Men who wear skirts and dresses (and pantyhose)

Why should a male have to identify as a “transsexual” (or a “female”) to be able to wear femme clothing to work? That seems to be the bottom line of a recent court case in Puerto Rico, which I am not going to get into here.

But I’ve pointed out the double standard before: women have much more freedom than men do when it comes to attire. Women can wear men’s clothing in the workplace — as long as it is appropriate for the type of job they are doing. But men don’t have the same right. In short, men do not have equal rights when it comes to attire.

Anytime I do a post in either of my blogs about men who wear pantyhose and skirts, the blog hits soar. I get personal emails from guys — around the world — applauding me for speaking out for them. In both my blogs, old posts on the subject still draw a lot of hits.

I suspect the rules and laws are pretty murky about it all, and that it is largely up to employers to set their dress codes. Certainly, it would be discrimination for an employer to tell a trans person that she cannot dress en femme in the workplace.

But what if a man, who does not identify as trans, wants to wear a dress or a skirt to work? Shouldn’t he have the same freedom of presentation in the workplace that women and (most) “transsexual” people have?

Jillian

37 thoughts on “Men who wear skirts and dresses (and pantyhose)

  1. Well let me be the first to appluad you here for saying the … well it should be if its not, but the obviousness of this double standard. I ove wearing pantyhose and nylons and I serve in the Army and am forced to wear such things under my uniform in order to be the real me, even if the basic mentality is uniformity!!! Thank you for stating what so many others should be thinking!!!

    Like

  2. I am straight and I started wearing fem things in the past 2 years so much more selection than jeans and a t shirt or dress pants and dress shirt. I have a lot of fun shopping and have been complemented by my fem friends on how well put together my outfits are. I dress fem about 25% of the time and enjoy getting in touch with my fem side. And it helps me understand women a lot more especially what it takes to wear heels all day long!

    Like

  3. > Shouldn’t he have the same freedom of presentation…

    Absolutely! Any form of sexism should be stamped out, and whilst sexism is still (sadly) much more of a problem for women than men, in the subsection of life that is encompassed by gender expression, the male gender ‘box’ is by far the most restrictive.

    Curiously, though, although this particular little branch of sexism discriminates mostly against men, it’s as much ‘enforced’ by men as by women (possibly more so.)

    Like

  4. I am straight, and neither trans, nor femme. I’m pretty masculine and so could never pass as a woman. I simply find skirts incredibly comfortable. I usually wear utility/cargo skirts, which I find suit me as a man more than would a flowery/lacy skirt. I look forward to the day when this is considered acceptable in society, and I recently started blogging to raise awareness on the matter.

    Like

    1. Sourround yourself with the right people and you are fine, instead of waiting for Santa Clause to bring you fashion freedom and freedom of expression. I would consider to wear a neon pink knee-long skirt with black tights and a hoodie.

      Like

  5. Thanks for posting this. Like Equality Matters, I’m just a straight guy who finds that a skirt is MUCH more comfortable than pants or shorts. I’m a little less strict as to what kind of skirt I wear, but prefer to keep them around knee-length, that way they look more like a pair of shorts or a kilt.

    Like

  6. “Women have much more freedom than men do when it comes to attire.” I am free to work outside bare chested. Women have much less freedom to be topfree than I do to wear as skirt.

    Like

  7. I do agree with your post but as a cd that loves wearing womens clothes as a male I see it as we do have the right. We just need to claim it. I wear only womens clothes and yes some people like to smirk but I also get lots of compliments.

    Like

  8. Why should a garment originally worn by men be seen as womens attire? Why shouldn’t men be able to wear what they want without being sigmatized as gay, trans or whatever. Is a woman in trousers a lesbian or a trans?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I like your post about men in skirts. Well, as almost all people know, the skirt originally is a men’s garment. Knowing that I asked my employer wearing a skirt because I have to wear support stockings all the time which I can’t use under pants.
    The employer’s answer was quick, a YES, but added that I have to wear for formal events a black skirt with black stockings and shirt with tie.
    I can live with that.

    Like

  10. I think that anyone should be able to wear anything they want without being labeled something like gay, queer, ts,etc. Why do we need labels anyway? Is why I started the Facebook group Mens Fashion Freedom.

    I also blog about men wearing nail polish openly at http://www.menwithpaintednails.com. Hope you’ll come check these out. I get 300 visits a day to my blog, so there is a growing movement for men to be able to express themselves in traditionally feminine ways and I like it.

    Like

  11. Absolutely! Any form of sexism should be stamped out, and whilst sexism is still (sadly) much more of a problem for women than men, in the subsection of life that is encompassed by gender expression, the male gender ‘box’ is by far the most restrictive.

    I don’t think you could back up those claim in an objective manner. Stop spouting feminist drivel.

    Female boxers whined about not being able to wear boxer shorts in the ring and are restricted to skirts while men are restricted to boxer shorts. They called these dress code sexism, while the only sexism who exists now in the league is created by them. They have a choice just because they are female.

