Pull Up Your Pants and Let’s Dance

by Jamilah Lemieux

The GamePull Your Pants Up

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.

  • Anthony

    Although I m guilty of being too casual myself too often, I absolutely abhor sagging pants!
    Showing your underwear purposely is disgusting. I believe that sagging pants is one of those fashions that everyone who does is going to be embarrassed to admit to when it goes out of style.

    Closely related to sagging pants is that it seems that no one is ashamed to show their butt crack anymore. As a man, I don’t mind seeing women bend over or squat and exposing their rears, but it is a really big switch from what had been standard for most of my life.

  • http://gravatar.com/ebony82 ebony82

    Thanks for this post. Men who dress like boys are a HUGE turn-off to me. There is no reason to wear hot a$$ Tim’s in the summer! COME ON!

  • Ask_ME


    You do know father’s day was YESTERDAY right???

  • Pat

    This is completely weird. The day I signed back onto Clutch — it is article about the exact conversation we have been having.

    Within the last few weeks, I’ve attended a HS graduation for my step-son and a college graduation for my niece. At both of these occasions, only a few of the attendees were dress appropriately. What I deemed as appropriate. I’m not against the freedom of dressing to reflect your personality. Not only wearing sagging jeans (regardless of age), I have a hard time understanding what has happened to dressing up for different occasions.

    A barbecue is not the same as attending a graduation ceremony or going to the movies is not the same as going to church and so forth.
    It doesn’t fall in the line of being too bougie, stuck-up or more conservative. You just want to see having a sense of class represented more often. For the life of me, I don’t see how men over the age of 25 – don’t understand the difference a suit represents and that of sagging jeans.

    It is a complete turn-off within every situation. I will be so happy once this tireless trend is gone “forever”.

    sidenote: From day 1, that is one of the many things I love about Tracy Martin. I love how he represents himself and his family.

  • Ask_ME

    I’ve seen 40 plus year old black men walking around wearing over-sized jeans, white t-shirts and sneakers. So, no one should be surprised that younger black men don’t know left from right. The older generation is just as lost as the younger generation.

    You can tell a lot about an individual’s mindset by the way they dress and carry themselves. I

    My father is a doctor. I RARELY see him walking around in anything other than slacks, Stacey Adams shoes, and an oxford style shirt. Because of him, I expect men to look and carry themselves like my father. I sought out, and married a man, who carries himself like my father.

    It is pointless to tell grown arse men to pull up their pants. You SHOULDN’T have to tell them to pull up their pants. The sensible and wiser approach to these men is to ignore them, disregard them and NOT date them.

    If you have to educate a grown man how to dress chances are you will have to educate him on how to do a list of other things as well.

  • Ask_ME


    No, delusional one…your idiotic comment made no sense…considering Father’s Day was YESTERDAY and today (the day this post was posted) is a NEW DAY.

    Get your life together.

  • http://www.clutchmagazine.com Clutch

    Clutch is off on Sundays – we did not “conveniently skip anything”. Thanks for your comment.

  • P

    If you have to educate a grown man how to dress chances are you will have to educate him on how to do a list of other things as well. — exactly!

  • http://www.myblackfriendsays.com myblackfriendsays

    to each his own…

  • Miakoda

    Your last paragraph is true. There are a lot of men walking around with no life skills. They depend on women to teach them about life. Disgusting.

  • Blue

    On chill out days, I have no problem with a fitted, some sneakers & a t-shirt. I am sick of guys over 25+ in braids. The teenagers don’t even wear that style. Give it up.

    And why wear a suit if it’s fallin off your body. That looks so sloppy. Buy one that fits nicely. I love a man in a well fitted suit.

    And I’m over the saggy pants look. But I was really over it when I had to walk up a crowded staircase behind a young man who’s boxers was all in my face. I couldn’t wait to get to the top of those stairs. Ewww

  • New Attitude

    I remember back in the day a man used to take pride in how he looked.

