US & Canada

Wildwood, New Jersey, bans low-slung trousers

A young man wearing low trousers in Wildwood, New Jersey 6 June 2013
Image caption Repeat offenders of the fashion crime may face community service

A beach town in the US state of New Jersey has passed a ban on low-slung trousers, jeans or shorts on its boardwalk.

Exposed skin and underwear had attracted complaints from tourists, says Wildwood Mayor Ernest Troiano.

The ban prohibiting trousers that hang more than 3in (7.6cm) below the hips on the boardwalk passed on Wednesday.

Civil liberties groups say the ban is unconstitutional and will be overturned if challenged in court.

Wildwood joins a handful of other small US communities that have acted against wearing low-slung trousers.

Under its plan, people would also be required to wear shoes and shirts on the boardwalk.

Mayor Troiano said: "When you have good families who call you up and say, 'I've been coming here 20 years, 30 years, 40 years and I'm not going to any longer because I'm not going to subject my children or my parents or grandparents to seeing some kid walk down the boardwalk with their butt hanging out,' you have to do something."

Under the new law, anyone who breaks the rules will be fined $25-$100 (£16-£64) the first time, and $200 for a repeat offence, or might have to complete 40 hours of community service.

But authorities have suggested police officers would probably issue a stern warning to first-time offenders.

Swimming costumes are already banned on Wildwood's boardwalk.

The fashion trend is believed to have originated in US prisons, where inmates are not allowed to wear belts.

But the look was taken up by hip-hop artists and is commonly worn by young people.

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