Just What Constitutes Improper Dressing?

When we were in Gulfport, we stopped by a local UPS store to check how much it would cost to send my son a Mardi Gras King Cake.

Carnival season is extra-long this year, thanks to a late Easter, so the partying and frivolity kicked into high gear before we could make it back to Illinois. And no way was I going to let Domer miss out on something he loves so much (if I could’ve shipped Dallas, both my guys would’ve been thrilled, ha!)

Anyway, back to the UPS store.

The parking lot was jam-packed with vehicles (didn’t help that the store is near a Slap Ya Momma’s barbecue joint, and it was lunchtime). Someone had posted this sign on the outside front window:

“Pull Your Pants Up or Don’t Come In!!!”

Can they do that? Ban people from entering because of how they’re dressed?

Yes, it seems they can. And do.

The rest of the sign said:

“Try to have some decency and respect for others. No one wants to see your underwear. *Does not apply to children under 3 years of age.”

Reality TV Judge Greg Mathis says the predominately-male “fashion” of sagging, wherein the britches are fastened FAR below the waist and the underwear or bare skin is exposed, had its beginnings with the prison system. Prisoners, you know, generally aren’t entitled to belts (they might become weapons or a means of suicide).

Interesting that prisoners have become style icons, huh? Guess folks like Marc Jacobs, Bill Blass, and the others can retire.

Sagging was popularized in the 1990s by hip-hop artists, and ever since, some — including governmental bodies, courts, and schools — have been trying to ban it.

We don’t balk at signs proclaiming, “No shirt No shoes No service,” so maybe a ban on sagging is merely an extension of that.

What do you think?

27 thoughts on “Just What Constitutes Improper Dressing?

  1. I think it’s perfectly fine. No one’s freedom is being infringed. A business owner can set whatever dress standards he or she deems appropriate. After all, there are restaurants where a gentleman without a coat or tie can pick one up at the coat room to put on so he can be granted admittance.

    These kids can let their pants sag to their knees if they want, but they can’t demand to be allowed into a restaurant. In fact, around here, there even are convenience stores that don’t allow them in. And even down in Galveston, where everything is beach casual, there are limits. Some retail establishments, like clothing stores, have signs posted, too – and they enforce the rules.

    • Excellent points, Linda, and thank you for sharing them. The Mississippi Gulf Coast, too, is fairly casual, so I was kind of surprised to see that sign in the store window.

      You’re right in saying no one’s freedom is being infringed on. It’s like with most things — if you want to be served (whether it’s food or a UPS store), you have to abide by the policies of the place.

      I suppose there’s plenty of precedent in a business’s right to refuse service to anyone for any reason!

  2. ““Pull Your Pants Up or Don’t Come In!!! Try to have some decency and respect for others. No one wants to see your underwear. ”

    Love that, Debbie! And I wish we had signs like that in Philadelphia!

    I soooooo agree with you…

    “We don’t balk at signs proclaiming, “No shirt No shoes No service,” so maybe a ban on sagging is merely an extension of that.”

    Exactly. If they want to walk around the streets like that, fine, but I think a restaurant owner or retail establishment also has the right to set the rules for what is and what is not appropriate.

    GREAT post topic, my friend! And thank you for sharing it.

    • I don’t guess we can ban all fads, but this one seems particularly annoying to me. I don’t want to look at some stranger’s boxers or whatever is supposed to be covered up by slacks or jeans! And the way some of these poor guys walk around — one hand with their phone to their ear and the other hanging onto their sagging bottoms — I just know eventually, a “show” is a distinct possibility.

      Thanks for coming along for my silliness, Ron!

  3. It’s about time. Sometimes that “sagging” style goes too far and the pant waist is just an inch or two off the ground. Sheesh! That is not fashion by any means. That’s impractical. You can’t walk as efficiently, for starters, when your pants are on the ground as if you’re ready to sit on the toilet for a spell. Double sheesh!

    • Monica, I so agree. I’ve seen some of these “saggers” — probably the newbies to the fad — hanging desperately onto their pants in an effort to keep them from slipping completely off! And I’ve seen others wearing belts to keep their pants up, yet the belts are so loose they’re ineffective. We can only hope this, too, shall pass!

  4. I would be inclined to ignore sagging if I was a business owner. Fads come and go. Or I might use humor. If your pants don’t sag Mama will give you a free cookie. Maybe even offer a saggy pants special. My guess is the kids are looking for ways to challenged the establishment if it doesn’t work they will go somewhere else where they can get the appropriate rise (pun intended). On the other hand business certainly have the right to set their own standards.
    I love Kings Cake. they are so much fun!

    • “The younger generation” has always pushed the buttons of parents and other adults, hasn’t it?? I like your suggestion of a free cookie — for anyone adhering to the “Food is Love” philosophy, that would surely work.

      Since this was a UPS store, I kind of wonder if they had some issues with guys wearing sagging pants, though. Maybe someone tried to mail something, let go for a second of his sagging jeans, and completely dropped them on the floor! Who knows? But yes, I do believe a business owner has the right to refuse service to someone he/she chooses.

  5. I suppose if girls wear tops so slow low that their breasts show, it should come as no surprise boys want to run around with their buns blowing in the wind. What is inappropriate for one generation, may be fashion for the next.