    Jheri Curl glossy? Check!
    501 Levi’s Shrink-to-fit ironed w/ a razor sharp crease? Check!
    Elbows, Knees not ashy? Check! Check!

    Now..just ole any Yuck Mouf or Cavity Creep Critter can pull a beautiful woman. Proof that there are no standards. Just don’t have no kids by these types. And if you do. Please don’t cry about why he ain’t around for the kids. Cause any man who dresses like this is a walking Billboard for ‘I don’t give a f…..k!”

  • DeeMyselfAndI

    I’m sorry, did I miss the part where she said she was out there procreating with these men?

    All she is saying is that they guys need to step it up and dress like grown men. I’m with her on that.

  • Angel

    The bottom line is: Put on a D@mn” suit! Please. Ugh…

  • Apple

    Baggy pants are still a thing? I thought only thugs and trash wore that

  • Starla

    @Blue we must be sharing the same brain. A man over 25 in braids hellz no, I am not walking down the street with you. Everything you said. I don’t care about the state of their inner being if their outer being is already sloppy.

  • leelah

    had a bad weekend?

  • MommieDearest

    It is not uncommon for me to observe young with their pants hanging so low that they have to use one hand to hold them up while they are walking down the street. One time I saw some dude struggling to walk, talk on his cell phone and carry a bottle of pop while holding his pants up simultaneously. *sigh*

    Remember the “good old days” when sagging meant that the TOP of your boxers showed above the waist of your pants? Now your ENTIRE BEHIND shows. Boxers, skid marks and all. I don’t know why some of these clowns even bother to wear pants at all…

  • Anthony

    I work in a profession, college professor, that allows a great deal of freedom in terms of dress, and I know that I tend to be very casual. The catch is that if you want to move into administration, you need to dress the part or you won’t be taken seriously. The other thing is that over the last few years, I have begun to improve my look simply because I realized that I am at the later part of middle age, and it looks goofy to see a man be too causal when he is closer to retirement than graduate school.

  • Malik Hemmans

    Dr. Frances Cress Welsing say’s that sagging is a sign of immaturity i.e. babies sag( lil boys)

  • Kim

    what is all the hoopla around sagging pants? I don’t get it, and out of all the issues affecting the black community, for law maker to try and criminalize sagging pants is just so idiotic to me. I’ve met grown men in suits that act like little b*tches. Clothes do not make the man. Some men wear them and some dont. I find it highly offensive to see men wearing leggings and tight pants –how about we criminalize that.

    I swear that if black men start wearing three piece suits and white men start wearing baggy pants, then suits will be an issue. Some are young and it’s just a fashion statement and yes, some grown men hold on to your youths for a longer than they should, but I never get the long discourse around the issue.

    Let-it-go. If you don’t like men who wear it, don’t date them. Lots of men dont dress that way. And women who find the sagging pants ok, will date them. And on we move.

  • LemonNLime

    You know what? I feel this way about a lot of things. I feel like, in general, people don’t take pride in the way the present themselves. Men with sagging pants, women who were tights as pants, pajamas and sweat pants as everyday wear, not bathing it is horrible! No one is saying you have to be in designer duds all the time but at least be clean and put together.

    I was watching “Parts Unknown” and Bourdain asked when people in the Congo get a little bit of money, what is the first thing they buy. The guy answered soap because even if they are poor, they still take pride in the way they present themselves. If people in developing countries can do it, there is no reason why Americans can’t.

  • Marisa

    A damn shame there even needs to be a law about something like this, I mean it was funny in the 90′s when the young guys did it and we assumed its just a phase. Fast forward the clock 20 years not only the same dudes now older but, younger ones wearing them so low the pants are on the ground. Its nothing wrong with wearing your pants a little loose but, sh%t is beyond ridiculous. Then they started showing up at clubs and bars like that, it wasn’t that long ago when dudes took as long even longer than us to get ready for a night out lol.

