almost entirely of rocks and tree roots.) Loafers are truly a unisex style; depending on temperature, I wear them with no-show socks or knee socks.

    I generally agree with your views on colors, fabrics, and cuts, but I like my denim skirts, more comfortable than jeans or jean shorts. I don’t need belt loops or pockets, as I carry a shoulder bag (I need to carry an autoinjector in case of allergic reaction. That is an object you don’t want to carry in a pocket. Then I realized how convenient a bag is – no more emptying trouser pockets every night and re-filling them every morning. Grab the bag and go.)

    I sewed several of my skirts, and have material for more. I enjoy shopping for fabric, and learning how to work with various materials and techniques. Remnants of houndstooth and herringbone caught my eye; after the purchases, I went to the internet for ideas. Several pages (written for women) stated that both those weaves are inherently ‘masculine’ and that therefore the wearer should be sure to accessorize them with something feminine! Or, if you’re a guy, don’t. Certainly those weaves are widely used in male clothing. I would characterize them, and many darker-color plaid weaves, as unisex (I prefer that term to ‘androgynous’).

    Sewing one’s own skirts gives one control over the fit and drape of the garment.

    OK, tucking. I don’t. Summer, polos, untucked. Spring/Autumn, long-sleeve T’s, turtlenecks, untucked. Only if I wear a button-front, dress or business-casual shirt will I tuck in.

    Underwear: I prefer mens’ ‘bikini briefs’. Whatever shows, shows, but untucked shirts usually cover or at least de-emphasize.

    Thanks for doing your part to bring acceptance for men in skirts..

    1. Thank you for letting me know you dropped by for a read. That’s quite remarkable that womenswear was described as masculine enough to warrant feminizing accessories! If you can find that link, I’d love to add it and a screen shot on here.

      1. Couldn’t find the page that I remember reading some time back, but I found these:







        Odd to think that a pattern weave can have gender. I didn’t buy those fabrics because they seemed ‘masculine’, the colors and textures and patterns just appealed to me. And that’s another reason for wearing skirts: a much wider range of colors, patterns and prints work on a skirt, that I could never wear on trousers.

        1. I took a quick glance and the writeups gave me a good chuckle. I will work on integrating that content over Christmas. In the meantime, I have to say that I tried an untucked button-down this week and it had a very clear visual sensibility. I don’t wear many button-down shirts apart from a business suit, but it seems that I had not considered the way the vertical center and interrupted horizontal interacted with the verticals of the skirt. Some interesting perspective geometry that needs more contemplation.

  7. I have recently been wearing a very flowey bohemian style light purple and blue skirt around the house , my two children both girls haven’t questioned it and I just don’t see the male or female cannot wear things they want.. men must wear this.. women must wear this.. WHY? I’ve been wanting to brave the public but my wife and I believe children are cruel and may bully my children because their daddy wears “girls” clothes

    1. You raise a valid concern. It is certainly easier to be secure enough to NGAF as it pertains to ourselves, but not so easy when it potentially impacts those who are not yet able to assert their own agency. Muscular man in masculine brown skirt and blue polo shirt I’m not certain that you are looking for advice, but if you are, perhaps consider being less socioculturally “transgressive” and venture out in something more conservative (as I did in this image). And since it appears that you are in the UK, I would think venturing out in a Utilikilt would help clarify what social impact it might have for your children…that is, to see whether or not any teasing does occur, but it will be limited to being socioculturally out-of-step rather than “wearing ‘girls’ clothes” as you write.

    2. Aside from “skirts” there are kilts. And NO, I am not referring to the expensive wool type likes the ones you’d wear in a Scottish Parade but other types less expensive. As for you wearing a “girls school uniform skirt” like Catholic School girls wear you’re not you’re wearing a ‘MAN’S KILT’. And if tothers are too dense to see it for what it really is then they are just showing their stupidity kids and adults alike. And those are the ones you just ignore then.

      1. Hey, thanks for the visit and my profoundest apologies for the delay in approving your comment. I’ve been away, but nearly back to civilization at which time I will give you a proper reply.

  8. I am a transgender man (female to male, I am a man and I use he/him pronouns) and I stopped wearing skirts when I started transitioning, simply because everyone saw me as a woman. Now that I’ve started growing a beard and had my upper surgery, nobody makes that mistake anymore, and I’ve found the confidence to try skirts again.

