The sight of someone walking down the street with extremely baggy pants inspired American Idol contestant Larry Platt to write the popular song saying, “Hey! Get your pants off the ground!/Lookin’ like a fool/Walkin’ Talkin’ with your pants on the ground.”
Those low-slung pants are now illegal on the public boardwalk in Wildwood, N.J., where the law bans pants worn three inches or more below the hips. Violators can get 40 hours of community service and a $200 fine.
The “sagging” trend is popular among teens and young adults who embrace a “gangsta” image. It originated in the U.S. prison system, where security concerns keep inmates from wearing belts. But the trend escaped through pop culture and hip hop artists who glamorized low culture.
Woodward residents voted unanimously to get sagging off their boardwalk. City Commissioner Pete Byron said the city is not trying to police fashion choices, but “there’s a line that gets crossed between being a fashion statement and being obnoxious.” Suburbs near New Orleans, Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit, Miami, and Jacksonville, Fla., have also passed laws restricting how much rear end should hang out in public.
Critics argue that people should be allowed to wear clothing however they want. But for now, in Woodward, people wanting to follow prison inmate style will have to pull their pants up.