    “Women have much more freedom than men do when it comes to attire.” I am free to work outside bare chested. Women have much less freedom to be topfree than I do to wear as skirt.

    You aren’t allowed by leviathan to expose your cock and balls to the public eye, too. Biological differences doesn’t count, cuz they concern in similar manner the opposite sex, too and they are irrelevant to the whole picture.

    Like

  12. I am straight, and neither trans, nor femme. I’m pretty masculine and so could never pass as a woman. I simply find skirts incredibly comfortable. I usually wear utility/cargo skirts, which I find suit me as a man more than would a flowery/lacy skirt. I look forward to the day when this is considered acceptable in society, and I recently started blogging to raise awareness on the matter.

    Who cares about the artificial entity society? It is more important to wear something for you, not for anybody else and sourround you with the right people.

    Like

  13. From OHRC: “Under the Ontario Human Rights Code, discrimination and harassment because of gender identity or gender expression is against the law. Everyone should be able to have the same opportunities and benefits, and be treated with equal dignity and respect including transgender, transsexual and intersex persons, cross-dressers, and other people whose gender identity or expression is, or is seen to be, different from their birth sex.” – See more at: http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/code_grounds/gender_identity#sthash.6BJ7KRCE.dpuf

    With the above in mind – in Ontario at least, a (cis) male could wear skirts, dresses, pantyhose etc. It also works the other way for women – your employer can not tell you to dress more feminine.

    Like

  14. I’m a man and I wear skirts/women’s clothing in public 24/7 365 where practical. My site http://www.theskirtedman.eu states why I do and why men should if they wish. I certainly do not seek permission from the wider society having pre-2010 been expected as a man to ‘toe the party line’ with regards expectations of men. I’m a modern man, straight, married, live by equality for all and since 2010 will stand my ground with anyone who dares tell me how I should be within society. I do not feel trapped in the wrong body either, I simply prefer personality, character in clothing and have no desire to partake in traditional male activities like football, rugby, beer drinking etc. Freedom of choice, equality, and rights applies to all regardless of gender provided it does not do physical harm to the wider civilised society. Is this not the fundamental point of Feminisim. Maintaining gender protectionism is simply the ‘status quo’.

    Like

  15. All of this comes down to choice, if you as an individual are able to make it.
    Wear a skirt, wear trousers, as a guy that’s never easy, girls take note.
    The girl trouser choice revolution happened, the man skirt choice will happen too. I’ve no idea when, but it will, embrace and encourage your guys.

    Like

  16. What a great article. I wear pantyhose frequently and do not consider myself a crossdresser. I have tried skirts, but because there is still such a stigma I feel too self conscious. Perhaps I’ll get my nerve up because it is when men wear these things publicly that they will become more accepted.

    Like

    1. Brian, one way to test the waters so to speak is to buy a Kilt and wear that out. That’s how I started and I find no one says anything, unless it’s positive, and that’s usually women. I’ve work a plain skirt several times as well and am getting more and more comfortable with doing so in public myself. I think we imagine it to be way more difficult to pull off than it is. Sure, some will stare, but do we really care?

      Like

  17. Fabulous article, Jillian. Marlene Dietrich never became a man just so she could start wearing trousers, and men should not be forced into changing their sex just because they want to expand their wardrobe choice. It’s just silly and only reinforces tired old stereotypes instead of challenging them.

    I’ve just purchased two smart office skirts specifically for the office, having grown wearisome of the blended but bland look at work. Ironically, I’m not brave enough for them yet until my two office parties (one next week, one during the silly season) are out of the way, each of which I’ll be attending in party frock, hose and heels — now, how’s that for an ice-breaker!?!?

    Weird thing is: everybody at work knows, and I’m working for a huge Californian player in the network technology market noted for progressive employment protection policies. So the only person who really prevents me from being me is, well, me. Time the world got over itself and got used to us … so c’mon guys, be courageous, be visible, be authentic and be AWESOME!

    Like

      1. I did it. I stepped-out and stepped-up. I was celebrating from 1600 Wednesday to 0230 with 86 of the finest people on the planet (my lovely coworkers), in a local hotel with other guests present.

        I was in minimal (but sufficient) makeup, polka dots, hose and heels. I had on a pair of sparkly studs and oe of my favourite perfumes, Si Lolita by Lolita Lempicka (a gift from my wife and quite appropriate I think). Other than that, I was me, Iain, with my own somewhat short but vibrant coloured hair (violet-red).

        I had a few quizzical looks from by-standers and staff, but no comments and nothing to be concerned about. I had a definite sense of having my people around me and felt untouchable. My coworkers were awesome and the reaction was great, even across the rich cultural boundaries that exist within our organisation. One of my Nigerian (Muslim) friends came in the next morning, put his hand on my shoulder, shook my hand and said I looked excellent in my dress. Support from the ladies in the organisation was fantastic. Lots of questions, lots of dialogue, and I think it went very well.

        I felt good that I had gone as far as I possibly could short of pretending to be something I’m not, a female. I think it was important for me to try it and I’ll definitely keep it up. I felt visible and I felt authentic, and I’d recommend others try it if they possibly can.

