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5 Ways to Prevent Plumber’s Crack (And what causes it)

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Plumbers crack is something that can happen to anyone in their lifetime. Chances are you’ve bent to tie shoe laces or pick a few items in a car trunk.

If you wore tight low-rise jeans, shorts, or skirts, you unknowingly displayed a plumber’s crack to those behind you.

Without a doubt, this is embarrassing to those involved. But did you know all this mishap is preventable?

Read on to learn tips on how to prevent plumber’s crack, its history, advantages of preventing it, and more!

The best methods to fix plumbers’ cracks are varied. They include wearing an undershirt, using a belt, wearing loose pants, wearing the right underwear, and putting on longer shirts.

What Is a Plumber’s Crack?

Before we go deeper, we need to define what it is we’re talking about. Plumbers crack is the part of the butt crack that is visible above the upper part of the pants.

It appears when one bends over or crouches. As this happens, this part of the pants gets pulled down, while the shirt rides up, exposing this section. 

It is important to note that while it may touch on a few minor potential health issues, as we shall see later, the plumber’s crack is not life-threatening.

Rather it should be viewed more as an embarrassment to you and the others around you.

A Brief History of the Term ‘Plumbers Crack’

The emergence of the term plumbers crack is thought to have started in the late 1980s and early 1990s in the UK and the US, respectively. Later, the term spread and was popularized by appearing in an article in Seattle Times. 

The article described the then emerging fashion of tight-fitting low-rise pants of the time, which formed the famed crack when the wearers bent.

With time the use of the term has spread globally, with its use being featured in books, magazines, cartoons, movies, and TV. For example, it was featured in Nicole Grey’s novel, DayDream Believer. 

What Causes Plumbers Crack?

The causes of plumber’s cracks are numerous. Let us examine a few below.

Going Without Underwear

Nowadays, skipping the underwear is a common thing across the gender divide. Of course, there are personal reasons for this.

But the result is the loss of an essential cover that would hide this part of your body.

Additionally, wearing underwear gives the pants a place to hold on, reducing the possibility of sliding down. 

Wearing Oversize Pants

If the pants you’re wearing are loosely fitting around your waist, they will fail to hold well around your waist and keep on sliding down.

Wearing Skinny Jeans

Skinny jeans are designed to be tight-fitting and have a lower rise. With this design, bending or crouching pulls the section of fabric around the bum area downward, exposing the bum crack.

Body Shape

Having a flat bottom means you do not have enough flesh for pants to hold on to. Following some exercises might add some muscles around this section for a better grip. Examples include lunges and squats.

Why Fixing Plumber’s Crack Is Important

You shouldn’t unnecessarily beat yourself because you inadvertently exposed a little plumber’s crack. It is not the end of the world.

With that said, this shouldn’t be the norm as it has some health consequences, wrong image issues, and hurt others around you. 

Let us examine why fixing this issue is important.

Plumber’s Cracks Can Be a Health Risk

One of the causes of plumber’s crack is wearing tight clothes. Wearing too tight clothes creates pressure in this section which causes excessive sweating, which is ideal for the growth of bacteria.

Again, with the crack section exposed, there is a lot of exposure to the elements, including dust. When mixed with sweat, that is another perfect recipe for problems.

It May Cause Injury to the Skin

People with plumbers crack issues keep on tagging the pants up to prevent them from riding below the waist. This frequent adjustment can cause skin irritation and chafing around this section resulting in skin problems.

It Lowers Your Image to Others

Exposing your butt crack exposes you as someone with low dressing skills. This, in turn, may send the wrong image to the people you interact with. Of course, even when you’re a plumber, this is not a desirable image.

Additionally, it might also affect your self-confidence. Knowing a private part of your body gets exposed to other people is not a great self-confidence booster.

How to Fix Plumber’s Crack

Wearing Undershirts

This is especially important for plus-size people with loose skin and flesh around the waist. An undershirt holds tightly all this together around the body.

Also, the lower part of an undershirt clings to the skin around this section. This means even if the pants slide slightly down, the undershirt will keep the section covered.

Wearing a Belt

This is probably one of the best solutions to this problem. Wearing a belt holds the pants, skirt, or short rightfully where they should be. In that case, even when crouching or bending, they will not slide down.

If, for some reason, you do not like belts, wearing suspenders is an effective option as well.

Using Clips

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Clips are a brilliant alternative to belts or suspenders. Pants clips hold the pants firmly together and prevent them from sliding down.

These are especially hardy for people who may engage in an active hustle bustle work that may require a lot of bending or crouching all the time. This includes plumbers and other repair artisans.

Wear Snug-Fitting Pants or Skirts

When it comes to waist size, neither tight nor loose-fitting help in preventing the plumber’s crack problem. However, wearing a snug fit is the best option.

It is not too tight to cause spillover of flesh and skin that exposes the bum crack. Likewise, loose fitting causes the pants to keep on sliding down.

If you’re interested in learning more about pant fits, I wrote an article for you.

