Anyone who’s seen me in the last few years knows I like to dress well. It’s been years since I didn’t own a suit, and I live in sweater vests. I own a drawer full of vests, and I have grown very fond of cardigans recently. The thing with cardigans is they require something to be worn below, and I think a plain color t-shirt is boring. So instead I wear flowery shirts and rock a Hawaiian print Cubs cap.
I didn’t used to like flowers or paisley on my clothes because I thought they were girly. As I grew to realize how stupid gendered terms like that were, I never bothered to examine my clothes. Now that I have realized the error of this logic, I am examining what I think of clothing. I have realized the problem I have. Men’s clothing is so arbitrarily restrictive.
In high school a gay friend of mine pointed out to me how boring men’s clothing is, and I think I’ve come to agree with him. Don’t get me wrong, I love both my suits and my sweater vests, but I really like to wear a fun dress shirt with them. You have no idea how difficult this can be just to get some basics.
To be fair, I can have trouble find clothes my size period, but patterns are hard to find in general. You can get some subtle stripes and a few polka dots, but nothing striking. Of course the majority of these clothes are made for business and formal wear, and that’s fine. But it is a serious hunt for any sort of style. So, what about clothes not made for men?
To be clear, I mean style as in a subjective preference for appearance. I don’t care much for fashion, and I don’t think I ever will. But I know how I want to present myself to the world. I think of myself as a fairly businesslike man who likes color and patterns. Those are really hard to find. Clothing can be a small way of expressing our stances and thoughts to the world.
For instance, my recent adventures at the Women’s March in Sioux Falls. I wore a pink bowtie because I didn’t think it seemed right for me to wear a pink hat, but I could still show support. I really don’t have much expressive clothing, but I promise that is not for lack of effort. It is partially because of colorblindness, but that is besides the point. There just is not much available to me in general.
My girlfriend wears my sweaters, and I know plenty of women who feel comfortable shopping in the men’s section and that is great. I just really wish it could go the other way. In all honesty, I love the idea of wearing dresses and skirts. I have no doubt that a good amount of people read that and subconsciously questioned my sexuality and gender identity, and to the best of my knowledge I am indeed a straight man. They just look comfy. And there is a lot of fun things made with them.
Now, I know that might sound out there, the idea that a man would be anything but a clean cut and traditional business man is odd, but hear me out. There was a time where women wearing pants would have been considered extreme, and men’s fashion is heading toward lace collars and other traditionally feminine clothing tropes. I’m no fashion expert, but this excites me.
I’ll never be a trend setter, and not all female clothing appeals to me, I’ll still probably have sweater vests and khakis as a staple. Oh, and I live in the conservative and slow to catch on state of South Dakota at the moment. It’s a wonderful state that I truly love, but I feel like it’s safe to say we’re not known for our hough couture. But all things change with time, and I just want everyone to think about it. Because I would look great in a skirt.