How Women Claimed The Right To Wear Men's Clothes (And How Men Can Do The Same)
You know, for most of us wandering about the planet, there's never been a time in our lives when we didn't see women running around in jeans, in shorts, in harem pants. We were born into a world of equality for women. We had stickers in our rooms which said 'Girls Can Do Anything.' We were told that yes, we could be lawyers, bankers, surgeons, CEO's, world leaders and we watched women be all these things and more.
I don't think it ever crossed many of our minds that men don't have the same rights as women. Whilst we women have claimed the world for our own, men still reside largely in the areas they always resided in. This is especially obvious and especially true when it comes to fashion. Though there are a few brave souls who do step outside wearing 'womens' clothing, the majority of men interested in fashion must keep their desires hidden away behind closed doors. Those who insist on pursuing the dream of wearing women's clothing openly pay a very definite price – they often lose romantic partners over this, they are considered perverted, they are considered weak and they are targeted for violence by morons who don't stop to think that just because a guy is wearing a dress he's not necessarily an easy target.
Men are now facing similar challenges to the ones that women faced almost 100 years ago. But there is hope. For every man who asserts his right to wear what clothing he pleases is one more man who is being the change he wishes to see in the world.
I found these pictures in a Time Life special. They were taken by a famous photographer, Alfred Eisenstaedt and they offer a very real insight into the evolution of women's clothes for men.
This first one is of Marlene Dietrich, in Berlin in 1928. Unashamedly and with a smile on her face she wore a top hat and tails to the annual press ball. Alfred notes: "At the annual Pressball in the famous Hotel Adlon, Dietrich wore tails and pants, which was unheard of at that time. She had to stand very still because the exposure was always between half a second and a second. If someone moved I had to take the picture over again."
Not only was Marlene considered one of the sexiest and most alluring women of her day, she was also a strong woman, a woman who did a great deal for women's rights simply by having the courage to wear men's clothing.
Ten years later, Alfred took this equally stunning photo of Katherine Hepburn, lounging in what most certainly appears to be a man's suit.
The main detractors of men wearing women's clothing claim that men shouldn't wear it because it's not made for them. You know why it isn't made for them? Because the demand isn't there yet. Back in the 1920s, they didn't make pant suits for women either, and Marlene is most definitely wearing 'men's clothing' in the picture featured above.
As men come to demand more feminine clothing, manufacturers will start making it and selling it. Then the argument that these 'womens' clothes are not made for men will be defunct. We will see skirts and dresses designed for men to wear and eventually, all those who currently giggle, express horror, or otherwise disagree with the notion that men should be able to wear whatever they want to wear will fade quietly into intolerant history along with segregationists and other unenlightened people with very little understanding of their own history.
Change came because women demanded it, change came because women did what needed to be done. If they wanted to wear something, they wore it, eventually it caught on and nowadays it is considered mundane and commonplace. The same revolution can occur in men's fashion and all it takes is for men to stand up and start claiming the clothing they wish to wear.