Wear Long Shirts, or Dress Top

This is another way of eradicating this problem. With this trick, even when the shirt gets pushed up, there is enough material to cover the exposed part of your bum.

The only downside is if not well sized, some shirts might appear oversize and clumsy. Therefore, proper sizing is critical for effectiveness. 

While these shirts can be found in other sources, one company has stood out in finding solutions for the plumber’s crack. Duluth Trading Company, based in Wisconsin, is an apparel manufacturer that makes a wide variety of popular products in the market.

Among them is the widely marketed shirt branded “Longtail T.” It is so called for its unique lower back part that protects wearers from inadvertent exposure. 

According to the company, they have accomplished this by extending the tail length of their shirt by a few inches. This way, it stays put and stays put even as you bend or crouch.   

Choose the Right Underwear

Best Boxer Briefs for Men: Merino Wool vs Bamboo vs ExOfficio v Cotton

Wearing the right underwear is critical for taming the sliding pants. When it comes to underwear, you do not want one that is too tight or loose. While wearing too tight will hide the crack, it will make you uncomfortable. 

As for the loose-fitting underwear, it will keep on sagging and pulling the pants too. That makes the snug fitting the best choice to keep the pants in place.

The Wrong Way to Fix Plumber’s Crack

As we’ve found above, there are easy ways you can stump out plumbers crack and cover your modesty from the rest of the world.

Sadly, some people go about it the wrong way. Here are a few unworkable methods being peddled around that are not effective.

Camouflaging Plumbers Crack

This takes various forms of camouflaging the crack by diverting the attention from the wearer to other parts of the body. One way is to have a photo of a beautiful model on the lower part of the back of a T-shirt or a shirt. 

The aim is to have people get captivated by the photo and avoid looking at the exposed butt crack, which is just a few inches below the photo. Of course, this won’t work. While they may be distracted for a moment, that doesn’t stop the butt crack section from getting exposed.

Tying a Flannel Around the Waist

Although this might sound like a sensible method, it is still unworkable. Even as the flannel appears to cover the exposed butt, the pants may still be sliding down. That will require constant pulling them up to prevent them from completely dropping to your ankles. 

That aside, this is distractive and reduces the productivity of the wearer. Furthermore, it is a risky thing to do. Most repair people carry with them tools that might get court up by the loose part of the flannel and cause accidents.

Wearing a Coverall

This is another impractical method you will find on the internet. With the overalls on, the butt is hidden, but like the other fake examples we have shown above, the pants underneath will keep sliding down.

To avoid it from plummeting further down, you will still need to keep pulling it up to the right position. This makes it obvious productivity and time suck.

Therefore it is also a temporary but impractical measure in the long run.

Advantages of Preventing Plumber’s Crack

Considering the above discussion, it is clear there are merits to preventing plumbers crack. The benefits include improvement of posture, self-confidence, and overall health. Let us have a look at them in more detail.

Improving self-confidence

Clearly, this is one of the major benefits of preventing this problem. Plumbers crack makes you self-aware, reducing self-confidence.

In contrast, knowing you can bend without exposing your private cleavage frees your mind to concentrate on your personal and professional life with confidence.

Health Improvement

As we found earlier, plumber crack is a recipe for the growth of microorganisms. This results from the bum crack getting exposed to the elements, including dust.

When this gets mixed with sweat, it leads to the growth of microbes that cause the appearance of irritating rashes.

Fixing it helps in cutting down on the infections in this body section and also prevents the spread to other parts of your body.

Improving the Posture

Without fixing the plumber crack you’ve to pose in certain ways to hide it. For example, you might try to bend as you engage in your work, but still be struggling not to bend too much.

This is to avoid exposing too much of your bottom. This conflict in postures might result in the development of back problems.

Frequently Asked Question

Can I Use Suspenders to Prevent Plumber’s Crack?

Suspenders are great in preventing plumbers crack. While using other methods such as clips and belts works, using suspenders has a clear advantage.

With belts keeping the pants in place is much harder. But when it comes to suspenders, they are more stable as they are hitched at the shoulders.

Furthermore, there are specially designed work suspenders for those that carry a heavy tool belt.

How Can I Politely Tell Someone He Is Showing Plumbers Crack?

This will depend on how close you’re to the person. It will be easier if it is a spouse since all you have to do is use your normal communication style.

If it is a work colleague, you may start by complimenting him on how he is productive at work. Then you can progress the talk to how he exposes the plumber’s crack to his colleagues without knowing.

You can then offer suggestions such as for him to buy suspenders or a belt.

Why Is It Called a Plumber’s Crack?

The term originates from the posture taken by plumbers when doing repair work. It mimics a thickset plumber on his knees inspecting the plumbing system. In this posture, the pants drop low while the shirt rides upwards, exposing the upper part of the bum crack.

Of course, this posture can be taken by anyone. But it is stereotyped on plumbers, as it is their common posture as they ply their trade.

I also have comprehensive guides on stopping all your clothes from falling down, and on keeping other parts of your body from showing through clothes that may interest you to read next.


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