    This guide has been incredibly helpful, as I’ve forgotten most of the tricks I knew for how to put together shirts with skirts (I don’t think I ever really knew in the first place).

    I never thought I’d be comfortable in skirts ever again, but reading all this has been a huge confidence boost, and a great help since I had no idea how to put together a masculine outfit with a skirt.

    Thank you very much. I really appreciate it. I just wanted to reach out and share my appreciation for the depth and sincerity of this article.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. Your circumstances never occurred to me when I wrote this nearly three years ago. It makes me very happy that I somehow articulated the ideas in a manner that would have such broad application.

      I love that your experience serves to underscore that skirts are not gender-definded constructs and that skirts (or more appropriately, non-bifurcated garments) are simply comfortable. I wish you the best.

  9. This idea that a skirt on a man has to be plain shows the persistent historic influence of English Puritanism, the French Revolution, the Industrial Revolution and old European sumptuary laws. Hey—haven’t you ever heard about “Solomon in all his glory?” Kathakali and Egytian Tanoura do not agree that men should remain drab, dreary, boring, suppressed and unadorned. Elizabeth Hawes, how can we help this guy’s limited thinking? Form does NOT allow URL entry look up DFW Seek Woman see 39,000 word historical item to be replaced by 550,000+ item.

    1. Hi Charlie, nice to hear from you again. I tried the search you suggested, but didn’t see anything that looked like what you were describing. On a side note, the comment form does permit URL entry, but my spam plugin probably didn’t like the content of the URL (either its target or its length) considering it to be traffic trolling. Linking a specific site rather than a search engine’s query URI would probably have more success. You might also be able to send it to me through the contact form and I can manually insert it into your comment.

  10. I’m semi public wearing skirts, on long drives and shopping, hiking and birdwatching and almost always at home, usually in a denim skirt or a light tennis skort. Like many guys I was amazed at how comfortable and freeing it is to drop those bulky and awkward pants and slip into one of my skirts. I’m still a bit cautious in public but so far any reactions have been neutral or (especially from women) positive- no comments yet but a lot of smiles! Far from being than a problem it is a wonderful stress relieving experience.

  11. Thank you. A very interesting and helpful article. Will reread again. I too tried my wife’s skirt this year 2021 due to a very hot July. Amazing, very comfortable. Still not confident to go out of the garden yet though.

    1. You’re welcome. It is a lot to digest in just one reading. I congratulate you on your budding “wokeness” and for taking the first steps. My first foray was the “redneck kilt” which I first devised in 2011. It made hours-long driving waaaay more comfortable. On the first few fuel stops I quickly slid on cargo shorts over it. After a few stops, though, I dispensed with that nonsense. I was, after all, travelling and interacting with strangers whom I would never again encounter. In 2013 I did the same traveling to a conference, but again slipped on shorts at my destination. It wasn’t until 2016 that I finally realized that an actual “ladies” skirt was the proper path forward, and that it all depended on the right style and cut and color. If your wife is sympathetic to your quest—and I gather that she is—have her read this article and accompany you to a thrift store. Her eyes will be able to rapidly spot the skirts having the parameters that I described. And for your initial fashion baptism, I recommend that you stay with 18″ to 20″ skirts that are not to long to be awkward yet not to short to be creepy. Consider a khaki or green cargo aesthetic like the Keen Newport or a Carhartt cargo. A good closed-toe trail sandal like the Keen H2 would build out the look nicely and strongly convey an overall “comfort” message. Take your ensemble for a quick test at a park. You’ll realize that teenage boys will be the only ones to snicker, a few females will compliment, and a few adult men will nod their envious respect.

