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Myself in Public

Skirts Generally & Brief History

Trousers for women started to become more fashionable in the 1970’s than in the 60's although a small few did start to make a stand as far back as the 1920’s after WW1. After WW1, in the UK, it ceased being a prisonable offence for women to wear trousers. Some women preferred trouser wearing being involved in manual work back at home on the land and in factories where obviously trousers were more practical. During the WW2 this happened again but still by the early 1960's virtually all women still wore skirts/dresses all the time and certainly for any form of social/leisure activities. In the 1960's with the 'happy movement' pop concerts etc younger women started to wear trousers a bit more but not in the main day to day life. Even as far as the early 1990's, the majority of women still wore dresses/skirts for social/leisure activities where practical and many work environments had specific dress codes for both men/women. These days work dress codes are very much relaxed for women yet mens is still an expected stereotypical image of how men should appear.
It is claimed that the trouser revolution for women took place in America at around 1972 when women won the right to allow children to go to school in uniform the same as the boys. 
Men’s traditional dress has been trousers but only since the Industrial Revolution or the mid 1700's. Previously men wore tights and pre 1600 tunic/skirt style outfits including going to war. The current expectation of men in trousers, jacket, ties, suits etc really came into fashion in approx 1835 and it is generally accepted that Beau Brummell set the standard. This was after the Industrial Revolution got fully established and many "office" style new jobs created with the increase of professional services like banking, stock brokers, lawyers etc when the Wests capitalism was not only born but boomed. Pre 1750, unless you were in the High Society or worked in service for these people, all occupations were based on the land, be it agriculture, mining, army/navy and ancillary services. Mens/womens wear pre 1600 was similar. 
 
When you look back in history trousers were not traditional men’s clothing. Until late Medieval times both men and women wore similar garments and for many years earlier. Remember, true pictures/paintings really only date back to 1600’s. There are none pre 1600’s and evidence is only contained in writings for descriptions or carvings. Forget the films of today depicting, history as that is human applying today thinking's. Women wore skirts in the style of today after late medieval times. Most of men’s attire these days replicates Victorian dress style where womens bears no resemblance, or very little to the same era. The word petticoat stems from the Renaisance period and described a mans waist coat!
The word trousers came into the English language in the 17th Century. The origin is from the Gaelic word "trowse" a close fitting article of wear for the buttocks and thighs. It was divided below to form a separate covering for each thigh. The parts were wrapped around each leg separately and tied to the waist. When it became one piece the word trousers came into being and were a male only garment until a few women in the early 1900's pushed the bundaries and also when women were involved in 1st & 2nd World Wars but it wasn't untl the 1970's that trousers became a main part of the womans wardrobe.
Pre 1800's and the Industrial Revolution a lot of mens wear, certainly in the middle class and high society was very dainty and could only be described in modern day terms as feminine, unless you were in working class or to use the term in the medieval period - peasant.
St George. Patron Saint of England. A high ranking soldier of the Roman Empire, his conversion to Christianity was extremely dangerous, yet it inspired him to put down his weapons and personally confront the Emperor Diocletian over his brutal persecution of the Christian minority. A dissident pacifist, who paid for it with his life.
St George
This painting of St George - photo above - shows him clearly in a skirt! The painting, on display at Lincoln Cathedral in July 2013 was originaly unveiled at St George's Roman Catholic Cathedral in Southwark on St George's Day 2008. It was exhibited at St George's Chapel Windosor Castle and Lichfield Cathedral. It is continuing its tour to a number of English Cathedrals.
 
