There are a few taboos left in fashion, but none of them are about gender. Men have been wearing skirts for years and designers like Thom Browne and Rick Owens have made them a must have. (Of course, fashion historians will remind you that boys wore dresses until puberty, and critics will point to Yohij Yamamoto, Raf Simons, Jean-Paul Gaultier and others who spent the ’90s putting on men in skirts on the podium). Harry Styles in a Gucci dress or Chopova Lowena skirt might create a rage among right-wing commentators, but even for the less courageous dressers it mostly justifies a shrug.
This spring, a new variation on skirt species could do away with that shrug altogether. This garment is ideal for those who see the skirt as a bold fashion frontier that they can almost imagine conquering. Think of it as the missing link between the hottest basketball shorts and the liberating expanse of a ball gown. It’s already made its way into the wardrobes of many we might consider mainstream fashion barometers: Jordan Clarkson in a Fear of God plaid skirt; Jeremy O. Harris in Gucci, Thom Browne and His Own Platonic Ideal Created for the Ssense’s Works Lab; and Dan Levy, perhaps our best example of a waking fashion victim, who’s always on the front lines for all untested designer ideas, from unorthodox tuxedos to men’s tailoring.
What sets this new skirt apart is that it looks like an American sportswear classic – it’s the skirt equivalent of a faithful chinos. There are options from brands like Comme des Garcons and Rick Owens, which have been making skirts for men for years; as well as several versions of new entrants, such as the children’s line from the Berlin club of Stephano Pilati, Random Identities. There are skirts from brands that have taken to the forefront of fashion, like Charles Jeffrey Loverboy and Situationist, which now feel at the heart of the fashion compass. Schoolgirl skirts layered over stacked jeans were a recurring look in Hedi Slimane’s hit TikTok-inspired spring 2021 collection. What all of these skirts share is that they resist provocation, and instead are in a way you might describe as “pulled together.” These are sober, classic, even men’s skirts tasteful. When Dan Levy wore a Thom Browne skirt suit to the Emmys last September, the response was, “So what?” With big boots and a tailored jacket, it just looked like a separate suit.
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