In the previous Boys in Dresses post (which you can check out here) I outlined some of the different outlooks when it comes to men wearing clothing from the women's department. I talked about the spectrum, as I see it, of "fashion freestylers" that ranges from men in kilts all the way to androgynous boys. Within the online community, there seems to be a lot of separation and even animosity between these different outlooks, which I find unfortunate. A lot of the online forums for men in skirts tend towards the kilt side of the spectrum, often not wanting much to do with men who step too far out of a traditional masculine look.
Another topic I spoke about in the previous Boys in Dresses post was the "One item rule", that a man should only wear one item of women's clothing at any given time. I often see people say things like, "Let's get people to accept us wearing skirts first, then we can incorporate something else." I think the general idea is that a man wearing a skirt, tights, and heels openly as a man presents a very jarring shock to people's preconceived notions on fashion, whereas a man who has just replaced his dockers with a skirt is a lot less jarring, and thus may be more easily accepted. I reject this way of thinking based on one reason: I'm not waiting around for anyone's approval on how I want to dress.
Social perception defines what is viewed as masculine or feminine, and men are expected to stay within the masculine box. However, I think it is silly, and even outdated, to cling to such preconceived notions. At the end of the day, a dress is just a piece of fabric, cut and sewn into a particular shape. I just don't understand the need to put a gender label on that piece of fabric, to say that only girls can wear it. I'm going to beat a dead horse a bit here, but I have to bring up the elephant in the room: pants. It wasn't that long ago that people got in an uproar about women wearing pants. See, previously fabric made into pants had that pesky "for boys only" label on it, until women challenged that and took to wearing them.
As I said above, I think it's silly to put all these restrictions and expectations on people based on gender. With my fashion, I'm less concerned about masculine and feminine, and more concerned with body shape, and how something looks. For example, I've received a lot of compliments on my legs. It just seems natural to me, then, to want to show them off. If my legs look great in a pair of sheer tights and high heels, why shouldn't I wear them? If my body looks good in a dress, why shouldn't I wear it? Because boys shouldn't wear that? Well, why not, and says who?
I just don't agree that men & women should only look a certain way, that fashion choices have already been made for me based on what's between my legs. Don't get me wrong though, I am a man and I'm happy about that, I just happen to be a man wearing a dress. It's just fabric, garments chosen because I like the way they look and feel. The fabric on my body doesn't change the person I am nor does it dictate my sexual preferences. I ignore the gender labels on clothing, because I simply cannot imagine living my life as anything other than myself, unashamedly so.