michael j. morris

How a Man Dresses . . .
13 February, 2009, 11:54 pm
Filed under: culture | Tags: , ,

A friend and colleague sent this to me this evening (Thanks, Karena!) and it has totally rocked my evening. I have been walking these lines for some years now, between what it means to “dress like a man”, “dress like a woman”, “dress like a man dressing like a woman”, or dress like a man with accents/items/accessories that are sold or marketed in the women’s departments. I think it started in thrift stores, seeing things I liked, the intended gender of which was open to interpretation. My first major transgression was likely my blue (faux) fur coat. And jewelry. Ever since I started making jewelry (which I haven’t done for quite some time), I don’t think I respected any longer the arbitrary assignments of gender to clothing and accessories. I wear “women’s jeans” exclusively, because they fit me better. I wear pearls because I love them, and because I grew up surrounded by people [women] I admire who wear pearls (mother, grandmothers, aunts, great aunts, etc.). I have historically found so much of men’s fashion to be boring frankly, and now that designers are finally doing things I find interesting, it is all beyond my financial means. So I make do, and making do has to redefining the assigned gender expectation of certain articles of clothing. Tonight I wore sensational black trouser pants from GAP with black 3-inch heel square-toed boots, a vintage pleated blouse with french cuffs, a black jacket by Isaac Mizrahi, a vintage white gold brooch, and a matching vintage white gold collar-necklace. I wore all of these things as a man, not as a man dressing as a woman. I’m not sure how successfully that expression is received by society, but maybe that isn’t the point. Maybe the point is something like the uncensored (that’s idealistic; perhaps what I mean is the less censored) individual, existing and expressing on his own terms, rather than the prescriptions of society.

Here is the article from the New York Times. I hope you give it a read.

And here are a couple of images from the article, and an image of something I wore to a public reading about a month ago. I offer it not so much as a picture of me, but as an illustration of the topic:




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