Lawmakers Are Telling People to Pull Up Their Pants

May 28, 2008 07:03 AM
by Lindsey Chapman
Saggy pants may be a fashion trend, but lawmakers and school officials around the U.S. say the fad is indecent and want it banned.

30-Second Summary

The Tupelo Public School District in Mississippi is making a fashion statement for its students: stop wearing baggy pants.

The clothing presents a safety issue, said Superintendent Randy McCoy, because it hinders movement and could allow for the “concealment of items” that violate school rules.

One school principal in the district said that while the clothes may be popular, “you have to have some rules and guidelines.”

The saggy pants issue is becoming more widespread across the country, as cities and states say some of today’s fashion choices bring matters of decency into question.

“The shorts are getting shorter, the tops are getting smaller, the cleavage is getting larger,” said a Louisiana senator who sponsored “fashion crime legislation” in the state. “When are we going to say, ‘Enough is enough?’”

One Florida town has successfully instituted a law against baggy pants, complete with fines against violators of the new rule. “It’s not our intent to get rich off of fines or lock people up in jail,” said the city mayor who supported the law. “It’s about a simple message: pull up your pants.”

While the fashion police may be successful in controlling those who wear baggy pants in some cities and schools, they may have a problem elsewhere. Some people argue that wearing your clothes the way you’d like is a right of self-expression protected by the First Amendment.

One man who said he likes wearing baggy pants didn’t see why the issue mattered to anyone. “Why should someone care how you wear your pants,” he asked. He said he’d just tell people “to mind their business and stop looking at my underwear.”

Headline Links: Fighting the saggy pants movement

Background: Where did baggy pants come from?

Opinion & Analysis: Are saggy pants part of free speech?

Related Topics: Other fashion outrages


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