Lately, Twitter and Instagram are flooded with the viral hashtag “Strawberry Dress Harry Styles.” It has prompted a discussion on whether men can wear skirts. In fact, men wear skirts in several countries, and it is regarded as a symbol of masculinity.
Ironically, in other parts of the world, social media campaigns are required to drive awareness and acceptance for men wearing skirts. Thankfully, the strawberry dress Harry Styles wore has turned the spotlight on gender-neutral fashion. Let’s look at a few countries where it is completely commonplace to see men wearing skirts.
In Scotland, men wear a traditional garment called kilts, which is a knee-length skirt made from tartan cloth. It comes in various colors and shades such as red, blue, grey, black, etc. Originally, it was associated with traditional wear, but now you can see Scottish men wearing it on a casual basis as well.
Fijian men started putting on skirts, locally called Sulu, to symbolize their distinctive identity under colonization. This differentiates them from the Gentiles and indicates their belief in Christianity.
You might be surprised to know that the Greek skirt, or Fustanella, is a part of the military uniform. Not only this, but the ceremonial attire is very popular with tourists. It looks like the Greek army has some competition from the Strawberry Dress Harry Styles wore!
In Myanmar, you can see men draped in an unstitched fabric called Paschou around their hips. This traditional skirt is extremely comfortable and allows unrestricted movement. It is very similar to the lungi worn in the subcontinent and is both comfortable and practical.
Lastly, the Bhutanese put on Gho with Kani as a part of their formal attire. They pair it with knee-length socks to complete the custom. The result is a very easy and sophisticated look.
The debate on why men can't wear skirts has been going on for a while, but it’s time to accept that fashion is personal, and people should be allowed to wear what they want. The truth is that there is no concrete social or biological reason to support the notion that only women should wear skirts. In fact, as discussed above, there are several countries across various continents where males put on skirts either traditionally or casually. So, why not draw inspiration from the famous strawberry dress Harry Styles donned? Brands that seize this new fashion statement are likely to become trendsetters in the industry.
Originally, the concept of clothing came into existence to cover the body and protect it from severe weather conditions, although over time, due to human creativity, fashion naturally became associated with it. Cutting and stitching a piece of fabric into a certain shape shouldn’t dictate how ‘masculine or ‘feminine’ a piece of clothing is.
Today, even top fashion designers and labels are moving towards largely gender-neutral clothing. Androgynous outfits are very popular, but unfortunately, they have been associated more with women than men.
Skirts are some of the most comfortable pieces of clothing. They allow unrestricted movement, and the strawberry dress Harry Styles wore is the perfect example of this. After Harry Styles’ iconic Vogue magazine cover look, skirts for men have now made it to the summer and autumn collection of numerous fashion labels like Burberry and Stefan Cooke.
Top fashion brands and designers are stocking up their collection with men's skirts as it will not only elevate their sales but also enhance their brand value. This can establish them as frontrunners for gender-neutral clothing in the industry.
Harry Styles Challenged Stereotypes with His Unconventional Dresses
In Dec 2020, Harry Styles urged the fashion industry to become more open and inclusive. He broke stereotypes with his photo on the cover page of Vogue magazine in a grey dress topped with a tuxedo jacket. Bridging the gap between feminine and masculine clothes, Styles had always been the inspiration for top fashion brands around the world.
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