Fashion Police Foiled in Florida

Kudos to Palm Beach County Judge Laura Johnson, who recognized what voters in Riviera Beach did not: fashion statements are in fact statements, messages about who we are, definitions of our personal autonomy. And frankly, notwithstanding the desire of 72 percent of Riviera Beach's voters for fashion conformity, it ain't none of their darn business if (presumably younger) city residents want to wear saggy pants.

The judge overturned Riviera Beach's saggy pants ordinance, which had prohibited anyone from wearing pants below the waist exposing skin or underwear. ... Offenders were cited with a $150 fine for the first offense and $300 for the second offense, considered a misdemeanor.

The ordinance was enforced only about 20 times (including the arrest of Julius Hart, whose public defender challenged the ordinance after his client spent the night in jail), which suggests that the police weren't ticketing plumbers. Do we really want to give the police discretion to decide whose below-the-waist skin is offensive? More to the point, do we really want fashion-sensitive voters deciding how we can or can't dress? How would Riviera Beach residents like it if the government banned those ridiculously huge wrap-around sunglasses that seniors love to wear?

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    I'd like to outlaw chewing gum, (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by inclusiveheart on Sun Apr 26, 2009 at 07:05:47 PM EST
    wearing a bad cheap bra under a top that inevitably exposes the bad cheap bra straps, the color "mauve", men's t-shirts worn under white dress shirts, high heels (because I can't wear them anymore and that's just not fair), G. Gordon Liddy, American Idol, that dance program, trailers and trailer parks, stinky cheese that ruins perfectly good meat dishes, people who cut in front of you and then walk slowly AND weave so that you can't pass, and some other things that annoy me that I won't list.  But even if I found common cause with a majority of people on any one of these fronts, I wouldn't really want to outlaw any of it.  It is a nice dream to think that this world would perfectly reflect my tastes and my vision, but in a way it is not.  Although, banning G. Gordon Liddy or the color mauve would be very tempting - I am glad that I don't and should not have the power to do that.

    And just to clarify on the trailer parks - as a "good" liberal, I'd like to see the cheapest housing in this rich country be something of better efficiency, quality and strength than those tin cans are.

    Wearing a t-shirt (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by TChris on Sun Apr 26, 2009 at 07:25:05 PM EST
    under a white dress shirt is a serious mistake, unless the dress shirt is made of flimsy, thin material that allows the man's nipples to show through.  C'mon guys, spend the money it takes to buy decent fabric.  We don't want to see your nipples even if you're sweating.

    Fashion police on t-shirts (none / 0) (#23)
    by herb the verb on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 10:24:44 AM EST
    There are a host of reasons to wear a plain, white t-shirt under a dress shirt, most are not a fashion statement, but a sacrifice to practicality and a professional appearance.

    If I had to see one or the other, I would rather see a white t-shirt through your shirt than that enormous flaming skull tattoo, your bright orange beary body hair, pit stains, nipples or man-breasts.

    If you keep your jacket on, nobody will know you are wearing a t-shirt, while the others....

    That said, this is messed up.


    The violation is in the link (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Inspector Gadget on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 09:10:58 AM EST
    it's a spammer

    Let them wear them (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by catmandu on Tue Apr 28, 2009 at 11:20:10 AM EST
    I was seated behind someone in baggy pants at a meeting once.  He was practically mooning me, so I flipped a penny into the canyon!!
    Can you believe he didn't notice?

    Although I do support an ordinance (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Sun Apr 26, 2009 at 06:15:10 PM EST
    making it an infraction to hook suspenders from the bottom of the shirt to the top of the lowriding panrs.  

    are these laws examples (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jen M on Sun Apr 26, 2009 at 06:21:54 PM EST
    of getting government out of our lives?

    (and hey! I need those glasses!)

    My dad loved those glasses. (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by TChris on Sun Apr 26, 2009 at 06:47:00 PM EST
    And in a few years, I probably will too.  But they look ridiculous.

    You'll recover (none / 0) (#7)
    by Jen M on Sun Apr 26, 2009 at 07:25:42 PM EST

    There ought to be a law (none / 0) (#4)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sun Apr 26, 2009 at 06:58:03 PM EST
    against wearing black in the springtime.  Why do people wear black in the spring when there are so many other, um, COLORS?

    Of course, I'm kidding.

    Rah-rah for getting the government out of my freaking closet.

