According to Charleston City Councilman Wendell Gilliard, there’s nothing funny about saggy britches. And he aims to do something about it. If Gilliard gets his way, busting a sag will be illegal. Why? Gilliard has apparently seen enough drug dealers and gang members on the street with their pants under their asses to recognize a link between underwear and outlaws when he sees one. If there’s a shooting downtown, Gilliard says odds are the shooter was busting a sag.

While we’re not as tuned in to this issue as Gilliard, or Tim Gunn for that matter, we know there are some pretty nasty criminals out there who have the good sense to pull up their pants.

The saggy pants ordinance has been shelved for now, but Gilliard will have another crack at getting a city ban approved when it’s reintroduced sometime near the end of the year. Then he’s off to the state legislature, where Sen. Robert Ford has pledged his support for a statewide saggy pants bill. Call it an exercise in levity or an effort to expand the debate, but here’s our brief homage to the saggy pants controversy.

A Call to Legs

Stand up for your right to let your pants fall down

These are trying times for America, times when our individual liberties are under attack every day. Your right to own any type of gun is being challenged. Your right to create a front organization to fling dirt anonymously at your political opponents is now a no-no. Your right to express your religious beliefs … to a classroom of high school students is frowned upon. (How else will they learn about that day eons ago when the galactic overlord Xenu imprisoned the souls of all of mankind inside a gigantic volcano and forced them to watch 3-D movies? Praise be to L. Ron.)

This violation of our rights is unacceptable. And few are willing to do anything to stop Uncle Sam from intruding once again into our private lives and taking away yet another one of our cherished rights.

Sadly, right here, right now, our rights are being challenged in Charleston. Three Charleston City Council members — Wendell Gilliard, James Lewis, and Robert Mitchell — have decided that you should no longer have the right to wear your pants below your buttocks. For them, busting a sag should be against the law.

This aggression against our civil liberties must not stand. This assault against our rights must be resisted. This war against tradition must be won.


But I thought busting a sag was a new fad, you say. Well, that’s exactly what those who oppose this cherished fashion statement want you to believe. They want to trick you into believing that wearing your pants down low originated in the big house. This is a big lie. Many of South Carolina’s greatest heroes proudly busted a sag.

Let’s start with Edward Rutledge, a son of Charleston, a South Carolina governor, and one of those brave souls who risked incurring the wrath of King George III when he signed the Declaration of Independence. As you have probably heard, the celebrated painting by John Trumbull is not historically accurate. Perhaps you heard that Trumbull was not in Independence Hall when that glorious document was signed. True, true. But did you ever hear that Rutledge was busting a sag at that fateful moment when he scribbled his John Hancock … alongside Hancock himself? Of course you haven’t, but that’s what happened.

And then there’s Gen. Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox. Did you know that Marion instructed his men to wear their britches at “half-mast” so that they could readily identify each other while they patrolled the woods and swamps of the Lowcountry scouting for Redcoats? And yet some historians claim that innovation is what gave Marion’s soldiers the edge they needed over the British.

While we could list the other Sandlappers from the distant past who wore their pants low — great men such as John C. Calhoun and Pitchfork Ben Tillman — this tradition was not one that was forgotten by modern leaders.

Most notable was Strom Thurmond, former S.C. governor and long-serving U.S. senator, an icon on Capitol Hill perhaps above all others. While many are apt to discuss Thurmond’s day-long filibuster at the Senate in order to stop the passage of a civil rights bill, few mention that somewhere between hours 12 and 13, Thurmond, feeling weak and weary, took off his jacket, loosened his belt, and let his pants slip down below his buttocks. Some say that at that moment, as he busted a sag in the style of our forefathers, his spirit lifted, his energy level rose, and his ability to recite the remaining pages of the Washington, D.C. phone book grew louder and more passionate.

So, remember the actions of these great men whenever you hear anyone, whether it be a close friend or an elected official, bemoan busting a sag. The best of us have worn our pants this way, and the best of us will continue to do so. Which is why we urge each and every one of our readers to honor this proud tradition and our shared heritage and to bust a sag in public.

Show your waistband and show your pride. Drop your drawers and let everyone know that liberty is ours. —Chris Haire

How to Properly Bust a Sag

You might sit back and ask yourself, “I too would like to bust a sag, but exactly how do I — a suit-and-tie-clad member of middle management at the esteemed [insert company name here] — go about doing it without making a complete fool of myself?”

Here are some pointers to get you well on your way to being one of the fashion-forward. —Scott Suchy

The Underwear

Bustin’ a sag is the time to show off your very best … in undergarments. Specifically boxers, nice boxers. Nobody wants to see the tighty whities your mother bought you, and they certainly don’t want to see a thong on your sweaty ass (professional underwear models a possible exception). Also, it doesn’t matter how proud you are of your Spider-Man Underoos — just, no.

The Waistlines

A sag by its very definition consists of two waistlines: the boxers and the pants. The boxers stay at your normal waistline ­— this is not a plumbers’ convention. The pants then “sag” anywhere from two inches to two feet. Anything more than a couple of feet may cause you to trip and fall or waddle like a penguin.

The Belt

While totally optional, the best saggy pants hover almost Jedi-like at just the right level without the assistance of a belt.

Other Considerations

Greasy, chili-covered meals are probably not the best idea while sporting this look ­— you and everyone around you will thank us later.

The Man on the Street

Should there be a global ban on saggy pants?


“Yes. It never looks as good on the street as it does on those Ying Yang Twins videos.”

Nancy Livermore


“No. How else will I compete with my fellow suitors? My ass is my best asset.”

Theodore Smith


“Culturally aware public officials must bear in mind the socioeconomic, metaphysical, and ontological underpinnings of the act of, as you say, ‘busting a sag.’ Clearly, exposing one’s underpants, in a questionable but no less fashionable manner, is the consequence of some inchoate cause, rather than a first principle itself, that has yet to be identified.”

Lucinda Burke


“I don’t know why we should have to wear pants to begin with.”

Wayward Liddell