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Zoot suits, saggy pants & why are the large sizes on the bottom shelf?

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POSTED December 28, 2013 12:14 a.m.

This is a column about pants.

It may make no sense in much the same way that using polyester was used for leisure suits made no sense.

If you remember leisure suits then you can recall a time when anyone who exposed half of their underwear covered buttocks in public by wearing their pants to a point where they barely covered their groin would be arrested for indecent exposure.

Polyester had to be the worst material ever for pants. After you wore them a few times they had a shine to them as if you’d worn them non-stop while on a two-week drunk.

No matter how much I disdained polyester leisure suits, I’d welcome them back into style in a heartbeat if it meant the demise of sagging pants.

To each their own, but let’s be honest. There are a growing number of instances where the act of wearing pants is superfluous. Some guys are now wearing them so low that the belt line is on the bottom side of the butt cheek.

In another day and age it would have been at best immodest and at worst borderline indecent exposure.

I still remember someone telling me back in 1996 that it was just a passing fade. They also said young guys were just wearing pants that way to be different.

Well, it’s obviously not a passing fade especially when you see guys pushing 40 years of age wearing pants that way.  At least zoot suits, bell bottoms, flare leg pants and leisure suits faded away at one point. As far as being different, what would be different is if underwear wasn’t worn as outerwear.

It’s bad enough that some young guys wear their pants so low that there is no question as to what brand of boxers they have on but now they are crossing the Rubicon.

The other day standing in line at a convenience store a low rider was ahead of me. But unlike your typical saggy pants connoisseur he wasn’t wearing boxers or even traditional briefs. Instead he had on bikini brief underwear.

You couldn’t help but notice the skin on his leg between the bottom of the underwear and the top of his pants or the fact the underwear was a size or two too small.

I don’t know whether it was stupid, vulgar or just plain silly.

At that point just shuck the pants and wear the underwear only. I’m sure the police aren’t going to run you in for indecent exposure. It wasn’t too long ago that young ladies — and even young guys — were going to the store in the pajamas and slippers. Al fresco underwear is obviously the next step.

But before anyone thinks complete nudity will be acceptable in public, remember that even San Francisco has drawn the line at that point.

Enough for how some of us wear pants. Let’s talk about how they sell pants.

Why do stores put the pants for guys with wider waists on the bottom shelf and the pants for guys with 28-inch waists on the top shelf?

It doesn’t make sense.

If you have a 40-inch waist the odds are you’re not under 4-foot-4. Bending down that far is bound to be a bit of a challenge.

By the same token the 28-inch waist guy could have somewhat of a challenge sorting through stacks of pants at eye level.

My biggest complaint is that I have never hit a size that has an abundant selection in style or color. When I was in the 40-inch range the size was limited.

It has been my luck to hit a size that is equally frustrating to shop for — 33-inch waist.

Almost all 32s fit either a bit too snug or else they make me wonder if one bad washing or one heavy meal would make it difficult to button or zip them. At the same time all 34s feel as if they’re going to fall down to my ankles at any minute.

So I’m stuck searching high and low — 33-inch waists tend to be midway on shelves —for 33s. Of course, my leg length of 30 inches apparently is even more off as it is married to a 33-inch waist.

Then there are the styles. No longer is there just slim, regular, and husky.

They use enduring terms just as “relaxed fit” or “a scooch roomier.”

I used to have to settle for husky. If I was the same size today it simply would be a “relaxed fit.”

I guess that is supposed to make you feel better. Take my word, you’d feel a lot better after shopping for a 40-inch waist pair of pants if you didn’t have to get down on your hands and knees to look for them on a bottom shelf.

Maybe they could come out with a pants style designed specifically as “saggers” and put them on the bottom shelf.

I’m sure it wouldn’t bother saggers to bend down that far. Besides, they already enjoy exposing their backsides in public.



This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.  He can be contacted at dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com or 209-249-3519.

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