Low-Slung & Baggy Pants

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Daughter's baggy pants pulled too low

July 2011

Does anyone have advice for a frustrated parent of an older teen girl who is wearing her baggy pants pulled down where daylight should not show? I'm embarrassed for the way my daughter looks and the message it is sending to others around her. She is somewhat overweight and this style (if you can call it style) is not helping her assets. No matter what I suggest, she is determined to do her own thing. She is a great girl in all other ways and I am at a loss how to help her past this. Thanks in advance for any of your thoughts. Anon.

I think you have to just bite your tongue and not say anything unless you are asked for advice. There are surely a lot of parents who've suffered through their teens' fashion crazes. I don't know how many middle school boys' butts and underwear I looked at over the years and they all eventually got older and quit doing it thank goodness. The one line I would draw is a family event where a certain level of dress code is needed, such as a funeral or wedding.

If it makes you feel any better, your daughter has a lot of company. I see lots of plump young women around here wearing low-slung pants and midriff shirts. In a way, it's kind of a positive thing. In my mother's generation women all wore those horrible girdles so everyone would look flat-bellied and flat-butted in their pencil skirts. I think it's kind of refreshing that young women don't feel they all need to have the same body type now! mom of boys

7th grader wears his pants very VERY low

Feb 2000

Please post this question anonymously: My son is a 7th grader at a Berkeley public school. He is a normal kid and follows fashion i.e. he wears his pants very low. In fact, very VERY low. His dad and I, harking back to our own sartorial statements in middle and high school have been pretty cool about it but it's getting harder. The pants now seem to be bordering on the obscene. How are other parents dealing with low slung trousers? Help!

I take the attitude that you have to pick your battles. (I remember wearing mini-skirts). However, I have told my son, if at any time I can grab his pants legs and pull his pants down, then they are too loose and too low. I have disguised this guideline by telling him it is for his own good as protection against possible pranksters. We both know this isn't so, but humor helps. By the way, I never have tried to pull his pants off. He is very careful to keep them tightly belted and wears equally baggy t-shirts over the pants.
i bought some fun-looking boxer shorts for my son, so if i had to look at his underwear, at least it would be something colorful.
My son is 14 and I've notice the pants are drooping lower than last year and I mean lower. I can see just about everything. I've expressed my feelings on how it's disgusting and forever having him pull them up. It didn't work. This is the style as they say. I've decided after one year, I could no longer take it. In my house and call the shots. Pants must be up, anywhere else he can do as he pleases. So far this works but can't say for how long.
Clothes and hair are 2 of the ways kids express themselves, explore who they are both separately and as part of a group. In general, I think it's best to stay out of it. I've seen kids run across the street and have their pants fall completely down to their ankles. It's their butt that shows! They look rediculous to our eyes, not to mention how hard it is to get around while you're busy hiking them up all the time. But it's their thing. Your disapproval or laying down rules will only make a power struggle out of it. I recommend humor. Hey, those pants look plenty big or I like those polka- dotted boxers you're wearing. When I was a teenager, my father once commented when my friends and I were about to leave the house wearing the almost white iridescent lipstick of the mid-sixties, Going out for a night at the cemetery, girls? We thought we looked really cool. That's what mattered. That and knowing I was loved even if I looked like a ghost.

I Can't Stand the Baggy Clothes Anymore

Oct 2001

Hi, I'm a desperate teenage mom, has a Sophomore son, and seeking advice of the teenage parents. My son wears baggy clothes, which is my reason asking for your input. I can not stand his clothes anymore. I want go through his clothes and throw away the ones I don't approve of. Is it a bit too extreme? I sat on this issue for awhile, but I got to the point that I need to show my action. Please advise. Thanks.

I certainly know where you are coming from, my son, went through a period of babby clothes and even worse a period of grunge clothes, during his middle school years. Now a Freshman at Berkeley High he has really cleaned up his clothes act - no more baggy - no more grunge. As far as to say I sometimes catch him ironing his clothes of all things - and that is definately not something he got from me his mother. My son is now 14 - my advice is to let him get it out of his system - show your disapproval of course - I used to tease my son not excessively but enough to let him know I didn't like his fashion code at that time. When it came to buying some decent clothes and finally getting rid of the grunge stuff - I promoted it - and bought him a nice expensive jacket - geeing him along with some statements such as how handsome you are so happy the grunge phase is over and not forgetting the hugs and kisses, mind you only done when the friends are NOT around. On that note I think your son will grow out of it. Pat
It's not just a style issue. It's also a question of where this style comes from. THese baggy pants which almost fall off are emulations of what felons in prison wear. In prison, it is one size fits all. There are no belts, no buttons, no zippers, and so the pants basically do not stay on well. Anyone who wants to see the original style can find out the dates of the criminal calendar in Superior Court, and observe the style of those in custody.

For myself, I do not want my son emulating felons in a prison, and so since it is my money, and I am paying for his clothes, he does not get to wear these pants. I have a 13 year old boy. Yolanda, a lawyer

To help keep a sense of humor about it, watch the movie Highschool High. There's a scene where someone is talking in the foreground while two boys wearing baggy pants try to climb the stairs in the background. They make it up a few stairs and then tumble down. This happens over and over again. In the end, one boy slings the other over his shoulder and hops up the stairs. My baggy-pants boy was howling! Dore
I came across an interesting article called the history of baggy pants that has some thoughtful things to say about baggy pants. Here is an excerpt:
As a style, baggy and loose fitting clothing has always been associated with the derelicts and bohemians of society. Hobos, transients, and the homeless are usually portrayed as having baggy clothing. Jesters and clowns are also associated with exaggerated clothing. Clowns wear larger than normal shoes and baggier than normal pants. Whatever the case, baggy clothing has always been associated with the fringes of society. Baggy clothing can be seen as an affront to polite society.

Capitalism has absorbed the initial shock and baggy clothing has finally made it to the mainstream. So what now? What is the future of baggy pants? Will it be a by-gone trend? For now, it appears that baggy pants are here to stay in all of its bagginess. The cultural phenomenon of baggy pants has diversified and grown into specific sub-types of baggy clothing. For example, hip-hoppers, B-boys, ravers, club kids, skaters, and snowboarders all wear baggy pants, but the manner which they wear them is different. Raver pants are huge, usually covering the shoes or completely draping the ground. Skaters wear a variation of baggy pants in the form of shorts (which were previously pants that were cut above the ankle) so that the cuffs won't interfere with skating. Another variation of baggy pants which has been recently reincarnated are bell-bottoms. Most of our parents thought that they would never see them again, but they're back.

The full article can be found at http://www.groovetickets.com/bz_art.asp?DID=3 --Ginger

I just want to thank Ginger for sharing the article she found about the origins of the current fashion of baggy pants. I was very tired of hearing the worn-out explanation that this style was emulating prison garb. My son knows nothing about prison (thank goodness). Thanks! Cassandra
I just had to pass along this story my middle school daughter told me the other day, in case anyone needs reasons that might persuade their sons to wear less baggy pants: at lunch, as 2 boys playfully wrestled, one boy's very baggy pants AND his boxers slid down to his ankles, completely exposing him to the entire lunchroom! She thought it was very gross, but since no teacher saw this, he just pulled them back up and continued on...