Kicking the structures of gender out of the window, 61-year-old Mark Bryan, an American living in Germany, believes that “clothes have no gender.” Bryan challenges gender stereotypes with his everyday outfits, wearing skirts and high heels to office. Working as a robotics engineer, Bryan is straight, married, and a father of three kids.
He started wearing skirts and heels because of all the monotonous fashion options for men which only include shades of blacks, greys, navys and browns. The lack of prints in man pants also bothers him. In an interview with Bored Panda Bryan said, “I dress like this because I can. Just to be different. I have always admired the women that wore tight skirts and heels. Not sexually, but the power they presented. I don’t dress to be sexual, but to dress like any professional woman would. To me, clothes have no gender. I prefer skirts to dresses. Dresses don’t allow me to mix the genders. I prefer a ‘masculine’ look above the waist and a non-gendered look below the waist. It’s all about clothes having no gender.”
He also believes that somehow, wearing heels makes him feels empowered. “In all, maybe having the inner strength to have the confidence to wear non-conforming clothing has also given me the confidence and strength to handle my pressures at work,” he told Bored Panda. Happily married for eleven years, Bryan said, “my wife often makes suggestions on what I should wear. My daughter wishes she could borrow my shoes at times.”
While women around the age of 30-40 compliment him, men tend to make comments or ask questions about his sexuality but barely compliment his appearance. “You cannot be afraid. Some people are like animals, they attack the weak. Show confidence and show the world you are not afraid and nobody will bother you. The only fear you have is fear itself,” he said as an advice to men who want to wear skirts or heels. “I am old enough to remember that in school, the girls could not wear pants. Pants have now become a non-gendered article of clothing. So why can’t skirts and heels be non-gendered?” he said.
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