A few of our dress code controversies as Speaker John Bercow abandons wigs for clerks

Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow Andrew Matthews/PA Wire.

Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow Andrew Matthews/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Speaker John Bercow has announced that clerks will no longer have to wear wigs or court dress in the House of Commons in a bid to promote 'a less stuffy image' of parliament. Annabelle Dickson looks at dress codes which have hit the headlines in our region.

A barber's dress code - or lack of

In 2011 unpopular plans for a topless barber in a Norwich nightlife spot were withdrawn. An application to change the use of the Qube Bar, in Prince of Wales Road, from a drinking establishment to offer a hair cut from a scantily clad hairdresser did not succeed.

Health and safety gone mad


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The University of East Anglia caused outrage last year when students were told to mime throwing their mortar board caps in the air to avoid injuries. The diktat was later panned by the Health and Safety Executive as 'over the top'.

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Hat boycott

Thetford Town Council holds fast to its mayoral traditions and has regular ceremonial meetings where gowns and cocked hats are required. Last year councillor Fran Robinson made a stand against the 'sexist' rule which states women must keep their hats on during ceremonial council meetings while men are allowed to remove them. She arrived at a ceremonial meeting without her hat.

Coke hats

Gamekeepers at the north Norfolk Holkham estate wear bowler hats, known as 'Coke' hats. They are allowed to wear the head gear after a year of service at Holkham Hall. Legend has it that William Coke, a nephew of the first Earl of Leicester of the second creation, commissioned his hatter James Lock, to design a 'close-fitting, low crowned hat' which was 'extra strong' to protect heads from low hanging branches because top-hats were easily knocked off and damaged,

No flip-flops

In 2006 a dress code for taxi drivers at Lowestoft railway station caused a stir. The drivers were told they must only wear a 'formal'

collared shirt or blouse, polo shirt or blouse, black trousers or skirt and black shoes - or they faced ejection from the site.

Dress code sexism warning

Last month lawyers warned East Anglia's employers to learn the lessons of dress code sexism – or face the financial and

reputational cost after a report from MPs found women were being told to dye their hair, reapply make-up and what colour nail varnish to wear at work.

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