Hamptons Dress Code Results in Unintended Backlash

Abiding by the dress code in Sag Harbor
Abiding by the dress code in Sag Harbor, Photo: Studio-Annika, Lisa F. Young, Ljupco, shipfactory/iStock/Thinkstock, Oliver Peterson

Hamptons officials have announced revisions to the dress codes in place across the East End, and have directed police to enforce the new codes effective immediately, but some locals are already figuring out loopholes to said code and vexing police at every turn.

The Hamptons Municipal Board statement, released Friday, explains its plans to step up enforcement, and details stipulations of the new dress code—including age limits and price minimums—but it fails to address the actual articles of clothing people can and cannot wear in public. As a result, community protestations have led to a veritable panoply of costumed characters on South Fork streets.

The statement reads:

“Whereas before, the dress code had focused entirely on decency, we’ve now enhanced our dress code to increase the emphasis on dignity. Just as it is no longer permissible to visit the Hamptons with less than the stipulated funding requirements ($300 per visitor), it is likewise no longer permissible to visit our beautiful towns and villages while dressed in cheap, bargain-rack rags. Nor will residents or visitors be permitted to appear in public wearing faded old clothes. All attire should be a maximum of two years old, and individuals are advised to carry receipts for their clothing to prove when it was purchased and how much was paid for it. Anyone found in violation of the code will have a half-hour grace period during which to enter a nearby clothing store and purchase an outfit that meets the new requirements. Failing this, they will be ordered to leave the area.”

To protest the new dress code, area plumber Mike Mikeson and a number of others dressed in brightly colored and totally ridiculous costumes and took to the streets of Sag Harbor on Friday. The group milled about the historic village aimlessly, making quite a spectacle of themselves and destroying any sense of Hamptons class or Hamptons chic in the process, but police were unable to stop them, much to the chagrin of the sweater-over-the-shoulders, popped-collar crowd.

“Unfortunately, Mr. Mikeson and his pals, as well as the many who have joined their efforts, are not breaking any dress code laws,” Hamptons Police spokesman Larry Hirsch said, responding to horrified pedestrians and business owners on Friday afternoon. “All of these costumes are quite elaborate, expensive and new,” he explained. “Everyone out there has a receipt proving the time of purchase and hefty price tag of their outfits, and none are showing too much skin” Hirsch continued. “So, until the dress code is amended, there’s nothing we can do, legally.”

Mikeson, who wore a king costume—complete with a gold and purple king hat, Elizabethan collar, scepter and fur-topped cape—said the costume-clad protestors will continue to dress in foolish, garish garb until the Hamptons dress code is repealed to reflect only decency and not dignity.

“The way forward is not creating more rules and expanding this absurd code,” Mikeson said. “And we will dress more stupidly by the day until the Hamptons Municipal Board comes to terms with their mistake.”

More likeminded residents and visitors are joining the cause as word spreads on social media and the street, and police expect local towns and villages to get much more absurd before the situation improves. In the meantime, the Hamptons Municipal Board is holding a special session to discuss the matter on Tuesday.

Read more tales from the Hamptons Police Blotter here.

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