Hope nobody was planning to wear baggy jeans on their next trip to Ocala, Florida, because you could land in jail for the fashion faux pas. According to the Ocala Star Banner, the Ocala City Council passed a bill on Tuesday barring anyone in the town from wearing low-hanging bottoms. If you’re on city-owned property and you’re caught with your pants more than two inches below your natural waistline, exposing your underwear or your butt, you could face a fine up to $500 and six months in jail.
One of the proponents of the bill is City Councilwoman Mary Rich. Rich is the lone woman on the council, as well as the only black person currently sitting. She tried to get the law passed in 2009, but didn’t have much support, mainly because members thought that the ordinance would lead to racial profiling. “It doesn’t matter what color they are,” Rich said, “they all wear their pants down. If you pull them up, you might be a better citizen because you may be able to find a job, J.O.B.”
Regardless of what Councilwoman Rich says, the law is bound to disproportionately affect young black boys. After all, the baggy pants trend started with this group of males. It’s hard not to see this law as providing police the opportunity to initiate a confrontation or possible arrest with any young black man they see going about their business. “The kids are going to say something to you because they don’t know the law,” Howard Gunn, a local teacher said to the Ocala City Council. “And then, there you go. Escalation. Now you have an assault on a police officer.”
Besides the potential for racial profiling, the law will give police an excuse to search the offender for drugs or any illegal effects. Ocala Police Chief Greg Graham assured the council that the force “will use a great deal of discretion when we enforce it.”
Regardless of the dangerous precedent this sets, it seems a little ridiculous to ban sagging pants just because you’re not a fan of the trend. Fashionista‘s Tyler McCall points out that other cities have adopted similar laws, but the worst you’ll get is a fine — not jail time.
But if sagging pants is a fashion faux pas so offensive it’s literally criminal, I put it to Ocala to go the distance. Why stop at sagging pants? There are plenty of other crimes of fashion so heinous, perpetrators should be thrown in jail or at the very least, made to cough up some cash. Here are a few possible fashion don’ts that the Ocala City Council should consider:
- Rat tails
- Tights as pants
- Anything Ed Hardy
- Workout shorts as regular shorts
- Toe shoes
- Ill-fitting suits (so unprofessional and disrespectful)
- UGGs with skirts
- Camel toe
We doubt Rich will be petitioning for a law against any of these. We all hate baggy pants — nobody wants to unwillingly see anyone’s boxers. But just because you don’t like something, doesn’t make it a good reason to criminalize it. “We are not looking to charge people,” City Attorney Patrick Gilligan claims, adding that the law will function as more of a “warning.” Only time will tell if this actually happens.