There has been much ado about young Black men and their taste for sagging jeans; from the criticism of our elders to the various jurisdictions across the country that have gone so far as to put laws in place that ticket people for ‘indecent exposure’, the debate over freedom of fashion versus decency won’t end any time soon. However, as a woman in her mid-20s who has embraced her ‘grown grown’ status, I have to admit that I, too, am getting pretty tired of seeing a man’s ass before he’s even bought me dinner first.
I’m hardly conservative; I wear my hair natural, often in a big bush. I have a nose ring and while I do love pearls, cardigans and sundresses, I am known for my dashikis and modesty-defying hemlines. I’m glad that I’m free to dress as I please and I don’t advocate taking that right away from any other adult. I also realize that my style (much like my personality, my look, my views…) ain’t for everybody and it certainly could deter a brother who prefers, say, a preppy woman or one who wears the latest Hip-Hop gear.
There’s no universal standard of style that all men or women can be held to, nor do I advocate for one. But I am one of many women who is getting a bit tired of seeing men over the age of 21 (and especially over 25) who dress like teenagers. Rocking “urban wear” is one thing (btw-I hate that term; just the fashion industry’s way of saying ‘Black people sh*t’ without saying it), but showing everybody on the block your Polo boxers? Or, worse, your worn-out tighty formerly whiteys? Come on, son.
I see far too many men in my peer group who seem to have some sort of major opposition to adult clothes. You never see them in anything but basketball sneakers or Timbs, regardless of season. If you’re going to a sports bar or to Applebees , then fine; but you can’t pull out the hard bottoms for a nice dinner? Or even a pair of dark-colored sneakers that resemble dress shoes?
Call me stuck up if you want to, wont be the first time. But my soul weeps every time I see some 30-year-old brother with braids, a hoodie and some Jordan 11s on a date with a woman who’s dressed to the nines. We know that you fellas put a lot of effort into these outfits, but spending a significant amount of money on a getup doesn’t make it event appropriate. And while I understand that eschewing ‘traditional’ clothes is one way that some brothers give the middle finger to the proverbial ‘establishment’…if you aren’t ready to be a full-out ex-pat or to reject capitalism all together, you aren’t really saying that much, homey. Your rebellion is but a mere blip on the radar, if that.
It may sound cliché’, but grown is sexy. I don’t do the same things I did when I was 16. I left behind the 5 for $25 Victoria’s Secret cotton panties and the body spray. My clothes have changed significantly from my high school years to college on to now. While the brands may have changed and the styles might have switched, some of my bredren can’t quite say the same. And most, “I don’t have to wear no button up, that ain’t me,” cats aren’t Russell Simmons, nor will they ever be.
Maybe I have gotten bougie, stuck-up or more conservative than I’d like to be, but I’m not hardly the only sister out here who’s tired of looking like a lady in the presence of boys. The sagging, the sneaks, the fitted…great for high school and possibly for chill out days. But when you are a 34 year old father of two looking like the coolest dude at King High School? No bueno. It doesn’t matter how successful you are, how active you are in the community or what levels of educational or class attainment you may have achieved; dressing like a teenager is a big huge turn-off.