Men wearing skirts is commonplace in certain countries including Fiji, Myanmar and Bhutan. In Greece, it’s an integral part of the military dress uniform. However, nowhere has a skirt been of more cultural significance than the Scottish kilt.
A history of the Scottish kilt
According to the Macgregor and Macduff blog, the first mention of kilts was in 1538. At that time, a kilt was a full-length garment called the féileadh mor or 'the great kilt'. It was a five meter untailored piece of fabric that was wrapped around the waist, with the excess material draped over the shoulder. It wasn’t until the early 18th century that the knee length kilt we recognize today came about. Over time, different clans identified themselves with specific tartan plaids and colors.
The modern era
Jean Paul Gaultier is credited with the first designer to show skirts for men on the runway. They were first presented as part of his Et Dieu Créa l’Homme (And God Created Man) collection in 1985, wide-leg trousers with a wrap-over panel created the illusion of the skirt, "challenging masculinity and questioning clothing stereotypes", according to his website.
In Recent Seasons
No doubt due to the blending of gender norms and the desire by many to be non-binary, in the past few seasons, skirts for men have been shown on many runways, here are some of the best:
Fall/Winter 2021 Runway Collections
For the Burberry F/W21 menswear collection, Riccardo Tisci showed a series of skirts and kilts, mostly over pants, and a variety of jackets and coats designed with 'British style' in mind. It was a theme he expanded on for FW22 with an emphasis on the heritage of the Burberry brand.
Virgil Abloh's presentation 'Ebonics,' mixed American staples with other global influences, including plaid kilts and skirts under suit jackets.
Worn by model Lucas Chancellor, Goddard showed a Royal Stewart tartan kilt and a Fair Isle sweater with a a white shirt and suit jacket, accessorized by socks and ‘creepers’.
Fall/Winter 2022 Runway Collections
Virgil Abloh's posthumous show entitled 'Spaceship Earth,' look 14 worn by Gyuhyun Kim, was a show-stopping combination of a 'shacket' and coat with a pleated skirt over pants, all in black and green tartan.
Jan Jan Van Essche
For look 8, Antwerp's Jan Jan Van Essche showed a pleated skirt over grey denim jeans under a blouson jacket with a knit sweater and beanie.
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Look 55 was an oversized houndstooth skirt suit over a logo tee and rubber boots.
Alessandro Michele presented a collection in collaboration with Adidas. Look 39 was a striped sports coat black leather tie and blue shirt over a yellow tartan kilt over track pants. Accessories mixed Gucci and Adidas logos and other details.
Glenn Martens's collection for Y/Project included look 44: a double layered waist length jacket of denim and shearling under a silver nylon puffer and dark denim gored skirt with side splits over leather boots.
From Florentin Glemarec and Kevin Nompeix of Egonlab, look 23 consisted of a jacket, kilt and pants all in a neutral colored window-pane check.
From Dean and Dan Caten, a collection they called ‘Hippy Hiker’ and a bohemian layered mix for look 42 on Brandon, an embroidered pullover shown over a pair of tattered jeans and split from long tartan kilt.
Off the runway
Mark Bryan, who identifies as a ‘straight, cis male’ photographs himself everyday in a skirt and heels. He currently boasts 660K followers on Instagram (markbryan911). Further evidence that skirts for men are hitting mainstream fashion is the abundance of appearances by major celebrities wearing them. That list includes Pete Davidson, Machine Gun Kelly, Harry Styles, Bad Bunny, Diddy and Lil’Nas. Not to mention, the very masculine looking Oscar Isaac. Isaac made headlines at a screening of ‘Moon Knight' in London, dressed in a Thom Browne grey pleated skirt suit. All predictions point toward the idea of the man skirt or kilt growing exponentially each season.