    I keep saying stop everything your favorite rappers and athletes do, their environments socially and workplace are different than ours. My mom has a thing were it annoys her when I grab wrinkled jeans and a sweatshirt just to run errands, she will say “girl you couldn’t at least knock some of the wrinkles out of that with the iron”. Then I go mom I’m only going to Rite Aid lol but it doesn’t matter she comes from ironing everything including jeans. Theres a line between comfort and looking a damn fool and these dudes passed that line a while ago, pull your pants up and act like you have some semblance of self respect. The same goes for summer time with these half naked chicks, I remember one year I had jury duty hell and a girl got called up with us and was wearing see through everything in a damn thong, like GIRL BYE.

  • Anthony

    Although I hate sagging pants, Be Real does have point that many here at Clutch would be hostile at the notion of a black man “policing” their dress.

  • MimiLuvs

    Personally, I do not like seeing men (in general) wearing their jeans and pants sagging off of their a**es. There’s something about it that screams ‘I haven’t washed my a** today!’ about it.
    I’ve noticed that the ‘sag’ is now frequent, regardless of the event. I’ve seen men rocked their sagging slacks at job interviews, weddings (they’re the grooms), church sermons, etc.
    But, what really makes my teeth itch is seeing toddler boys having their pants sag, because their parents (*eyeroll*) thinks it is cute. Never mind the fact that the child is having a difficult time walking around.

  • http:tontonmichel.tumblr.com Tonton Michel

    I understand what the writer is getting at but seems society including corporate America is becoming more informal. You have to have a reason to wear other than other people think it looks good. If that’s not your thing oh well, people will have to deal with it

  • Mahagony

    No boy or man should EVER be seen in pubublic sagging, especially with skinny and a belt on. When I see men sagging all I picture is a baby with a sagging diapper. SMH!

  • lola289

    Meh…I was just talking about this yesterday to my guy.
    After years and generations of men doing the same style. Now in 2013 it is universally known that this comes from an alternative lifestyle within prison. Every man knows this! So for me I just say that 85% of dudes that wear this style are inviting attention from those that like “back door fun”. I don’t think its for women to care.

  • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

    Bingo! And this article was everything. But you are absolutely correct, people don’t take pride anymore on how they look and present themselves to the world anymore. And the sad thing is taking pride in yourself and how you present yourself is MORE for YOUR benefit then others, I wish more people understood take. I sort of miss the times of yesteryear where people actually dressed. Furthermore, I think people take advantage of the word “causal” when it comes to dressing being causal isn’t equivalent to being sloppy.

  • http:tontonmichel.tumblr.com Tonton Michel


  • http:tontonmichel.tumblr.com Tonton Michel

    Good point this reminds me of the A$AP Rocky post were he said he didn’t like red lipstick on dark skin women, they were ready to lynch him for that.

  • GeekMommaRants

    Rea;;u? A fashion statement has real consequences in NYC. Stop and Frisk targets the sagging. We can ignore this as no one is upset.


  • Mahagony

    Sorry for the typos. I meant public and skinny jeans.

  • Fossilizedrelic

    This site must be for people who were born just before Reconstruction.

    The stench . . . . it . . . ?

    lingers in the air like something that died and never got buried.

  • GlowBelle

    Back in the day of my grandparents they used to dress up and go on planes, buses and trains, even out to the store. You HAD to do that stuff. Somehow we got away from that and sometimes I wish we could go back to dressing up nice when we go out in public. It’s not even about dressing in a three piece or a dress all the time, but dressing in clothes that actually look decent and actually cleaning yourself up. Wearing baggy dumpy and overly tight and ill-fitting clothes gives a clue that you just don’t give a shit and if it looks like you don’t give a shit…people are going to assume and treat you as such. First impressions are everything believe it or not.

    You can wear shorts, just don’t wear booty shorts. You can wear jeans, but don’t wear them sagging to your kneecaps. You can wear pajamas, but wear them to bed (I NEVER got that wearing pajamas out in public deal…). There is a time and place, and not everyone wants to look at the eye sore that is your dress. That’s why I love shows like ‘What Not To Wear’, some people call them preachy or rude, but I call it facing facts.

