Jones offers a retrospective list of reasons for the popularity
of transvestite playing. She claims that "more than one excuse served
to get actresses into breeches for the delectation of a predominantly
male audience."  First, there
were revivals of older plays where the female parts were played
of these plays incorporated the notion of gender disguise into the
plot, often displaying the female character dressed in the
guise of a man. "With the advent of actresses, titillating dénouements
with bared bosoms and flowing tresses became popular, and new
plays were written to exploit this 'disguise penetrated' motif."
 The other reason was a new
freedom of expression of the heroines in many new plays. These heroines
were often outspoken and wild; dressing in male attire was seen
as a testament to such wildness. Nell Gwyn is most notably
remembered for this, particularly her performance as the madcap
Florimell in Dryden's Secret Love (1667).
"Prologues and epilogues were sometimes given
by favourite actresses in men's clothes with no other apparent reason
than to provide the same arbitrary thrill." 
In some rare cases, repertory companies emerged staffed with only
actresses. There were even all-children's companies (or 'Lilliputians'),
"and a number of indecent prologues and epilogues devised to be
spoken by little girls survive to attest the immorality and profanity
of the English audience."