If you have ever caught more than a peek of underwear above a sagging pair of baggy jeans, you have spotted a sagger. People who purposely allow their pants to sag below the beltline to reveal their undergarments, and sometimes their buttocks, are informally called saggers. People who wear low-rise jeans exposing only skin don’t really qualify for the title of sagger.
Sagging pants became a form of fashion expression among the rap and hip hop music crowd as early as 1989. The earliest saggers may have been in prisons, where the incarcerated are made to go without a belt to prevent suicide attempts. Prisoners today are known to purposely wear sagging pants as a request for a sexual encounter.
Throughout the 1990s, rappers and other musical artists helped propel the unlikely practice of sagging to eventually become the height of hip hop fashion, especially among urban youth. It became common to see young saggers with enormous jeans cinched around their hips, the elastic bands of their undershorts clearly visible. Eventually, skateboarders also adopted the practice of sagging, which they sometimes call saggin’.
Before sagging became popular, the practice of showing your underwear on purpose would have been laughable. Today, letting your pants sag has become a mark of “street cred” that could even indicate that the wearer is a hardcore criminal. The members of some street gangs are known to wear sagging pants as a sign of their disregard for civilized society and the law. But, the majority of saggers are simply making a hip hop fashion statement.
The youthful skateboarding crowd gives an approving nod to the fashion of wearing saggy pants to the extreme. These saggers make sure the belt is tightened just below the buttocks, and the crotch of the saggy pants settles about knee level. It would seem an odd choice to wear one’s pants in a precarious position when engaged in a perilous sport, but perhaps the billowing folds of material create a heightened level of challenge.
When the sagging pants are worn to class it can upset parents and school administrators. Vast numbers of children wearing jeans that sag well below their underpants caused some schools to adopt uniforms. Some people consider saggy pants to be an insult to society in general. Several localities have established restrictions on sagging. Violators will receive a ticket or citation if their pants sag, and a few places have succeeded in cracking down on saggers.