June 28, 2014

Sorry Love, You’re Not Coming In. Don’t Like Your Shoes

Apparently one should really take more care in choosing one’s outfit when one is going out for the day. When going out for dinner, ladies, you must really think carefully about whether the garments you wear are SUITABLE for the occasion.

No this isn’t a excerpt from a 1920’s dating manual. Unfortunately, this apparently applies to every day life in 2014. Groan. Let me explain.

I’ve heard of “stories” over a pint with friends recently who have bad experiences with “getting in” to places. There I was, thinking that dramas of “getting in” to places was dead and gone because we’re now “of legal drinking age”. No more stealing a relatives/older friends passport to attempt sneaking into a nightclub (“just borrow your Mum’s, they said, it’ll be fine, they said”), or theatrically jangling a pair of car keys at the bouncers (*flicks hair* I drove here, you know”), or buying a “Happy 21st Birthday Me” rosette badge from Clinton Cards), or (my personal favourite) after not getting in to a certain bar the first time going out and actually swapping clothes with a friend in the middle of the street (“they won’t remember us if we change our hair styles and swap jumpers!”) No, of course not. That will definitely work. Followed by the sad defeat: “I think we should just get a burger go and home”. 

But what about being denied entrance into a place when you’re an official adult, young professional, and all-round alright person? 

I used to hear horror stories from a friend who used to live in Paris: “there’s this one club that we used to go to. Except, the bouncers only let in beautiful people. We’d spend all afternoon choosing our outfits and hoping they’d pick us. One evening the bouncer let me and one of the girls in, leaving one of my friends out. It was humiliating, and generally quite an awful experience that a gross sweaty bouncer would be that shallow to only let in who is subjectively ‘good enough’ to be the chosen clientele for the night.”

This happened to me last weekend. Well, I was shoe-shamed, rather than hair or face-shamed. But still. Don’t worry it wasn’t actually that mortifying, it just made me laugh. I got criticised over my choice of shoe.

Well, fuck you, if you think that I want to go into any establishment that is that nit-picky. That spells out to me, that you are the most boring people on the planet, incapable of having a good time. I can’t think of anything worse than being SO uptight about what you’re wearing and only wanting to be around people who were wearing the same thing as you. SNORE. Plus, COME ON, I’m not going to wear 8-inch heels to dinner, at 1pm, with my parents. Heels make me angry at the best of times. I want to EAT SOME STODGY FOOD WITH MY FAMILY, not walk down a fricking catwalk. (And it was my birthday, the arseholes). 

Let me paint you the picture: It was broad daylight. Boiling hot. We were prepped to do some full on walking around London. I was wearing a nice frock (rare occasion) and a nice, clean, pair of Converse shoes. I felt like I’d made an effort. (I don’t really do full on dressy these days, normally I have a bit of a shit time if I feel over-dressed). I’m a dress and casual shoe type person, so shoot me. It was the Converses or the BIG BLACK BOOTS. Anyway, I wanted to go up to the Shard. It’s a nice building and I’d heard good things about restaurant. The door man stared at my shoes as I arrived. I genuinely thought in my head (ironically) “Ooh, he likes my shoes, can’t keep his eyes off ’em!”. No, no he did not like my shoes. Quite the opposite. He said that there was a smart shoe policy. He said that there was a STRICT no “Converses” policy. He didn’t even say “no trainers”, he just kept repeating that it was the “Converse” logo that he had a problem with. He was so MOODY. He looked at my feet as thought I was wearing two turds on each foot.

This reminded me of the one other time that someone stopped me entering the building because of my “questionable” item of clothing. I was going into a poncey club on the Kings Road. I was wearing a leather jacket with tassels on it. “You look like you’ve been through a shredder, love”. JEEZ, THESE BOUNCERS JUST DON’T GET FASHION, I thought. This jacket was the top featured item in ELLE this month, I thought. He seriously got shirty and reluctantly let me in after thinking that because I was wearing a tatty (FRICKING EXPENSIVE BTW) leather jacket that I was clearly a “trouble maker” reading to throw some bottles and light up a joint on the dance floor or something. In reality I wanted a pint of water and a little dance to some 90’s hip hop. No harm done. I then realised what sort of establishment this was when I saw a posh guy burst into tears because his mate got a speck of beer on his WHITE blazer. “Dimitrius!!!! This is dry-clean ONLY!!” And off I went, onwards to a new bar when I could actually move and shake, without worrying about poor clumsy Dimitrius and his uptight clan of mates in Wimbledon Whites. I bet White Blazer Guy has never experienced the joy of dancing with a glass of red wine in his life. Far too risky.

I asked on Twitter this morning if this had happened to anyone else: has anyone not let you into a club or restaurant based on what you’re wearing? @Liekev said she wasn’t let into a club in Amsterdam once because “she was too dressed up”, @awlittlenatty said that “the Berghain is famous for that”, @emmydolll said that “there are some bars in Sydney that deny entrance to anyone with a mullet” (lol) and@YoungMummyWith2 said that she was “once denied entrance because of my other halves shoes, we had a booth booked, had an argument then went home”.

So it’s probably happened to most of us. Public spaces are constantly being overly picky, annoying and petty about clothes. Basically just really judgey. This is my ask: these bars/restaurants who actually want to have good reviews (or god forbid people actually enjoying themselves) then they should be really clear about the dress code. Put it on your website or something. Be clear about it. Don’t be elitist for no reason. If you’re that elitist, don’t advertise or let people book to then enjoy turning them away. It’s polite if you don’t shock people on arrival.

And most importantly: don’t hire a dick-head bouncer that has zero fashion sense.

*Since the restaurant have sent me a formal apology and complimentary drinks for being so rude. I wanted to write this post any way. 

My Book

“In love with Emma Gannon’s Ctrl Alt Delete. So funny & smart, and reminding me of some of my own cringe teen Internet exploits!”

– Anna James, former literary editor of ELLE

"Funny, honest, and nostalgic!"

– The Debrief

“Emma Gannon is a bright spark of light in the world. I seriously dig everything she makes”

– Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of Big Magic