  12. I am a heterosexual male getting very close to 80 years old, and just observed my 55nd. anniversary to a very loving little lady who I am honored to call my wife and soul mate. A couple of years ago we began trying to wear some matching outfits as much as possible, and that has been really fun, enjoyable and received many complements. Because I am rather small in stature, it has made it much easier. We have tops which come from both the men’s dept. as well as the women’s dept., and I have capris which fit me like any men’s slacks.
    My first trial with a skirt was a split skirt (culottes) which really look more like Bermuda shorts, and I wore these out without any encounter. I now have just received a true skirt (a-line denim) which I have wearing at home and must say it is very comfortable and I like it a lot. Now I need to muster up enough courage to wear this out as well. Your article will probably help me considerably in taking the plunge soon. Thank you for your inspiring post.
    As far as underwear is concerned, I find women’s cotton briefs to be the best bet for me. (usually just plain white)

    Thanks again for your encouraging article,

    Old geezer Bob Holzapfel

    1. Hey, thanks for the visit and my profoundest apologies for the delay in approving your comment. I’ve been away, but nearly back to civilization at which time I will give you a proper reply.

  13. I like that you are trying to encourage guys to feel comfortable in wearing skirts, but do we really have to perpetuate ideas about masculine and feminine aspects of clothing so that even when the taboo for men to wear skirts gets broken, we now have to deal with “men’s skirts” versus “women’s skirts”, so that now while skirts are not off limit to a guy, certain skirts remain so. Can’t we rid ourselves of the straight jacket of restricting what people can wear based on their gender? I especially dislike the idea that as a male, I should be wearing stiffer clothing, something you said somewhere. There is, for example, a small company that makes skirts for men – and all their skirts are made of heavy, stiff material. I think just to exude a male ambiance. But it’s uncomfortable.

    When can we remove gender labels from clothing? It doesn’t seem like you are ready to do so. I guess I can dream, but even once men wear skirts, it will still be an uphill battle.

    1. Hey, thanks for the visit and my profoundest apologies for the delay in approving your comment. I’ve been away, but nearly back to civilization at which time I will give you a proper reply.

  14. Well, I for like the idea of guys wearing a skirt or kilt. And your mention of pre European natives wearing pants is true, but there are many tribes in the southwest that have worn kilts/skirts as clothing either in ceremonies or in daily life. But when European influences came about especially christian, many of those traditions fell to the wayside.
    So the idea of wearing kilts/skirts is actually not new in America.

    1. Hey, thanks for the visit and my profoundest apologies for the delay in approving your comment. I’ve been away, but nearly back to civilization at which time I will give you a proper reply.

  15. Growing up in the 1960’s I spent summers with my brother and sister living with my Great Grandmother in rural upstate New York. Besides the daily trip to the farm stand for fresh vegetables, the dreaded 4H swim lessons, and catching fireflies, dressing up in Granny’s clothes was part of our entertainment.

    I have very fond memories of rummaging through Granny’s cedar chest and dressing up in her slips, dresses, stockings, shoes, and hats, and then parading around and having tea parties with my sister (by the time I was 7, Granny and I were the same size – despite being a giant, she was tiny). My mother took great pride in showing those pictures to my girlfriend (now wife).

    During the summer of 1970 the family spent a fortnight (2 weeks) in Edinburg living with a family friend who worked selling children’s clothing and school uniforms. We arrived and learned Mom arranged for me to be dressed up in a proper “kilt” school uniform (shirt, tie, and jacket too) She paraded me around Scotland the whole two week. I remember feeling that wearing the kilt was “cool” and just a normal thing to do. I was completely comfortable wearing it. Later in life my Mom reminded me she had a hard trying to get me to take the kilt off to go to bed at night.

    Now 2023, I have more skirts than pants in my wardrobe. Macabi travel skirts are a staple, I easily have more than a dozen kilts, some knit a-lines, and more. All what I would consider “gender neutral”, nothing flamboyant. If it weren’t for workplace safety regulations, I would never wear pants.

    I sometimes see people doing a “double take” when they realize I am wearing a skirt. It’s good to know some people are still paying attention to what’s going on around them.

    A few people I meet tell me they “don’t get why I wear skirts/kilts”. It is always easy to identify judgemental people – too bad for them.

    More and more often now, others, the curious and “open-minded”, don’t hesitate to ask me why, what’s it like, or where they can get one too, these people are always great and we usually end up having a good conversation.

    Men wearing skirts is nothing new. Men should all own a few and wear them occasionally. It might make the world a better place….


    1. Hey, thanks for the visit and my profoundest apologies for the delay in approving your comment. I’ve been away, but nearly back to civilization at which time I will give you a proper reply.

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