This comment was from Jameseq on the post MetroseXY Movement
I can think of 2 periods in history where dresses and trousers were part of men’s clothings, and men preferred to wear dresses.
1. Romans thought that general trouserswearing a sign of barbarism, sure might have to wear trousers in cold climates or for sometimes riding horses. But a dress (the tunic) and robes were the clothes of a civilised man. I remember a documentary saying that Germanics were the butt of jokes for their trouserwearing in Rome.
2. In Song China, floor length robes were the clothes of the aristocratic men. With trousers (an import from the steppe horseriding nations) and blouse for the artisans, labourers, soldiers, merchants etc. Wealthy merchants , particularly the new, preferred the dress of the aristocrat. p129 Gernet, Jacques (1962). Daily Life in China on the Eve of the Mongol Invasion, 1250–1276.
The polo shirt craze of a year or so ago, sold cos it associated and pushed images of the shirt as being desireable because it was the clothing of the elite, clothing of the wealthy, of exclusivity, of polo games, of luxurious living – It worked. Young men from lower income background bought into the association.
So one way to reset the social meaning of clothing is associate dresses and skirts with luxurious freedom from work, like the polo shirt advertising did. Advertising that depicts elite young men showing they do not have to wear trousers, as trousers are workwear – for those who need to work. If successfully advertised, Young men from lower income backgrounds would do as they did with polo shirts – want to appear that they are upwardly mobile and are going places. They too will start wearing dresses and skirts again.
photo: papertygre / flickr