  • Karhai

    Wait, is there something wrong with the 5 for $25 Victoria Secrets panties? I love their cotton panties…

  • realztalk

    Sagging jeans means you are NOT on your way to the boardroom unless you are Jay Z so pull up your pants and get a J O B!

  • Weird

    How could such a reasonable comment get so way negative votes?

  • Deb

    Chile, even Jay has wised up.

  • Kema

    “Tims all seasons for a$$ kicking reasons”.

    I couldn’t help it! Lol

  • Kema

    Lmao! You must be new here. Ain’t nobody got time for sensible around these parts.

    As someone else mentioned men sagging is very similar to that rapper talking about red lipstick. I don’t like sagging but that just means its not for me.

  • Perspective

    What’s funny is that these TYPES of black men have no shortage of black women, and she pointed it out in her article

    ” But when you are a 34 year old father of two looking like the coolest dude at King High School?”

    Why is he a father in the first place, if he clothes are a sign of his IMMATURITY?!

    I think you need to spend some of your energy addressing the other half the community (other gender) who seems to find men like that so desirable keeping the fads going.

    These babies aren’t falling out the sky!

  • HTown

    I don’t see men with their pants hanging that much anymore. I know it’s happening but I just don’t see it. It could be going on right in front of me for all I know and I’m simply overlooking it because I only zone in on certain types of black men. I don’t know if that makes sense to others. Lol….it does in my head.

    ” 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.”

    Why are you going out to dinner with him though?

  • SWP

    I will tell you the reason why older as well as younger black men sag their jeans, where fitted-caps and t-shirts and army fatigues although they might not know how to express it or realize it and that is this.
    Today in corporate america employment is deceided by mostly white human resources managers, they will have a great conversation on the phone with a prospective black applicant (that is if he can “sound” like he’s a white boy with some sense) and every thing will be fine and look good. That is until he walks his black self through the door, then the HR manager will have a look on his face as if he’s on PUNKED. I know a 36 year old black male computer programmer, there aren’t many black computer programmers out there and yet and still he cannot find work. The very situation I mentioned happened to him when he went to an interview to a company in silicon valley. He’s been out of work 2 and a half years now since graduating college, it’s disgraceful.
    I mention all that to get to this point which is, when other black men hear his story they figure this “if I have on a steve harvey endorsed 3 piece suit or if I am dressed like 50 cent I STILL AIN’T GETTING THE JOB”. This in no way happens to ALL black men, sure some will get through due to quotas as in not having any color in the office but it’s easy for an employer to get around that, just keep all the positions at your company fill with white faces with no need to hire anyone.
    And as for black women, you do have a chance, the black woman is hired for the most part to kill two birds with one stone, employer says “hey I got a black and a woman, and it keeps here unemployed black male at home in line too, works for me!”
    And if you think they don’t think like that then ya must be married dating or have a thing for white men because that’s the way it is…!

  • Julissa

    Wow… I didn’t look at it like that. So you are saying black males sag their jeans because no matter how they look clean cut or hip-hop they won’t get a good job? Honestly I don’t think black males think deeply like that, we as black women though do.

  • Miakoda

    The women who find those type of men desirable aren’t the women commenting here. Those women are dating their equals.

  • AJ

    I’m 33 and I love the 5 for $25 panties at Victoria’s Secret

  • humminbird

    I think one reason some men just won’t let this look go is they don’t want to be seen as selling out.

    But it’s not selling out to drop this look; it’s maturing.

    The bottom line is if you’re satisfied with living at the level where the teenage look keeps you, great. Just don’t continue to dress like a boy and wonder why folks won’t treat you like a man.

  • http://TheRoot Nailah

    Funny, if they think their dress is “anti-establishment” when the gear is most certainly manufactured by and profits go to HUGE corporations, they are deluded.

  • kgo

    Um, it doesn’t take maturity to make a baby!!

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