The Move to Ban Baggy Pants

baggypants2.jpgYa’all know it’s a slow news day when the most interesting arts-related report in the nation’s newspaper of record has to do with how teenagers (mostly male, mostly urban) wear their jeans. In this New York Times story, we read about how cities around the country are trying to legislate how low kids can go. The style started in prison, where inmates were not allowed belts, for fear of suicide attempts, and spread in the early 1990s to the hip-hop scene.

I have to say that I’ve found this look tired for quite a while: the meaning evoked by being caught with your pants down is embarassment rather than hipness. But the attempt to ban the style outright is absurd: it only makes adolescents more determined to wear it. Instead of forbidding low-hanging trousers, we should applaud people for having the balance to pull the look off. Because keeping the jeans from falling down entirely is not as easy as it appears. If you don’t believe me, try this exercise: the next time you’re sitting on the toilet and the phone rings, walk to the receiver with only your underwear pulled up. The degree of difficulty required for the baggy look will become immediately apparent.

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