Déjà Vu: Skirting the Issue

While many modern women can be said to wear the pants in the family these days, there seems to be another issue we’ve been skirting around. Men – in skirts.

Scotsmen have always donned their traditional kilts but skirts for men are becoming more visible…again.

It was very punk rock in the ’80s to have one – or know a guy who wore one. I remember picking up this issue of The Face magazine and thinking how sexy the spread was. It’s still one of my fave features of all time.

The Face magazine November 1984 on Exshoesme.com
The Face magazine, November, 1984

I had forgotten all about it, until I went to a mind-blowing lecture at the ROM years ago. Andrew Bolton (rock star costume curator at the Met) was a visiting speaker and discussed the finer points of the origins of menswear. I spoke with him afterwards and referenced the magazine (since he had spoken about men in skirts also) and instantly, he knew which issue it was from.

I must find a way to reconnect with Mr. Bolton. We clicked instantly – he – in his white shirt, forest green tweed jacket, black jeans, Westwood skull tie and police boots; me – in dark jeans, forest green tweed knee-length suit jacket, olive Kelly-esque bag and brown Costume National boots. It was a moment in the YouTube of my fashion memory. I am still sorry I missed that dinner afterwards.

But I digress…

Andrew B actually wrote a wonderful book on the subject – entitled Bravehearts: Men in Skirts – and the exhibition was shown at the V&A in London, in 2002 as well as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, in 2004.

Bravehearts: Men in Skirts by Andrew Bolton book cover on Exshoesme.com
The cover of Bravehearts: Men in Skirts by Andrew Bolton
Street kilt by Uth from the Men in Skirts exhibition on Exshoesme.com
Street kilt by Uth from the Men in Skirts exhibition
Men's sarong by Philippe Dubuc at the Men in Skirts exhibition in 2002 on Exshoesme.com
Men’s sarong by Philippe Dubuc at the Men in Skirts exhibition in 2002

I remember being at a fashion event in Toronto and Philippe Dubuc actually wore this sarong. Again, the words, drop dead sexy came to mind. It helps that he’s 6’35” and has French charm – knot to be tried at home, kids.

So all of these things were in my memory, until I came across this spread in Vogue Hommes Japan recently.

Neo punk in Vogue Hommes Japan, Fall 2009 on Exshoesme.com
Neo punk in Vogue Hommes Japan, Fall 2009

And while I’m not a huge fan of Marc Jacobs ( I know, I know, I’m the only one – I don’t get his stuff at all), I do like his new look and he has been strutting around lately with a variation of this kilt/sarong. It looks great on him and he is cheeky enough to pull it off.

Marc Jacobs in a kilt on Exshoesme.com
MJ, skirting NYC fashion laws.

Funny, don’t you think, that he’s carrying a Birkin and not an LV bag?

Then, of course, there is the master tailor Lee McQueen, who perfects the man skirt.

Alexander McQueen FW09 menswear 3 piece suit with skirt on Exshoesme.com
Alexander McQueen menswear show, Fall 2009

By layering it over pants, it looks almost like a blacksmith’s apron from a bygone era – a dark one. It’s one of the three elements in his version of the three-piece suit.

Perfect for the modern man, but oh, how I’d love one. Hey, equal rights and all that!

Want more men’s fashion? See another Fall look and some Spring things from Mr. McQueen. Not quite punk rock, but very New Wave at Burberry – parts one and two. And, well if you are Prince, you can wear just about anything, can’t you?

Image sources: The Face cover, courtesy of Daniel Gray, two exhibition photos courtesy of Richardzzz, book cover, Vogue Hommes Japan, Marc Jacobs, McQueen menswear.

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