The Fashion Police – Underwear and the Law

The Fashion Police is a term used to describe people who critique other people’s clothes. It’s a tongue-in-cheek term that we don’t take too seriously. Fashion, particularly lingerie, and law aren’t words that you’d expect to see in a serious sentence together. What does lingerie have to do with the law? Is it in the constitution to wear underwear? No. But surprisingly, the law has been distracted by underwear more than once with governments seeking to be official Fashion Police.

Remember in the 90s and naughties when it was fashionable to show your pretty underwear above the waistband of your trousers? Whether you thought people should or shouldn’t show off their pretty lingerie like this, imagine if it wasn’t a case of shouldn’t but couldn’t. Imagine if showing your black lace undies above your trouser waistband was illegal. That’s exactly what almost happened in Louisiana and Virginia in 2005.

Underwear and the Law – Lingerie Legislation

In 2005, Louisiana and Virginia law-makers didn’t like people’s nice panties showing in public. They didn’t go so far as to add the requirement to wear underwear to the constitution. But they tabled legislation that would make it illegal to show underwear in a “lewd or indecent manner”. Specifically, they targeted people who intentionally “display his below-waist undergarments, intended to cover a person’s intimate parts, in a lewd or indecent manner” in public. So this means tradespersons whose underwear often shows above their trouser waistbands in the course of their work are ok.

People who did show their underwear in a “lewd or indecent manner” would be fined $175 in Louisiana and $50 in Virginia. Surely a bill making the government the Fashion Police wouldn’t pass, right? The bill was voted down in Louisiana. But surprisingly, the bill did pass the first vote in the Virginia House of Delegates! It was only stopped in the second vote when the Senate Courts of Justice Committee voted against the bill.

But how much is too much? When the bill was tabled and voted for by the House of Delegates, it sparked a few questions. Is it all underwear or only certain types that would be illegal? Exactly how much underwear on display is considered ‘lewd’? Who would decide what was ‘lewd’ and what wasn’t? Not even Howell, the delegate who proposed the bill could answer these questions.

Who’d have thought that nice panties could cause such a commotion! If you choose to show your pretty underwear when you go out, why not don your Candis pretty lingerie!