Why women in trousers is not called ‘crossdressers’?

3 08 2007

When in the fashion businesss you meet all kind of people. When you are doing historic dance and and have a love for dressing up in 18th and 19th century (reproduction) clothes, you now and then get in contact with men dressing in skirt. Why are they called ‘crossdressers’ in our Western community? Women dress in trousers without being called anything special. Dressing in the opposite sex’s fashion is nothing new. The first case I have heard of, outside university theatre, is in the 18th century. The british ambassador to Paris is said to have attended parties dressed as a woman. He was never revealed. When dead one found ladies clothes in his wardrobe.

In 1920s Paris women were fined if found wearing trousers.

Several books have been written about the phenomena. I have not read them yet.

The subject is interesting. Women in office environment and career women dress the same way as men. Many of these women claims they have to do it to be taken seriously.

Is trousers a power garment? You have a say “who is wearing the trousers in your house?”. I know an american lady. She dress in huge skirts á la 1950s. She has told me that men opens the door for her, ask her if they may help her and so on.

If you are reading this post I would appreciate if you posted a comment.




10 responses

30 08 2007

Hi Bo,

I wear trousers all the time simply because I find them more comfy (and warmer in winter here in Scotland) than wearing a skirt. It also means I can wear flat comfortable shoes without looking like an old frump and thus walk more easily.

It’s nothing to do with power for me. It’s comfort and convenience.


8 09 2007

heya all

i think people are shocked when they see men in women’s clothing because of everything asociated with it; men were, and still are, often seen as strong, emotionally capable leaders of the pack, whereas women’s clothing somehow denotes vunerability. it is this clashing of these opposing stereotypes which shocks us.

23 09 2007
Cheryl Marie Cordeiro

Hello Bo,

An interesting topic that you wrote about.

I’m a Singaporean who now lives in Sweden. When I was still working a few years ago in Singapore, around 2000, I know of organizations in Singapore whose dress code did not allow for women to wear trousers in the office. They considered it too “manly”. I thought it amusing – a cultural thing I suppose. I felt, to a certain extent, that was discrimination against women. In my view, women should be allowed to wear whatever they wanted as office wear – in accordance to the organizational culture and if she looked presentable and not like a street walker.

Then I moved to Sweden (that was 5 years ago).

The feminist movement in Sweden is mighty strong. And many many women here prefer trousers. A subconscious choice? I really can’t say. But what I do notice is the general lack of feminity here – a personal opinion – since I do come from Southeast-Asia where the Vietnamese have the Ao Dai and the Chinese have their Cheongsams or Qi Pao and the Indians have their saris – all very very feminine in their silhouettes that make the woman something of a living goddess walking around.

So women in trousers in Scandinavia, alright with me but I’m wanting to see more skirts!

Then I start to think now… hmm… maybe the organizations in Singapore knew something?

I think what I’m looking for is an overall balance. I agree with you completely when you say how come women don’t get labelled as “cross dressers” when they wear trousers?

Heck, I don’t know myself. On my part, I think it’s male discrimination if men were called “cross dressers” for wearing skirts and women don’t get labelled such when wearing trousers.

Personally, I think one of the sexiest outfits a man can don is a kilt!

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro

23 09 2007

Hi Mathilda,

Don’t forget the men of Scotland in their kilts. The Arabs. Gualtier tried skirts for men some years ago.
I believe it’s wrong to forbid women wearing trousers. Until very recent women working in banks here in the UK had to wear skirt.

I agree with you about kilts. It would be cool to wear one!

23 11 2007
Jose Mari of Chicago

Yeah! I am a gay professional living in Chicago (now 17 years). I started wearing sarong here in the States upon my arrival esp. during the summer. It is very comfortable and keeps one very mobile and “free”. In the recent years, I became a very big fan of Gaultier and his skirts. I have worn them at the opera, formal events like the New York Wine Spectator Gala a few years ago and it conincided with M. Gaultier’s exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum. It is so much fun and feels so “liberating”.

I just started my own blog on the subject. Pics to follow.


24 11 2007

Gaultier is great! I would like to change what a cross-dresser is from being a man dressing in skirt to a man dressing in skirt and wear make-up. A male that want to look like a woman not only by dressing.

Thank you for your comment Jose Mari of Chicago.

26 08 2008

Hi, I believe it is partly due to the education, partly due to the fashion industry.
Since many years girls have the fashion freedom to dress what they want, because it is available to them and it is over the years widely accepted and everybody understands that they don’t want to look like and act as men.

Parents should dress boys with the same fashion freedom as they apply for there daugthers. So it will be accepted over the years that men are wearing men-skirts, and so everybody will understand that they are not cross-dressers.
Don’t call a scot in kilt a cross-dresser, if you don’t want to end up in a hospital.

Now men are discriminated in the office environment. No shorts, no shirts without sleeves, no sandals and certainly no skirts. While women are allowed to come as they like. High time to educate the bosses to.

Men are to often using other men as a mirror for themselves. Other men are not wearing it, then I don’t because I would look silly, or it may not be accepted. So they are conservatif, conformist and play on safe.

For women it is widely accepted that they wear tongs (strings), men wearing them are often called gay’s, etc … by other men. Why??

Many men do not shop for clothes, it’s their wifes job.

For the fashion industry there is still a lot of work to do.
There is not much time spend to design mensclothing. Since more than 70 years there was not much change in mensclothing. Trousers, jackets, shirts, sweaters, shoes they still look the same. Almost no choice in colors, gray, brown, blue, black and that’s about it.
Shops clothing area: +/-70% is reserved for woman, 20% for schildren, 10% for men.
Many new designs are not coming any further than the catwalk.

If there should be men-skirts available in every clothesshop and with the aid of the women to approve it and to buy it for their men, then there may come a + change in attitude by men about cross-dressing.

4 04 2009
John Travers

I think it’s purely a psychological thing….Men in skirts tend to wear them with a view to “feeling feminine” and wanting (perhaps even sub consciously) to be a woman…Whereas a woman wears trousers because it’s a fashionable thing to do,or because they think it’s more in keeping with their business environment.I think if you ask most women whether or not they get any kind of a thrill or sexual arousal wearing say a trouser suit the answer would be no.

27 12 2009

Those who say that men wearing MEN’S skirts are crossdressers are LIARS. They know very well that just as there are pants designed for women, there are now skirts designed for men. They are probably lying because they do not want men to adopt this fashion trend.

27 12 2009

Homophobia should be classified as a mental disorder.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: