For men who want to ditch their tie-dye tops and sweatpants post-pandemic but keep the comfort, a surprising new trend has emerged: the skirt.

Skirts have been included in the autumn/winter collections of Stefan Cooke, Ludovic de Saint Sernin, Burberry and Jaden Smith’s MSFTSrep label, while longer skirts have been worn by the rappers Post Malone and Bad Bunny and the singer Yungblud. But it was Harry Styles on the pages of US Vogue who cemented the trend (in a Wales Bonner knitted skirt and a Comme des Garçons kilt), following other notable male skirt/dress moments (David Bowie on the cover of The Man Who Sold the World, Mick Jagger at Hyde Park, Kanye West in a Givenchy leather skirt).

The trend is indicative of how the pandemic has unshackled men from their dress codes. And what’s more freeing to your legs than a skirt?

Jaden Smith, right, wears Louis Vuitton.
Jaden Smith, right, wears Louis Vuitton. Photograph: Courtesy of Louis Vuitton

“I want to celebrate the freedom of expression,” said Burberry’s Riccardo Tisci in February when he unveiled his menswear-focused collection, which featured pleated skirts and shirt dresses.

“I love the idea of men in skirts, I find it very liberating,” echoes Ludovic de Saint Sernin.

Mark Bryan, an influencer who posts arresting selfies to his 410,000 Instagram followers showing him posing in various skirts in different urban surroundings, said: “It offers me more than the traditional men’s trouser.”

He said he receives very few negative comments (“about 5{a38ddb2ded6b05e28c8ae73a8db0e271c21f7193684bd9e4e28acae292f81d99}”) about his attire when he’s out and about. The majority are positive. “I get a few women that will approach me and say I look nice,” he said. “They usually ask me where I get my shoes from. If a man approaches me, he will ask something like: ‘How can you walk in heels’?”

For De Saint Sernin, the element of subversion appeals. “It’s just really fun, I guess, being able to wear something that usually belongs to womenswear, and at the same time keeping the look believable on a man.”

Yungblud poses on the red carpet during the Virgin Atlantic Attitude awards in London last December
Yungblud poses on the red carpet during the Virgin Atlantic Attitude awards in London last December. Photograph: Attitude Magazine/Getty Images

His new collection features a Swarovski crystal skirt in a blue, orange and tartan pattern. “At [my label] the skirt is quite mini to be honest, which is super freeing but also you’ve got to watch it a little if you want to keep it classy.”

But could the men’s skirt ever go mass? “To become truly mainstream, men’s skirts would need to combine the pencil skirt with a multipocketed work trouser,” said Prof Andrew Groves, the director of the Westminster Menswear Archive at the University of Westminster.

De Saint Sernin said: “It’s probably going to take a little while before it’s not a complete surprise to see a guy in a skirt in the street. I definitely support it though and want to see it more often.”