In an era where we are being assailed from all sides about conserving natural resources, saving the rain forests, the Spotted Owl and the planet, what makes it OK to use ten square yards of material to make a pair of men's basketball "shorts" or, indeed, 90% of the other athletic "shorts" one sees on store racks? I use the term "shorts" advisedly because these baggy pants are anything but short. Pretty soon, if guys want to cover up any more of their legs in a fashion statement, they will have to go with prom dresses. As it is, basketball players can sweep and polish the gym floor just by running up and down the court. This fashion is utterly ridiculous.
However, the ridiculousness represented by the "shorts" pales to insignificance in the face of the "fashionable" ninety-five pound teenagers I see wearing XXL bib overalls. They wear these bibs with the built-in shoulder straps intentionally dragging the ground behind them and the bib part of the garment bunched up in one hand at about crotch level so as to keep the pants pulled up sufficiently high to prevent the wearer from falling ass-over-teacups as he perambulates "coolly" down the avenue. He holds them at crotch level as opposed to his waist, of course, so that he may achieve the sought after degree of bagginess in the area between his hips and the ground. I have often wondered what would happen if this person, perhaps strolling with a small group of chums or with a new girlfriend, was confronted by an armed robber who command him to "Put your hands up". Should he follow the command, have is pants hit the pavement and suffer the embarrassment along with the loss of his money in silence? Or, should he protest the outrage, refuse to follow the command and take a bullet for the sake of modesty, financial security and fashion? It's a question Dear Abby or Ann Landers could probably answer if either of them was still with us. But, since nobody else is interested, it will have to go unanswered.
Closely akin to the bunched up bib overalls, but, I think, a notch higher on the sophistication ladder, is the "I know you are dying to see what underwear I'm wearing" look for young males. This, of course, is the one where the pants or jeans are belted tightly at about mid-thigh level so that the top half (or so) of a specially chosen (usually, flowered, plaid or geometrically patterened) pair of boxer shorts is visable. Of course, as a function of his pants being strapped around his thighs, the wearer has that peculiar knock-kneed walk you have all seen. In addition, the bottoms of his pant legs are bunched around the ankles so that the combination of these two would cause him to have an exceedingly hard time leaving the scene of the crime if he were an aspiring petty thief or shop lifter.
On one occasion, at a video store near my house, I observed a young man sporting a variation of this fashion which I like to think of as "The Layered Look". To achieve the full effect, this latter day Beau Brummel wore a football jersey cut off so that his mid-riff was exposed and, therefore, spectators were treated to an unobstructed view of his fashion genius. The formal statement of which began with a pair of battleship grey cotton briefs with a darker grey waistband. They were, I think, Calvin Klein brand and were worn at his anatomical (as opposed to his fashionable) waist. Then, positioned low enough to expose the top three to four inches of the grey briefs and a generous portion of what I now know I should call "booty", came the elastic waistband of a pair of boxers which featured very brightly colored red and yellow stripes. The last part of this "ensemble" was, of course, the cinched-just-above-the-knee baggy jeans with the obligatory jumble of pant-leg bunched just above the untied high-topped court shoes (not to say "sneakers" which are, of course, not fashionable at all). I just know that whenever this kid caught a glimpse of himself via his reflection as he passed by a store window, he smiled inwardly and thought "God, I Look Cool"! I, on the other hand, thought, "Oh, the things you see when you're out without your gun."
I mentioned in a previous post that the backward ballcap fashion seemed, to me, to have originated among black teenagers, although an arguement can be made that black athletes were the real authors of "the look". Similarly, the baggy pants down around your thighs look seems to have originated in the black community, this time among the Music Video Rappers and their followers. This, in turn, has led me to develop a theory of what I will call: "The Great Black Guy Conspiracy". This theory holds that all the black guys in the world (or, perhaps just the opinion makers in the Black Community) got together and asked themselves a watershed question. To wit: "Is there ANY fashion statement or fashion trend that we (the black guys) can adopt that is SO RIDICULOUS the white guys will refuse to copy it?" The answer to that question, my friends, is a resounding NO!!!! And that, in itself, should indicate to you which members of our society are the leaders and which are the sheep.
By the way, how did the "torn jeans" look come into fashion? I see celebs wearing them all over TV talk shows. These guys make millions and are dressed like what my grandmother called "rag pickers", with their knees sticking out of horizontal slashes in their Levi's 501 "Relaxed Fit" jeans. To be fair, in the case of Alan Jackson and other country stars they are probably "Boot Cut" Wranglers. Moreover, based on what I see in the fashionable and hip stores I have visited while shopping with my "Fashionista" daughter and grand daughter, in many cases these luminaries are not even sufficiently ambitious to put the holes and cuts in the garments THEMSELVES!!!! Rather, they buy pre-tattered jeans and, thus, pay a premium for the priviledge of looking destitute. GO FIGURE.