        Like

  18. Jillian wrote: “Shouldn’t he have the same freedom of presentation in the workplace that women and (most) “transsexual” people have?”

    Off course we should. We should have the freedom to be ourselves. We should not have to be an actor playing a role of society’s idea of a stereotypical male, or female for that mater. An employer should only be interested in our talents and how we would perform them.

    Our fashion choices, our sex, our gender presentation, etc… should not be up for debate. Any ground rules on modesty should be unisex and applied equally. We are humans first and a gender second. We must learn respect each others choices, as an individual, including choices in fashion. We are not robots.

    Sure will look different but that’s the point. We’re all different people, unique individuals, who all look different including our minds.

    Like

    1. “Why should a male have to identify as a “transsexual” (or a “female”) to be able to wear femme clothing to work?

      […]

      But what if a man, who does not identify as trans, wants to wear a dress or a skirt to work? Shouldn’t he have the same freedom of presentation in the workplace that women and (most) “transsexual” people have?”

      I’ve been wrestling with this delicate issue for some months now. Like many here, I strongly disagree with the notion that men should resort to expensive, irreversible surgery just to be able to express feminine tastes at work, be that clothing, fragrance, make-up, hair-colour, choice of tea, whatever.

      Women have no issues being masculine, when they need to be. They don’t need the world to accept them as men first; they just do it either through necessity, or because that’s just how they roll. The first women pioneers who wore trousers in the early 20th century overcame ridicule and shame for doing so, the generations of women who followed now take those and other fashion choices for granted.

      Men (ok, some men) are equally capable of being feminine. Feminine guys need to look to those female pioneers as role models. And not all of these men need the world to accept them as women first. If freedoms are wanted then they must be taken by those who want them. We need to grasp the nettle, grow some spine, and just do something. Going against the status quo is never easy and overcoming shame is really difficult, but both need to be done. We need shock troops, not pansies🙂

      For three weeks now, I’ve been going to the office in professional feminine outfits. I work with engineers, mostly men and a few ladies. I feel great! One of the guys said to me, “It’s surprising how quickly you get used to it.” Another, a lady, called me back into the office when leaving just to say “By the way, you looked lovely today.”

      Yesterday, I went to our HQ in London, to a career event. Lots of HR, lots of other people, too. I felt normal. Even speaking to the guy in charge of the UK operation was surreal: he never even batted an eyelid. None of this acceptance has been contingent on my changing sex.

      I’m proud to be a Cisco employee. Go make change.

      Like

      1. Great story, thanks for sharing. This is how it should be, but unfortunately, most often isn’t, especially here in the US. But the more men choose to be bold enough to defy the standards society tries to impose on us, the more it will be accepted. Even if it’s something as simple as painting your toes, wearing pantyhose under shorts, a kilt, or skirt, it all helps society accept that men can look just as good wearing ‘feminine’ clothing as they can wearing clothing labeled as for men.

        Like

  19. Hi.I Live In Somerset West South Africa-ive been wearing Modified,Altered, Dresses,skirts,School Tunics for 40 years already-im 57,the absolute freedom of wearing what i want,how i want,mix & match fashion,yet soceity in my country is split into many diffirent race groups,cultures,we simply do it,because we are passionate about our fashion

    Like

  20. I love to wear a skirt and tights but im a little scared to do so outside fear of ridacule. maybe some day the time will come when that will happen.

    Like

  21. I would wear a skirt 85% of the time, but the wife is an old school extreme super conservative brought up that ALL males who wear skirts are gay… lI mentioned it and the only comment was:”Be prepared to get a lawyer”… Not interested in that nor throwing 40 years of marriage down the tubes… Old school learning is hard to change… I am not gay, have no intentionof doing so, just want to wear cofortable clothing…. She hasn’t worn a dress/skirt in 20 years!!!!!

    Like

  22. So – Quite a while since I posted here. I’ve been wearing skirts and tights out and about, probably more often than not on average, certainly the vast majority of my leisure time, and have been doing so for quite a few years.
    A milestone now: I don’t think that I had any negative comments whatsoever in the whole of last year!

    Like

  23. “Why should a male have to identify as a “transsexual” (or a “female”) to be able to wear femme clothing to work?”

    Truth be told, I do not have an cogent answer to this question. I will say that I don’t get the double standard and that if guys can’t wear skirts then women should not wear trousers-in a perfect world at least. Ours is far from that.

    Anyone saying that they have to rely on clothing to tell the men from the women have a far bigger problem on their hands.

    I choose to wear kilts, skirts and pantyhose outside of work just so I can have a difference in clothing from work. I work in a hyper-masculine environment; a guy wearing a skirt would likely not last very long. Too, workplace rules are there to protect the business as well as the employee.

    When I’m on MY time however, different rules apply. TKH

    Like

  24. wear if you dare openly for the public can be cruel when you go against the social norms I see nothing wrong with it wear what you want who is to say whats right and wrong if worn correctly

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s