By Greg Clark, February 14, 1925
How soon will men adopt skirts?
The wearing of breeches by girls and women has now become so general that the companion phenomenon may be expected at any moment.
High Park on a Saturday afternoon discloses twenty-five girls in breeks to one in skirts. The fashion so far is restricted to outdoor sports. You do not see the breeks on the daily tea hour parade on Yonge street. But they have come downtown. Toboggan parties, at the end of the night’s sport, are beginning to motor down to the cafes for a break-up luncheon.
Now, who is to be the pioneer in the matter of adapting the skirt to the male costume?
Two half-way measures have been attempted in the past two years. Last year, the very long-tailed coat was worn by some of the younger follows who have no other claim to distinction but their clothes. This coat tail was a sort of curtailed skirt. Then this year the extremely wide-flared trousers has made a move in the direction of a skirt. If you half close your eyes and take into consideration the long, slick hair of the gentleman, you can almost imagine that he is a lady, with his feet nearly obscured by the wealth of dress goods around them.
Still, these are only half measures. A skirt is a skirt, and to checkmate the ladies, who have stepped right into breeks, the men will have to step right into skirts. Stout ladies have no difficulty with breeks, but slim ones are known to have even adopted police suspenders.
A skirt anyway is a noble garment. It has a much longer history than trousers. Up until quite recent times, we all wore skirts. The Scotsman wears them still, and the Serb. The evolution from skirts to pants was via the socks. Under his long cassock skirt a man wore a little pair of tight pants called doublet, so that when he got into a fight, as he usually did at every cross roads, he could skin the cat out of his skirt and prance ready in his doublet and hose.
Then men got so really warlike that they carried the cassocks as a cloak and went about regularly in the little tights and long, thick stockings. It was only a short step into trousers.
But it is no longer necessary for a man to fight his way down to the grocer’s. Men have even come to leaving their clubs and walking sticks at home. A new era of peace has dawned. There is nothing to prevent men going back to the skirt or cassock.
And how much more comfortable that is than trousers any man who spends his Sunday in his dressing gown can tell. It is really very doubtful if the girls will adopt breeches as a regular mode of dress. They have little to recommend them. Breeches are hot, tight and unhandy. They expose the various deficiencies and enormities of construction, such as bow legs and knock knees. There are hundreds of girls who dare not wear breeks. There are thousands of men who really ought to wear skirts.
How warm in winter to wrap a heavy mackinaw blanket skirt around your legs, boys! And how sweet in summer to stride along in a filmy creation of dimity!
No pressing and creasing, no bursting through the knees.
And, with all concealed beneath the ample flow of a toga, a dignity for those whom nature copied off a forked radish.
Editor’s Notes: This article is obviously tongue-in-cheek. Though women had worn pants or trousers for certain activities for decades, it would still be uncommon in 1925 to women on the street wearing them for everyday wear. Breeks are a type of britches that go just below the knee and worn with high socks.
This story is listed in the newspaper as being by “G.C.” This was not uncommon for some articles at the time. I’m not sure the reason, as it hardly saves space. In Greg’s biography, it is indicated that sometimes James Hindemarsh, the Star Weekly Editor, would leave bylines off of stories when he was angry, but I don’t think that is the case here (I have seen articles with no bylines in my research).