Thursday, August 5, 2010

Saggy Pants Seem To Be A Big Deal

I wrote an entry on saggy pants back in April, but since a young Bronx man was cited and had to go to court for wearing his pants low, the Sartorialist has weighed in on it, and my sartorial kindred spirit Bethany Rein just published a thoughtful Examiner article on the subject. Here are my thoughts.

As far as the look is concerned, my feeling now is the same as then: it doesn't look good. I know all of you will read the rest of this sentence and think "No shit," but I fancy myself a bit of a men's style purist; certain articles of clothing are supposed to fit a certain way as a result of appreciating their historical uses. This is why, for example, center vents are too sporty for a dinner jacket and why Brooks Brothers angles their repp stripe ties down from right to left instead of left to right. With that in mind, they're called "waistbands" for a reason: so that they're worn on or around the waist. The sagging pants look is a breach of classic good taste, and I don't condone it on sartorial grounds.

On the other hand, what you or I consider to be "good taste" isn't necessarily what a guy living in the Bronx thinks is good taste. In fact, the kid who was cited was probably positively reinforced for his behavior before the citation: his friends probably thought it was cool and he may very well gotten attention from girls. In his social circle, he's likely well-dressed. In addition to this, let's remember that Mr. Martinez was a young man, and what do a lot of young men like to do? Piss off people in authority positions, which is precisely what happened here. Punk kids wear too-tight black jeans (another shitty look), goth kids wear ridiculous makeup and boots with gargantuan wedge heels (separately but equally shitty-looking), and the hip-hop kids wear saggy pants. Adults fucking hate it, that's part of the point. Look at the picture above; doesn't that piss you off a bit that you can kind of see that asswipe's pubes? Bingo.

I side with Judge Franco on this one. One of the reasons that this country is such a great place to live in is that everyone, no matter his/her race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sex, or sexual orientation/preference has the right to dress however "foolishly" he/she wants, provided no indecent exposure is taking place. Conversely we, as the audience, enjoy the right to criticize, stare, or react however we want, provided no one is being harmed. To legislate what attire one segment of the population (namely, the powerful segment) deems "tasteful" would be an egregious misuse of legislative time, a waste of our tax dollars, and, to my not-legally-trained mind, a dangerous attack on all our First Amendment rights.


  1. Reminds me of this debate albeit this one is a little more heated:


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