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IT’S LIKE THAT: Here’s To “The Sag”

IT’S LIKE THAT:  Here’s To “The Sag” (photo)

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Just the other day while I was taking the subway downtown, I noticed a teenager wearing a pair of jeans (purposely) drooped down to his kneecaps. It caught my attention, because he was also wearing a long, baggy shirt, which made it look like he had a really loooonnnggg torso. Even if this kid pulled up his pants, I doubt his drawers could’ve reached his waist.

Was he wearing little kid pants?!

(left: The drawers and the people who sag them.)

Whatever fashion concoction he was working on, it was evident that the teen was inspired by “the sag”. If you’ve been living in a cave for the last 20 years, it’s the style in which one wears their pants just below the waist, while letting a glimpse of underwear peak out above their beltline (how big the glimpse is up to you).

I speak of “the sag” today, because when the kid with the long torso passed, it occurred to me that “the sag” has never fully gone out of style. It’s not as prevalent today–especially since it’s not as easy to sag skinny jeans–but it’s still around. Go to a place where the tweens, teens, and twenty-somethings gather, and you’ll see more waistbands than you will in a Fruit Of A Loom commercial.

My first exposure to “the sag” was in high school–late ’80’s/early ’90’s–right around the time the style reached its tipping point. Gangsta-rap-music-worshipping teens were the first to loosen their belt buckles. They were paying homage to their favorite rappers of the time, who in turn, were paying homage to their favorite comrades and/or homies doing time.

Do an internet search on “the sag”, and you’ll quickly discover the trend of perpetually pulling up your pants began in prison. Jailhouse uniforms aren’t as size specific as an outfit you’d try on at H&M, so you could imagine why prisoners were always tugging on their belt loops. And speaking of belts, most prisons don’t allow them because A.) They make for good weapons, and B.) They make for good hangman nooses.

Gangsta rap, which was gaining mainstream popularity in the early 90’s, began glorifying the darker side of street life–everything from gang symbols to drug references to wearing baggy pants like a convicted felon. Because America has a fascination with gangstas (why else do you think you can catch The Godfather on television any day of the week?), kids started to dress and act like their favorite gangsta rappers (you didn’t really think that many people were fans of the Los Angeles Raiders, did you?).

At first, seeing someone’s underwear poke out of their pants was somewhat unsettling–I mean, c’mon, it is called underwear. But month after month, year after year, more people started to do it. A couple years into the ’90s, pop music started to adopt the fashion trend, and before long not only was Ice T and N.W.A. sporting “the sag,” but so was Marky Mark and TLC. Even alternative music artists began adopting the fad, and before long it seemed that at least one artist from every genre in music was dropping their drawers.

During my senior year of high school, I joined in on the fun too–although my sag was always pretty conservative (the maximum I went was about three inches below my butt dimples). Unlike some of my suburban classmates who began sandwiching their sentences with the word “yo,” I didn’t adopt the gangsta rap mentality–butt (pun intended)–I’d be lying if I told you “the sag” didn’t give me a smidgen of empowerment. The only thing I didn’t like about the sag–besides people abusing its power by going total butt cheek on everyone–was its seemingly short life span. I saw too many pictures of my parents in the ’70s and didn’t want my future children to snicker at me the same way I did when I saw my Dad and Mom in tinted glasses, butterfly-collared shirts, and bell-bottom pants.

I thought for sure “the sag” would be dead by the time I graduated from college. Not only was it going strong, but many metal bands–yes, metal, the same genre of music that brought us spandex jumpsuits–began playing rap music, and you guessed it, gave everyone a good look at their boxer shorts. In the actual world of rap music, Eminem, who was just starting to make a name for himself, added an interesting twist to “the sag” by hiking up his underpants. In the 2000’s, punk rock and emo kids–who began drooping their drawers the previous decade–began wearing tight jeans, yet somehow managed to maintain “the sag,” even while wearing a studded belt. (Yes, I know, it defies logic.)

In the early to mid 00’s, the fashion world conceded to “the sag” by bringing back low-rider jeans, or as I like to call them: underwear-ready pants. Wouldn’t you know it, people even began sagging their low-riders.

As I get to an age where I begin thinking about having children, it seems like I don’t have to concern myself with how my waistline looks in old photographs anymore. Twenty years strong and it doesn’t look like “the sag” is going anywhere (even though various state lawmakers have tried to ban the style).

So c’mon people, feel free to go one notch wider on your belt, let the waistband on your underwear see the light of day, but just don’t go too low–otherwise it may look like you have a Michael Phelps-sized torso on top of David Archuleta-sized legs, which makes great fodder for a Monday afternoon blog posting.

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Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

via GIPHY

Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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