    • You’ve made a good point, Pat. The girls’ fashions are just as ridiculous as the boys’. However, I still “blame” it on the adults — after all, it’s not kids who are inventing these “styles” and capitalizing on them, nor is it the kids who are able to afford them. Parents must accept some of the blame if their kids leave the house looking inappropriate!

  6. Debbie, I’m inclined to dismiss sagging as an adolescent fad and agree that it’s within the restaurant owner’s right to have a dress code. I agree with Pat, scantily clad teenage girls have become the norm. Either way, my generation gap is showing. Interesting tidbit on the origin of sagging.

    • Thanks, Kathy. Yes, I suppose I’m becoming an “old fogy”! Fads are one thing, but anyone seeking a business service really needs to learn that he has to be attired properly or he walks away empty-handed. I’m glad this UPS store owner let the public know they wouldn’t have to witness pants-dropping inside, ha!

  7. My initial reaction is, “I love it!” But My Odd Family and krpooler make some good points. You can ban saggy pants, but something else will come along to take their place in the long list of fashions that is bound to be deemed inappropriate. It makes me wonder if through the years, the younger generations have always pushed the limits of fashion in the eyes of adults. My earliest fashion memories begin when I was around five years old and bell-bottom jeans were all the rage. Even I, being the tomboy that I was and happy to wear my farm cousins hand-me-downs, wanted a pair of those wide legged jeans. I remember that fashions in the seventies were very hippy-ish. I’m sure the more seasoned adult crowd frowned on that and made all kinds of assumptions about those who wore them.

    • You are so right, Terri. Most fads seem harmless, in the overall scheme of things, and they do serve to unite a generation. The problem arises when a fad becomes dangerous or inappropriate. I guess people in positions of control have a right to ban certain fads, as long as they let people know ahead of time. I mean, it wouldn’t be right to let a woman walk into your business wearing slacks, for example, if you’ve decided ALL women have to be wearing dresses!

  8. Debbie, I’m very glad to learn there’s a word for this street style! I don’t have such a problem seeing underwear–it’s what’s under the underwear that also seems to be exposed too often, and ugh, who wants to look at that? I think the fad has gone on a little too long–like 2 decades? How about something fresh, boys?

    • I didn’t know what term it was going by either, but I’m with you — this fad has worn out its welcome (if it was ever ‘welcome’ in the first place!). The boys wearing saggy pants look sloppy; the girls showing thongs look vulgar. Surely we can do better!

  9. I think the owner has a right to determine what dress is appropriate for the restaurant. I don’t see that as being much different than the high-end restaurants (which I don’t frequent) that require ties or sports jackets. The problem I see is where do you draw the line when targeting tasteless trends? What about shirts that don’t cover ‘muffin tops’? Or cheeks peeking from shorts?

    As for the sagging pants fad – it’s awful! I’m so thankful I graduated HS in the early 90s before this came into fashion… we kind of liked checking out the guys in their Levis 🙂

    • Some of the guys in high school with Domer tried to adopt this fad, but the school (of course) promptly banned it. Yes, it’s pretty tasteless, but you’re right — looking at other fads (both of guys and girls), it’s definitely not the worst! Pajama bottoms in public, see-thru blouses, peeking cheeks, all, I think, might be considered just as bad. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Janna.

  10. My thoughts…..It’s an outrageous fad that still is not completely fading away. I have 2 grow sons and I raised them to have respect for others and themselves. They said they never thought of wearing their pants that way. People who sag should not be allow to go into any public place like that!!!! Period!

    It’s just plan old …”nasty”. The girls are being nasty too with the short dresses and boobs out. But this is where our culture with our young people is at. No all but many. I blame the parents because a parent should demand that they change their clothes before they walk out that door. I did and I checked up on my kids at school or a friends house to make sure. I raised my kids by example and with good morals.

    These kids who sag will be shocked at the damage they are doing to there spine because of they way they had to change there walk because of sagging.

    The next generation…sagging, drinking, drugging,overely sexual,clubbing,foul mouth, self gratification in everything…etc….Oh Lord…Help our youth!

    • Tanya, I hadn’t thought about these kids damaging their spines because of this fad, but you know, it makes sense. I’ve seen some exerting super-human effort to hold their pants up with one hand and do something else — talk on the phone, hold their girlfriend’s hand, or balance a sack of groceries — with the other.

      And yes, I blame their parents, too. My son is part of this generation, but he’d never go out looking like that. Raising a young person to have respect both for themselves, their family, and others isn’t a task for the faint-of-heart, but it’s one parents are called to do. And we have to step up to the plate!

      Thanks for your opinion — raising six children like you’ve done makes you a knowledgeable source!!

  11. I’m not sure. It sounds kind of mean.

    I’d rather have the sign say something like…. “Do Not Come In Unless you are Respectful, Kind, & Smiling!” I don’t give a sh*t about your pants.


    • Kim, you make me laugh! You’re certainly kinder than I’d be as a store owner — and probably will slide into Heaven quicker, too 😉

      “Kind and smiling” is a good way to do business, though. Too many are grouchy, complaining, and obnoxious (like that misguided soul who dealt with Mr. L. not so long ago!)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.