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Your Kind Is Not Welcome Here

Some of the most familiar and weirdest of the dress code signs, ranging from coyly prejudiced to just plain bizarre

About a week ago, in an effort to curb shoplifting and robbery, a number of stores in Harlem began displaying signs prohibiting anyone in a hoodie or ski mask from entering. The postings dubiously claimed that anyone dressed in such a manner would be “trespassing.” But critics claim the signs are discriminatory, bumbling attempts to profile a particular class of young men in a city where, frankly, it’s pretty cold this time of year—unless you work on Wall Street, hoodies are practically de rigueur.


While most of the businesses have since taken the controversial signs down, companies have long tried to control the “tone” of their stores with restrictive terms of service. From jacket requirements at fancy restaurants to the classic “no shoes, no shirt” placards, the dress code has always been a particularly sneaky way of keeping out supposed undesirables. But without context, the signs proclaiming these fashion protocols, coded as they are, can often seem wrongheaded or arbitrary. These are some of the most familiar and weirdest of these signs, ranging from coyly prejudiced to just plain bizarre.