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Is a man allowed to wear a "dog tag" type of thing? Is it beged eesha?

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Most forms of "beged isha" (the prohibition on men wearing women's clothing) all depend on a given society's norms of what's called "men's clothing" vs "women's clothing." (E.g. a kilt is okay in places where men wear them!) While certain actions or categories may be objectively off-limits as "beged isha", I've never heard anything about a necklace-like thing being one of them. (Didn't people use to wear money pouches around their necks? Or better yet, in the Gemara they had amulets that you wore around your neck -- for men or women.) If armies have been using dog tags for all their men for (how long has it been?), it's hard to call this a "feminine practice."

Even if it were, I don't recall the sources but the conclusion on this topic I always heard was that if it's still clear that you're a man, to wear one item of women's clothing for some functional reason (non-decorative) is permissible -- e.g. stuck when it's pouring and all you have is a woman's rainhat, yet no one will mistake you for a woman; Rabbi Frand gives the example of a bearded man in a normal suit, wearing a sheitel just for the sake of Purim silliness. The same should apply here.

But as always, ask your rabbi.

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    i agree with shalom. if a man wears woman's clothing people will see that as abnormal behavior. unless you wear it in places men do were beged esha. – my rebbi's talmid Apr 26 '10 at 3:36
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    I understood beged isha as being based on the intent of the manufacturer. If the manufacturer intended clothing to be uni-sex, then it was. If not, then you'd go by who the clothes were marketed to. – Bruce James Mar 20 '13 at 16:33
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    @BruceJames, why should the manufacturer's intent matter? – Ze'ev Felsen Oct 21 '16 at 19:49
  • @Ze'evFelsen I heard this from Rabbi Joe Polak, who was then the Hillel Director at Boston University; he also received smicha through Chabad. He noted that a woman can wear a tallis made for her, personally, or for women, generally, but not a traditional Orthodox men's tallis, as that would be begged ish. He said that the people making those types of tallisim understand that their product will be worn by men only. He noted that other articles of clothing, e.g. sweat shirts, are unisex by design and therefore patur for men or women. – Bruce James Oct 31 '16 at 17:10
  • @BruceJames , if the manufacturer's intent is paramount, then it would seem like custom tailored ball gowns made for the "drag queen" market would not only not be beged isha, but would be beged ish if a woman wanted to wear them. This doesn't seem right. Also, if more than one person worked to manufacture a garment, which one counts in terms of intent (Whoever put on the final touch? Whoever contributed the most effort? The one with the highest skill level in clothes making?)? Do they all have to agree for the garment to be wearable for anyone? – Columbia says Reinstate Monica Apr 15 '17 at 23:10
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"Dog tags" are worn primarily, and until recently almost exclusively, by men. It would be very difficult to justify labeling them a womens garment.

A more likely problem is that when one wears them outside of their intended purpose, i.e. as a style rather than to to identify a soldier, it may be similar to wearing a sword which may present a problem of Chukas Hagoy.

Regarding the leniency of some permitting a single garment many poskim disagree and many/most illustrate the prohibition by cases where the person is not entirely dressed as the opposite gender. I would remind people that this is an issur d'Oraisa and not to be quick to follow lenient opinions without consulting their Rav.

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it's neither bege ish or beged isha. dog tags are primarily used as an identifier in the military and have no gender attached to them any more than a name tag does. The only difference between a name tag and dog tags are the material (metal to be more durable) and the additional information of blood type and identification number.

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    A name tag could have an associated gender, depending on how it's designed – Double AA May 26 '14 at 22:00
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    I was in the military and it is a standard issued item for both genders. furthermore it isn't clothing at all but an an identifier. Saying that a dog tag is specific to a gender is like saying an driving license or state id is inherently specific to one gender – Dude Nov 3 '15 at 4:49

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