Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fashion statements then and now

My husband is not a fan of the droopy pants look. I'm talking about the guys who wear the waistband of their pants somewhere below their buttocks, exposing their underwear. So far his response is reserved to muttering under his breath and grinding his molars.

For some reason this "fashion" reminds me of another men's style popular beginning in the 14th century, when tunic hemlines became shorter to make men's legs look longer, exposing their "naughty bits" when sitting. The Church declared the Black Plague was a divine punishment for this sinful flaunting of private parts.

Then the working men began to take off their tunics and waistcoats in deference to th hot summer sun and worked in their shirts and breeches. The young men of the aristocracy gleefully adopted this "look" to the bewilderment of their parents. Unfortunately, removing the outer garments made the gap between the shirt and breeches (leggings that were laced to the shirt) even more noticable.

Necessity is the mother of invention, and so the codpiece appeared to cover the gap. Over time, this practical answer to propriety was decorated, padded and eventually shaped to represent a permanent erection.

After some 200 years of popularity, breeches grew wider (think of the Dutch) and the codpiece disappeared except for rock stars and comic book heroes.

I hope this currrent trend of exposing the buttocks, although decently covered by plaid, polka-dotted and striped drawers, won't last as long or I'm afraid my husband will grind his teeth down to nubs.

Yes, I can be tolerant when I put this look into historical perspective. But can someone tell me why so many young girls and boys are wearing their flannel pajamas to McDonald's and Wal-Mart?


  1. This is so funny. Yeah, those droopy pants aren't really a good look for anyone, and I'm sure that more than one young man has tripped and fallen or even had his pants drop to the ground at an inopportune moment.

  2. Pajamas aren't uncommon at the college campus where I work. That doesn't bother me as much as the spaghetti straps and cleavage that some of our student workers show up to work sporting. It drives me nuts to have to write a very specific dress code because a lot of teens & twenty-somethings were never taught what "office appropriate" attire means.

  3. I find myself shaking my head so often when I see what young people wear now. Just because a style is in doesn't mean it looks good on everyone. I tend to apply this belief to young girls more than boys. For example the tight t-shirts that show every unbecoming bump or the low rise jeans that don't cover everything when they sit down, partly because the shirt is too short. I'm glad fashions come and then go. Hope the next big in style is more flattering.