S.C. county looks to ban popular sagging pants

Jasper County officials are scrutinizing residents' waistlines not because of the prevalence of obesity and rising health care costs, but because of fashion sense.

The sagging-pants look has been around since hip-hop artists popularized it in the 1990s, but Jasper County Councilman LeRoy Blackshear wants to ban the style that he says is a common and indecent sight.

“It's more or less common decency,” he said. “I don't want to see anybody walking in front of me and you can tell them the color of their underpants. Would you?”

On Monday, the County Council will take up Blackshear's proposed ordinance to make it a misdemeanor for anyone in public to wear pants more than 3 inches below their hips “and thereby exposing his or her skin or intimate clothing.”

The council must hold a public hearing and pass the ordinance with a majority vote at three separate meetings for final adoption.

Isidro Magos, a 16-year-old who attends Hardeeville Junior High/High School, was taken aback when the proposal was explained to him.

“Everyone's their own person and should be able to wear what they want. As long as it's not too indecent, you know,” he said.

Council Chairman George Hood said it was put on the agenda primarily to start the discussion.

“Being a former (school) administrator, I've always felt people should dress decently and to the occasion, that at no time should your underclothes be showing,” he said.