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Who are Saggers?

By Kate Monteith
Updated Mar 06, 2024
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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.

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Discussion Comments

By Chmander — On Feb 07, 2014

Before I read this article, I wasn't aware that sagging pants were a trend that started in prison. That's very interesting. Adding onto what the article says, I'm assuming that men wore their pants low in prison because they would always get raped by other male prisoners. Because of the constant rape and assaults, their pants would always remain low, so they would know when their next "date" is. It's just a thought, but an interesting one nonetheless.

By Viranty — On Feb 06, 2014

In my opinion, I find it disgraceful and somewhat insulting when I see the students at my high school with their pants low. Being an African American student myself, it really makes me look bad. As an example, one day at my high school, we had a substitute teacher, and the students were misbehaving. Before class ended, the teacher gave a class lecture of some of the things he had seen while at the school.

Afterwards, he called out the black males in the class, and reprimanded them for wearing saggy pants. Though he wasn't talking to me directly, I still felt that he was singling me out. Thankfully, I approached him afterwards, and he was very apologetic.

By RoyalSpyder — On Feb 06, 2014

It's definitely a disturbing trend that I've noticed quite lately.

@Chmander - I have seen this trend at my high school too, and I find it to be rather disturbing. Why does it seem like it's mostly the African American men who wear their pants in that position? You even made note of that.

It's hard not to stereotype them, especially when I see it so often at my school. It's just a thought, but maybe the reason why a lot of them wear their pants so low is because they're trying to be hip and cool. As other have said, it's basically the latest "fashion". Too bad they don't realize that it's just making them look bad.

By Chmander — On Feb 05, 2014

In all honesty, I tend to have mixed feelings about sagging pants. On one hand, if you don't have a belt to wear, then it's understandable. After all, belts are what keep your pants from falling down, right? However, the saggers that annoy me are those who wear their pants low intentionally. I don't want to sound like I'm stereotyping, but from my experience, it's mostly the young black men who have their pants in the position. I see it all the time at my high school, and it's very embarrassing.

By wavy58 — On Jul 08, 2011

@kylee07drg - I got injured at my school by someone else’s saggy pants back in 1992. After that, my school banned that fashion trend.

I was going down the stairs to my next class, and saggy britches boy was behind me. Some preppy kids came up behind him, started snickering, and stepped on his pants legs to cause him to trip.

When he fell, he lunged forward right into my back, and I fell down several concrete steps. I had multiple scrapes and bruises, but thankfully, I didn’t break any bones. I broke his fall pretty well, and he felt bad about the whole thing. I think he would have stopped wearing the pants even if the school hadn’t adopted a no-sag policy.

By Oceana — On Jul 08, 2011

After seeing so many hip-hop stars wearing saggy pants in their videos, I became curious as to what it would feel like to wear them. They made them look so comfortable, but I thought it would feel weird.

I wanted to see for myself, so I borrowed a pair of my brother’s jeans. I belted them just below my butt and tried to walk around. I felt like I often feel in dreams where I am naked in public. Even though I had a long t-shirt on that covered all areas, it just felt wrong!

It also felt horrible to let that much of my pants drag the ground. It sounded like I was kicking clothing across the floor with each step. I absolutely hated it.

By kylee07drg — On Jul 07, 2011

Many schools have banned sagging pants. My school banned them as soon as the trend began, even though no one had yet worn them there. The school officials were pretty strict on dress code, and we could not wear skirts or shorts above our knees, so it was no surprise that they reacted quickly to prevent anyone from wearing saggy pants.

Besides places like my school that just aim for a reserved dress code, other schools simply banned saggy pants as a safety precaution. Someone going down the stairs in such loose clothing could easily trip or be tripped and injure themselves.

By Sierra02 — On Jul 06, 2011

Not all saggers are part of the hip-hop or skater world. My boyfriend wears saggy jeans all the time and he likes country music.

In my eyes nothing looks better than a group of barefoot shirtless saggers exposing the tops of their tight designer boxers. Take a look at the Abercrombie & Fitch shopping bags. That should give you an idea of what I'm talking about.

By Markus — On Jul 06, 2011

I took my ten year old nephew shopping recently at the mall and that's when I discovered that he too is part of the saggers boys revolution.

He's only ten years old! Every clothing store we went in were selling these over-sized jeans even in his little size. I was amazed when I asked the clerk where the normal jeans were, and she replied that these are the normal jeans.

Oh well, times change and the trend in clothing seems to change just as quickly. Not only did I break down and purchase two pairs of sagging jeans for him but I also bought a package of designer boxer briefs.

My theory is if our youth wants to play peek-a-boo with their undergarments then they might as well look good. Right?

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