There are lots of ancient laws on the books, called Sartorial Statutes or sartorial laws, about how people of certain social classes can’t wear lace, or cloth of gold, or cloth of silver, or purple, or brocade, or crimson, or scarlet, or silk, and so on. Nearly all such laws in academic literature are taken as evidence of a rising middle class with increased wealth and an increased desire to look good; and the desire of an aristocratic upper class to maintain certain privileges.
I am suddenly aware though, as a result of this article, that such laws are mostly about a desire to control sexuality and “plumage displays” — and that they are at least as much about the old trying to control the young as they are about class consciousness. This low-rider jeans issue is also about trying to control what the poor and what certain races can and cannot wear. It’s rather disgusting.