|London, May 14 (ANI) The Marylebone Cricket Club, which is the moral guardian of cricketing tradition, has issued picture cards for the first time in its 225-year history to avoid any confusion over its dress code.
The photographs, using five members of staff as models, illustrates what is “acceptable” and “unacceptable” when it comes to entering the famous Pavilion and more casual Members’ Friends’ Enclosures.
So now, even the least sartorially savvy cricket lover will know exactly what is meant by a “lounge suit” or the phrase “smart casual”.
The move comes after several complaints were made by MCC members, whose average age is 57, that standards were slipping.
Many were upset about the amount of flesh on show, especially among newly allowed female members, and what they claimed was a higher emphasis on the “casual” element of the “smart casual” scale.
One described some women members as wearing “garb fit for a vigorous weeding session in the herbaceous border”.
But others have argued that the photographs open the organisation, which only allowed women to join in 1999, to allegations of stuffiness and elitism.
They also argue that they take no account of changing tastes and fashions.
Neil Priscott, the media manager, said that the move, copied from the sister organisation the Melbourne Cricket Club in Australia, was only meant to simplify guidelines.
“It has nothing to do with fashion,” the Telegraph quoted him as saying.
“One person’s taste is different from another. It is just the illustration of the dress regulations that have been there for a long time.
“The idea came from the Melbourne Cricket Club and we thought that was a good idea. We just wanted to simplify it for everyone,” he said.
The MCC’s rules currently state that whilst in the Pavilion and Long Room gentlemen shall wear “lounge suits or tailored jacket and trousers, shirt, tie or cravat and shoes with socks”.
All shirts must have a collar and polo shirts, T-shirts or anything made of denim are banned.
Ladies should “wear dresses; or skirts or trousers (which may be cropped below the knee) or culottes, with blouses or smart tops and shoes, boots or sandals”.
Bare midriffs, bikini tops, or leggings without a skirt over the top are a “no no”.
They are also banned from wearing “jeans and their close relations; leggings; jodhpur-style trousers; T-shirts; track suits; training shoes; plimsolls; flip-flop shoes; denim clothing and overalls”.
Rules for both sexes are relaxed for the Members’ Friends’ Enclosures with jeans and polo shirts allowed although T-shirts and cropped tops remain off limits.
Any transgression will lead to them falling foul of the infamously strict stewards on the steps of the members’ stands who will turn them away.
But one member said the move opens the MCC up to allegations of being “anachronistic”.
“The MCC seem to be living in some bygone era in where denim is the devil's fabric and cravats are still an indication of a well-dressed man,” a man, who wished to remain anonymous, said.
“You only have to look at the stewards in their black trousers and cream jackets to know that following the dress code is unlikely to leave you looking as smart as you might do for an evening at an exclusive restaurant.
“The idea of attending a sporting event in a three-piece suit does seem strangely anachronistic. Maybe it's time that the MCC got some fashion advice,” he said.
The MCC, which owns Lord’s in north West London and was founded in 1787, has received calls before to relax its strict dress code, not least from former England cricket captain Mike Brearley.
Brearley, who was president of the MCC in 2007, said he believed it was no longer necessary for members to wear a jacket and tie in the Pavilion. (ANI)