Dare to Ask: Why do some people wear clothes with the
tags still on them?
By Phillip Milano
The Florida Times-Union
Why do black people seem to wear clothes with the tags still on them? --
I've seen guys do this in high school and at my university. It's usually on
expensive caps and tennis shoes. To me it's stupid, but obviously they want
everybody to know about their expensive whatevers. -- Dee, 19, black female,
I heard it's done so they can return the item after they wear it. -- JR, 44,
black female, Chicago
Dishonest people, not black people, wear clothes and then return them. --
Tresha, 23, black, Atlanta
In black culture, money is everything. So if you buy something designer, you
leave the tag on so everyone will know it was expensive. -- Princess, 17, black,
Princess: Money is not everything in the black culture! It's like the
majority of questions asked by whites at yforum.com who believe that because
they see a few black people do this or that, that we are all the same. -- Marie,
black, New York
I see hardly any blacks wearing tags. It's like saying why do whites worship
Abercrombie? Those few ignorant individuals you refer to are trying to
superficially display the brand for something expensive they can't really
afford. -- Peter, black, Jacksonville
What gives you the right to call someone ignorant who wears tags? My aunt
does it all the time, and I find her very classy and intelligent. -- N., 14,
black female, Baltimore
The only thing I've ever worn with tags were fitted hats. It was the style.
It's not just blacks. It's just about anyone into hip-hop fashion. -- Lakeisha,
17, black, Roanoke, Va.
We left a sticker on once, just to brag. It doesn't work with a Honda Fit.
Leaving tags and stickers on is all about signaling, said Dan Ariely,
professor of behavioral economics at Duke University and author of "Predictably
Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions."
"It's like a peacock: Why does it have that un-useful tail? It's saying,
'Look at me!' It's why men buy red sports cars," Ariely said. "With a price tag,
it says 'I have this nice item, plus it's new.' "
A visible tag also shows a lack of symmetry, which brings attention because
it doesn't fit expectations, he said. "So it's doing something against the
The practice may have begun in urban areas, though it didn't stay there.
People who study trends have found that many of them start in urban, poor areas,
"And rap in general is an anti-cultural sentiment. It's supposed to be
rebellious ... like a rapper wearing his jeans low. There are all these small
nuances that change rapidly for those who understand what's going on. You want
to create a sign that shows you are aware of the changes going on."
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