Bum flaps were another item on the suggested Punk uniform list circa 1977. Official versions, possibly bought from Vivienne Westwood’s Seditionaries on the Kings Road were made from a chubby crescent of fabric, which was often either a bold tartan or sometimes a faux leopard print. Bum flaps were attached by either clipping them onto the belt loops at the back of your bondage trousers with D-rings, or just held on with safety pins. Once attached your bum flap would proudly hang over the seat of the trousers, rakishly swinging below the hem of your “Destroy” shirt. As ever, punks would often by-pass the “official” version of anything (even if that was Westwood) and would simply steal beer towels from local pubs to wear in their place.
People have pondered their use, whether they were functional or just decorative, the question of whether they “did” anything? If they were worn as a purely decorative item, especially if they were made from tartan, then you could make the case that there was a hint of the Celtic warrior to them, a sort of reversed sporran with a side order of bondage. As far as parents or other mainstream traditional enemies of Punk were concerned Bum Flaps certainly checked the “annoying” and “infuriating” boxes, and so maybe that was their “use”. There has also been an unlikely suggestion that Punks wore them to keep their trousers clean and warm while they lounged around on the streets or posed on the local architecture. Or maybe, their status came about just because everyone liked saying the words, say it loud, say it proud, say Bum Flaps, Bum Flaps, Bum Flaps.
Punk Boys. Concerned about getting their trousers dirty.