Never mind ‘tap aff’ — it’s ‘blazers aff’ for members of a major gentlemen’s club in Belfast.
The move caused a stir on social media after members were told of the “unprecedented” relaxation of the strict dress code due to the ongoing heatwave.
The Ulster Reform Club announced the special measure on social media on Wednesday in a post advising male customers that they can ‘remove their jackets’ from certain areas of its premises on Royal Avenue.
“Due to very high temperatures forecast for the remainder of this week, gentlemen may remove their jackets in the Dining Room and Members Bar today,” he tweeted.
The club outlines what is expected of members in its operating guidelines. “This should not be considered Club rules,” the website reads. “A copy of the ‘Rules and Constitution’ is available in the members’ section or by contacting the general office.”
Cell phones must be kept quiet and digital devices may only be used “for illustrative purposes”, with audio and video clips prohibited in the dining room, members’ bar and reading room.
“All members and their guests must be properly dressed in smart business attire at all times while on club premises,” the website adds.
“For example, gentlemen are required to wear a jacket and a long-sleeved shirt with a collar.
“Women should dress in smart, elegant or business attire.”
The club consider any casual attire to be ‘unacceptable’ and cite leather clothing, denim-type materials, polo shirts, tracksuits, t-shirts, shorts, sports tops and trainers as examples of prohibited clothing .
Members are also instructed to leave overcoats, bags and umbrellas in the cloakroom or on a rack at the bottom of the stairs as they are prohibited in public places. “The General Manager or a senior member of staff on duty has been authorized to act as an arbiter in determining whether a member or guest is suitably dressed to meet club conventions,” the website explains.
The tweet caught the attention of social media users who jokingly expressed concern about falling standards.
“Where will this end? one person asked. Another user wrote, “You coach the neighborhood guys.”
However, Belfast tailor William Suitor has welcomed the move which he says is unprecedented in the history of the 137-year-old club which has a fifth-floor fitness room.
“It’s nice to see the relaxation of etiquette in favor of common sense,” he said. “It’s totally unprecedented.”
The partner and owner of Suitor Brothers is not a member but has occasionally witnessed the legacy of friends who are.
William said choosing the right fabric is the only way for men to avoid making a seasonal fashion faux pas.
“A nice lightweight high-twist pure wool is ideal and would be the blazer of choice,” he said.
“It’s a gentleman’s favorite suit fabric in the summer.”
The expert tailor added: “The shirt under the blazer is the key element to ensure breathability.
“You can be in the wrong blazer, but the right shirt and get away with it or at least stand a chance. But if you both get it wrong, you’re going to be in trouble.
“The perfect shirt fabric is pure cotton that doesn’t iron.”
While William advises against mixed fabric shirts – which tend to make a gentleman sweat – he recommends a fabric mix when it comes to linen.
“Pure linen can be excessively prone to wrinkling,” William explained.
“A linen blend would be best as it gives you the look with increased performance.”
The businessman, who has seen the trade shift from work suits to wedding attire during the pandemic, isn’t worried about shifting standards.
“I’m sure the relaxation is only temporary at the Ulster Reform Club,” William said.
“We are actually seeing a renaissance of the work suit and I expect that trend to continue, especially as winter approaches.”
The Ulster Reform Club have been contacted for comment but have told the Belfast Telegraph no one is available.