    Fortunately (none / 0) (#8)
    by Steve M on Sun Apr 26, 2009 at 07:51:47 PM EST
    President Obama has already weighed in on this issue:

    Here is my attitude: I think people passing a law against people wearing sagging pants is a waste of time. We should be focused on creating jobs, improving our schools, health care, dealing with the war in Iraq, and anybody, any public official, that is worrying about sagging pants probably needs to spend some time focusing on real problems out there. Having said that, brothers should pull up their pants. You are walking by your mother, your grandmother, your underwear is showing. What's wrong with that? Come on. There are some issues that we face, that you don't have to pass a law, but that doesn't mean folks can't have some sense and some respect for other people and, you know, some people might not want to see your underwear -- I'm one of them.

    People (none / 0) (#12)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sun Apr 26, 2009 at 09:45:16 PM EST
    are hung up on body parts and the clothing that covers them -- and I suppose the president is one of those hung up people.  What's the difference between underwear and a cotton tee-shirt?  Answer:  The location where it's worn.

    We all need to grow up, and realize that underwear is like a*sholes.  Everyone has them.  Silly that we have to be hush-hush about it.

    I've never understood the fashion mentioned aboe.  For me it's mugly.  But it's not my call -- nor is it my grandmother's.


    I have a friend (none / 0) (#13)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sun Apr 26, 2009 at 09:47:28 PM EST
    who couldn't say "laxative".  She had to say, medicine to treat the area where the colonoscopy is done.  Talk about ridiculous prudishness.

    I'd like to outlaw the wearing of (none / 0) (#9)
    by of1000Kings on Sun Apr 26, 2009 at 08:02:28 PM EST
    matching bottoms and tops (unless you're in the military)...nobody needs to wear purple tiger-striped bottoms AND tops--one or the other is plenty...

    or how about a law that limits any material with stretch to those people under 175 lbs...just saying...

    so glad to see some sanity with this ruling...

    I've always supported... (none / 0) (#10)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Sun Apr 26, 2009 at 08:52:17 PM EST
    ...some sort of permit process for spandex and revealing swim/beach wear.  

    I'd outlaw those huge bug-eyed sunglasses the kids wear, wearing of hats indoors, stripes with plaids...

    /pulls pants up to chest and chases kids off the lawn


    Hats indoors! Off with their heads! (none / 0) (#11)
    by oldpro on Sun Apr 26, 2009 at 08:58:16 PM EST
    Or at a minimum, ban them.  Ye gods, don't them folks got no upbringin'?

    Yer kidden about the stipes and plaids, tho...right?


    Maybe. (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Sun Apr 26, 2009 at 09:53:20 PM EST
    I'm still trying to figure out why I can't wear a white t-shirt under my white dress shirt and what the heck color mauve is.

    Well....you CAN wear a white T-shirt (none / 0) (#15)
    by oldpro on Sun Apr 26, 2009 at 10:53:02 PM EST
    (better known as an undershirt) under your white shirt if you wish.  Just make sure your white shirt material is substantial enough that we don't have to see your underwear THROUGH it!

    And mauve is a shade of purple...greyish/reddish.  Don't worry.  That's not going to be on the final.


    Mauve (none / 0) (#16)
    by TChris on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 01:13:51 AM EST
    was the standard color used to paint interior walls in federal buildings at some point in the 1980's.

    I know (none / 0) (#22)
    by sj on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 09:35:18 AM EST
    It was very fashionable then, late 80's - early 90s.  That's when I bought my house.  I got some carpeting based on that whole mauve aesthetic for my whole upstairs.  I had to go all sensible and high quality and the darn stuff is still in really good shape...

    But!! It helped me learn the meaning of "classic style."


    how about (none / 0) (#20)
    by Jen M on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 07:38:10 AM EST
    "Puritan style"

    TChris, hello? (none / 0) (#24)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 11:56:49 AM EST
    MaryWatson's spamming your thread with a link to her apple cider selling website, that's Steve M's point.

    Though I do loves me some fresh apple cider...

    Sorry (none / 0) (#25)
    by TChris on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 05:01:16 PM EST
    I stand corrected.  But I'm letting it go anyway, despite my aversion to apple cider (although maybe if it's mixed with Diet Pepsi, Bailey's, and heck, maybe some rum .... Jeralyn, what do you think?  New summer drink here?)

    No biggie. (none / 0) (#26)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Apr 28, 2009 at 02:29:58 AM EST
    I moved to CA in '91 from NJ and and every fall here I find myself jonesing for fresh apple cider.

    Two things I really miss from the east coast, warm ocean water and apple cider...


    warm ocean water??? (none / 0) (#28)
    by CST on Tue Apr 28, 2009 at 11:32:19 AM EST
    Maybe I need to go south more...

    Personally, I think I could live without apple cider.  It's the lack of real seasons that would kill me.


    NJ has 4 seasons: (none / 0) (#29)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Apr 28, 2009 at 11:41:17 AM EST
    rain, sleet, snow and mosquito.

    I don't miss them a bit.