But that is history, what it was once. I base my reasons for men in skirts on equality, rights etc that is now dominant within our current world starting in the 1970's with feminism and the dramatic change in womens clothing and expectations of life since the 1990's. When I told freinds and families of my clothing preference, one very elderly woman, then 93, a freind who has no issue on men in skirts either, did say to me that change to be accepted by society needs to move slowly. I'm not convinced that the drive of the modern woman since the early Ninties is that slow!
One argument against men in skirts is that women do not actually wear men’s clothing. Female trousers and t-shirts are and always have been unisex, some argue. This may be so now, but only since the 1970's. However, as time has gone by, to be fair to the young generation born since and during the eighties they have not known anything else.
Since the early Eighties the majority of female clothing has lost all femininity and has a manly/macho appearance - except when skirts/dresses are worn. A lot of it takes on the appearance of mens wear to such a point it is difficult to spot gender difference by clothing. Hats, baseball caps, trilbies, flat caps, ties, blouses are now called shirts to many women, even womens clothing sizing is gradually changing to 'S', 'M', 'XL', & 'XXL' which apart from male trousers and shirt sizes mens has always been so. Ties, lumber jack style shirts etc are now adopted into womens wear to provide this superior masculine image. Footwear and watches are now very, very similar to traditional male wear. I have a pair of open strapped sandals, actually baught at M&S Menswear Dept. So often I see women in similar ones! ‘T’ shirts were invented for men back in the late 1890's, early 1900's who did labour intensive work such as the oil and mining industres for ease of change and washing. This was the same for jeans. Hooded sweatshirts are popular, quite honestly the majority of female dress now takes on the manly, macho style entirely. Pre 1990's this was not the so, most of womens wear was distinctly different from that of traditional mens wear including watches hats shoes etc. History and historic photographs pre 1990's confirm this if you need to question this point. Womens jeans are no different to those of mens, even T-shirts apart from those that have been elaborated with "decoration" but printed slogan versions are no different to mens. Virtually all the mens wardrobe since the 1970's has been adopted and made unisex.
The difference to us humans is what separates mens from womens and that is a label - women’s wear or mens wear. Whether it is found in women’s departments not men’s departments, regardless of style or that many items look similar. It is those reasons, apart from human physcology that make all women’s wear today not mens and that womens wear is cut different to mens – so they argue. Remember a size 10 skirt is cut differently to a size 16, just as mens are cut different for waist/leg sizes.
Pre 1990's you could still go to the cinema, theatre, pubs, have strolls around town, parks etc where usually skirts/dresses were worn by virtually all females. It is only since 2000, perhaps early 1990's for some, that the majority of women wear trousers/jeans 24/7, 365 days with the exception of formal events like weddings, funerals, presentations etc but even now, trousers are appearing in these events by women, including jeans at times. It is only because many women in the early stages wanted trousers that retailers realised they had another market and once appeared on racks labelled as womens wear did the majority join the ‘band wagon’. I do recall shopping with my wife and even in the mid 90's, skirts/dresses were a good 90% and 10% trousers. Nowadays it is the other way round.
Even though some women started to wear trousers in the early 1970's, their was an expected dress code for women, like men, in many situations, and not just for work. When my wife started teaching in the late 1970's a female teacher, certainly in the area she worked was not allowed to come to work in anything other than skirt/dress and this continued well into the Eighties. From my experience, it is only since 1990's that women basicaly wear what they want, when they want, how they want. I have witnessed myself trousers on women at funerals, weddings etc over these latter years, when certainly pre-1990 that was a sight never to be seen, yet men are still restricted to clothing expectations that only started in the early 1800's. Our family photo album shows our female friends and relatives in skirts/dresses in the Eighties and Ninities even on days out, where now many do not.
An article written by JR Thorpe, May 2017 on a history of Men and Skirts.
 
 
This link is to an article about the wearing of trousers by women, a brief history.
Trousers are trousers, they have two ‘drain pipes’ joined at the top around a waist with a ‘zipper’ in the front, or at times moved to the side so they can be claimed women’s. They are basically no different to the traditional mans trousers. They say it is okay for men to wear a kilt, especially if you are from Scotland, but remember a kilt is a skirt, it has the same style/design, just like female trousers and male trousers are the same style/design. Clothing is a means to keep warm but also reflect ones personality. A two holed garment is no different to any style of two holed garment. Likewise with three holed garments. I have noted comments on the internet by some women that a skirt is to feminine for a man. Why then are trousers not manly for a woman, especially when the majority of women wear jeans that a simialr to men, chequered shirts similar to men, (known as lumberjack style), baseball caps similar to men, trainers, similar to men etc.
I have also noted on the internet many women saying men should be allowed the same freedom as society allows women in clothing. Some go as far as saying it is no harm for a man to wear a Sarong. Now once again mens dress code is being dictated to. How many women will tolerate being dictated to as to what they should wear. I don't think many, if any, would based upon their drive for freedom of choice, rights etc. The Sarong is an item of clothing traditionally worn by men in Asia and the Far East regions but if you search the internet for Sarongs you will see, womens Sarongs! As a Sarong is basically a wrap around item how does a womans Sarong differ to the mans? Just like the Kilt is a long standing traditional form of dress for men in Scotland, why should a Western man who chooses freedom of choice be told to wear a garment from elsewhere in the world and adopt another cultures dress. Did the Western woman when they ditched the skirt/dresses (unless it's a hot day) in the masses since the 1990's? No they simply adopted most of clothing styles which Western men are confined to by society, stuck the word womens wear in front and it's a traditional female garment.
 
We claim to be a tolerant and understanding nation these days. Tolerance and understanding only exists when barriers and differences are not frowned upon. I have heard a comment myself about men not wearing skirts in front of children as a child could become confused. That is their view but did women think of this when the push to ditch skirts and the feminine touch of pre-80’s/90’s consider this. Did the women of decades ago when a minority started to put on what had been traditional men’s wear consider this, again obviously not. I have also heard women say I love my trousers, I will not be in anything else. Very interesting for the era now demanded by most women and what is demanded of us men.
 
 
An open and free dress code is absolutely fine with me provided it is not gender biased. If a man is to be held to a tight and narrow expectation of dress and remain traditional then so too should women.
 
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