Column: American fashion is losing out by restricting men

The wonder of skirts is for everyone, not just women.

Jessie Staley is a freshman studying political science and international studies at MU. She is an opinion columnist who writes about student life for The Maneater.

I adore dresses and skirts. They are comfy and stylish and don’t ride up my crotch all day like some jeans or slacks do. Dresses, specifically, are tactful. I may be asked, “What’s the occasion?” when wearing a dress. But really, I was just too lazy to try to find matching clothes. Some of the most essential outfits in my closet include a skirt.

But, sometimes while ogling my lovely and varying skirts, I feel a tinge of guilt. Men don’t have the pleasure of enjoying such necessary pieces of clothing.

American men’s clothing lines almost exclusively produce pants and shorts, with the occasional kilt around St. Paddy’s Day. But let’s be honest: A kilt doesn’t cut it. I mean, sure, it can be edgy with a Metallica shirt or festive with bagpipes, but there is so much unexplored potential in men’s fashion.

Let the men wear skirts.

From a practical standpoint, I predict it would significantly reduce the constant readjusting. If I struggle to keep the inseam of my pants from traveling north, I imagine the struggle is even worse for guys. With skirts, men would have more variety and comfortable bottom attire.

The fashion industry is losing potential revenue from skirt and dress sales. If I have learned anything from my microeconomics class, businesses that restrict or discriminate against their consumer base do not make as much money as inclusive businesses.

We idolize Roman and Greek art with men in drapes and glorify Egyptian deities who are pictured in tunics and skirts. Pants have only been around a few centuries and were created for men to ride horses.

Men are missing out. The ideology that skirts are for women is mostly a Western belief and not shared by all parts of the world. Skirts are standard attire in African cultures, the Middle East and, of course, Scotland.

Even in a New York Times report of the 2012 European Men’s Fashion Week, writer Suzy Menkes wrote about the growing comfortability between menswear and skirts, saying "male skirts are no longer a rebel yell since Jean Paul Gaultier first offered them 30 years ago."

As long as you are happy, comfortable and looking good, then it doesn’t matter if “skirts are for women.” Stop the stigma that fashion is dichotomous.

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