I still recall the first time I wore a “Dishdasha” to school, the national uniform of the Sultanate of Oman back in August 1993. I have to confess I felt nervous and fidgety about the whole attire, thinking along the usual mundane car ride how my fellow real Omani classmates would react to my “New look”. It was in fact eventually so liberating once you adjust to how much leg space you are allowed; and achieving an unexpected run simply required a slight hand-gesture lifting of the garment, which kind of had a royal sexy appeal to it. Back then I never questioned a garment’s identity or what technical term the fashion industry would file it under. Skirts were skirts, and dresses were mum’s, Dishdashas were merely associated with culture and regulations and so was Mel Gibson in ‘Braveheart’ allowed on a skirt because he was “Brave” the kind of brave we only see in movies.
Today as I live in Cairo, walking through the Grand museum, I look at the Statue of Ramesses II in his wrap-around skirt, and I think, in fact maybe my “New Look” in 1993 wasn’t so new after all, and maybe Dior’s last Pre-Fall 2023 menswear collection that showcased men in tailored kilts and pleated skirts (at the Grand Museum, against the backdrop of the Giza Pyramids) wasn’t also so much of a “1947 New Look Dior” moment. Maybe it all started somewhere over here, somewhere so long ago yet so nearby, where men were braver in SKIRTS, where men were hunters and fighters in SKIRTS.
All this is all to say that YES! seems like skirts for men are back in 2023. We are starting to realize as men and especially men around my region, that possibly the idea of men in skirts isn’t too alien anymore, or at least to look at! (needless to say that we are still a bit far off from seeing it on our men on the streets) But being quite an evident trend in 2023, especially keeping an eye on the many designers and fashion houses that have re-introduced it as a garment (check out some of my favorite picks below), the skirt feels like it has come back differently this time somehow. Come to think of it, it’s such a beautiful garment to have tailored and then paired with a crispy white shirt, or just over anything really, like one of my favorite Balenciaga black tractor boots.
NOW seems like the time to consider wearing one and rid us from judgmental judgements. You kind of feel you woke up one morning and suddenly everyone knows that skirts were seen on men in ancient Greece and Rome. Kilts are the national dress of Scotland! The whole world is talking about ‘Genderless’ On TikTok the hashtag #boysinskirts has been viewed over 280 million times. There is an aura of exploring identity and experimenting again in the world of men’s fashion, which is healthy to sense that this generation has some space for expression. Though I personally like it when things don’t go too radical and feel plastered. I really hope that this time skirts for men do stick around for a while until they fall back into being a norm not a fad. Let’s try to celebrate our identities again especially as Arabs; we have exquisite national outfits, just one last thing to all the ladies out there…Watch out these gents seem to be stealing another item off your closet after the classical pearl necklace!