Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Butt out, fashion police
“So okay, I don't want to be a traitor to my generation and all but I don't get how guys dress today. I mean, come on, it looks like they just fell out of bed and put on some baggy pants and take their greasy hair…eww… and cover it up with a backwards cap and like, we're expected to swoon? I don't think so.” Cher Horowitz, Clueless
Apparently one of the top legislative priorities in Atlanta these days is to put the skin-is-in look out of fashion next season. No, really.
Councilman C.T. Martin is pushing an amendment to the city’s indecency laws that would outlaw clothing that displays underwear – from boxers and thongs to bra straps and even sports bras. Why? Well, Martin says the popular style of boys in oversized baggy pants sagging below their waists is an “epidemic” that must be stopped.
Look, personally, I can’t stand this trend - which is believed to have started in prisons, where inmates are not allowed to wear belts. It became more mainstream back in the early to mid-90s, when I was in middle school and high school (yes, I’m dating myself here). My opinion then was the same as it is now – there is nothing attractive about watching a guy in low-slung pants try to waddle down the street, baring his boxers to everyone around him. The same goes for girls in hip-huggers and exposed thongs.
However, that doesn’t mean I think the government should be allowed to step in and legislate what people wear.
I’ve got several concerns with this proposal. First, I think it’s heavy-handed and leaves the door open for too much interpretation. For example, what if I’m running in the park and my sports bra strap sticks out from under my tank top? Under the proposed rules, that could technically result in a fine. It seems the Atlanta Council is attempting to criminalize something best handled inside the home or the school.
Second, is this really what our city government is spending its time and resources on? What about healthcare and poverty reform? How about we focus on fixing the education system, reducing crime or patching up the roads? Shouldn't the city's "crack" problem be related to drugs not clothing? Among the numerous issues plaguing Atlanta, baggy pants is nowhere near the top of my list.
Finally, passage of this type of proposal could pave the way for additional restrictions down the road. I figure, if the government starts with a ban on baggy pants, what's to stop them from getting rid of any other undesirable fashion trend? I don't like mullets and acid-washed jeans. Can we ban those? Should body piercings, tattoos and the gothic look also go the way of the dinosaur? Who's to decide what stays and what goes?
When it comes to fashion, it seems each generation has found ways to push the envelope. Ever since the 1960s, the age of miniskirts and boys with long hair, there has been debate over the constitutionality of dress codes and whether they violate the right to freedom of expression. Eventually, this trend will fade and a new fad will irk politicians and parents. So please leave dress code regulations off city government agendas.
On a somewhat similar note, here is a clip featuring guys who might be pushing the boundaries of fashion taste. Instead of baggy pants, though, they're rocking the Daisy Duke-style shorts. Enjoy!