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March 03, 2009

P&L District dress code

Once again, I am appalled at the dress code imposed in the Kansas City Power & Light District (2/28, Local, “Cordish faults proposed law on dress code"). At least Cordish has accidentally admitted that its code is intended in part to impose its taste in clothing on its patrons, underscoring the discriminatory nature of the practice.

Cordish bans, among other things, baggy pants, untucked or oversized white T-shirts and combat boots. I’m tempted, once again, to put on my Liz Claiborne white T, leave it untucked over my Liz Claiborne baggy jeans, tucked into my Doc Martens British racing green high-top leather boots, and sashay my small, female, white Anglo-Saxon booty downtown to see if I am admitted or denied entrance.

Come on, people. You know bigotry when you see it. I don’t know if the Kansas City ordinance will pass constitutional scrutiny, but I’m convinced that the dress code it is designed to prevent would not.

Corinne Corley
Kansas City

The proposed dress code ordinance for the downtown entertainment district and last year’s law prohibiting smoking in bars and restaurants are strikingly similar in that both are good causes encased in very bad laws. The net effect is that we are gradually eroding the right of business owners to operate their businesses as they see fit.

Let’s recognize that as we create laws to attend to every need and preference in society, we are sacrificing another slice of our free enterprise system. If that’s not important to anyone, then we will steadily regulate ourselves to the point that small businesses are no longer viable and disappear. The remaining choices will be to work for the government or a large, government-subsidized corporation.

Tom Owens
Kansas City


Keith Williams3

I was asked the other day about the dress code and its impact on P&L Dist; well it had no impact because all the people they were trying to keep out didn't go there and those who opposed it have had a great time attending and still no gun play. I have noticed that all the stories on the news have nothing to do with black people or should I say the "Gangasta Thug wanna be's". My take is there's a lot of hidden or closet racism and everyone has it even me but before people act they need to think real hard about the out come and the real reasoning of their actions.


Our views are going to be different in many ways just because we are looking at them from two very different cultural outlooks. I wear Tims as a fashion statement and in the black community they are very fashionable. We wear them to stand out, look good, impress, or just because we like them; oh and they come many different colors to style with out clothing. Cow boy boots are done the same way in many cases but my question is if ever they opened up an urban style bar/club that caters to urban style would they still enforce a ban on that type of gear?

Not to say its ok to have droopy draws and oversized T-'s pass your knees but the GQ, SeanJean, Ecco Unlimited Urban style that people of all colors and creed sport, would they allow it? I run a foundation and I deal drug dealers, street hard core bangers all the time and in-order for me to get results that I seek I have to put my self on their level and almost ghost them, that means I have to damn near enter into their world to understand the mentality. I don’t know if its necessary to do that in this case but I do think it’s important to know that we are all different at views, life style, food, and many other things. Judgment of ones dress to say he’s a “thug” or dresses like one is a bias mentality; its so easy to say go somewhere else if you don’t like the dress code, its easy to say the owner has the right to refuse. At least in the 60’ they let us go to the back door and eat (ok bad joke) sorry.

I believe that we as black men and women argue about this because it has been the same type of argument for more than 60years. Still bias views in America. We have come a long way and I hear my white friends make jokes about Obama; they say Obama won so why can’t black people shut up. Well its cartoons like the cops shooting the monkey and saying now someone else will have to write the next stimulus package, comments like Dem some nappy headed hoes, comments like there we go a another OJ attacking another white woman(the chip that ate the ladies face). These are the things that are put out in the media for everyone to see like its no problem. I don’t understand that when they know there will be uproar of protest. These are the things that take us back 40 years. Its an everybody problem and it has to change sometime.

I cant make people change their minds about this dress code thing but I can make them aware of the reason we argue this issue; its simply about fairness and awareness and compareness (is that a word lol). Ok I’m done :>)



That was the first post of THAT thread, it followed behind where we had left it the night before............


"I think you might have focused on the work boot aspect after I asked Sammy why cowboy boots are allowed, which was well into our conversation."

... not trying to be a smartass, but here's the initial post to this thread:

Q)Why are cowboy boots allowed and not Timberlands?


.....anyone want to start there?

Posted by: solomon | Mar 4, 2009 5:54:31 AM

You continue to mention that your friend's clothes are somehow different than something I would wear (I haven't owned a pair of Dockers in this decade) but apparently the only thing that the P&L had a problem with is his low rise work boots.
I think maybe you, your friend and I can take a lesson from jazz man about being slow to anger and rolling with life's punches.

peace out.



My comments in general have been about the barring of urban "style" which is meant to limit the attendance of a group of people so as others will feel more comfortable and inclined to visit the district. I don't consider pants around the ass and long T's "style".

The examples i drew upon were the bans that have been instituted arounf the country and here in KC, and the young man who I described as a "neat, clean and pressed impeccable dresser' who is a college grad with a better than average income who in no way would make you think "gang banger". As I pointed out his mode of dress is not at all objectionable, they are just not cut like dockers and Polo shirts. if you looked at the shoes I pointed out yesterday you'll see that they do not look like a work boot.

I think you might have focused on the work boot aspect after I asked Sammy why cowboy boots are allowed, which was well into our conversation. Once again, thank you for keeping this civil.


Solomon - I could have sworn you had made remarks concerning the caps and white t-shirts... maybe I was wrong.
Your whole point seems to be against cowboy boots, which seems somewhat petty and irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.

Jazz man - your anecdotal evidence of possible racism and discrimination just reminds us of how far we still have to go. Thank you for sharing and for not allowing yourself to become embittered.
Some of us white people tend to see the world through rose colored glasses simply because we are not race conscious and we don't hang with people who are.
While things are undoubtedly better now than ever, it's good to get a little dose of reality.



I have never said I was against the T'shirt ban or the hat ban. Please let us be honest.


I'm black by the way. points well taken in this matter. Mt stories was to make a point as to what the bottom line is and to be honest I'm confused as to what that is. I will say this as a black man being targeted in most cases (I said most cases not all) it is hard not to look at race in these matters. But as I expound on this issue I do want you all to know that I am my people’s biggest critic on how we present ourselves to the world. Does that mean that we can wear our hip-hop fashion, no, does that mean that we can’t have our slang, no but what it does mean is dress accordingly to the venue.

This topic can be contradictive because I am not a supporter of the particulars of the P&L dress code but I am for a dress code :>) confused yet? Black clubs have dress codes some don’t allow white T’s but they all so don’t allow T-shirts at all, no work boots but no boots at all and black people know it and thinks its fair. Some black clubs are comes as you are with exceptions like pull up your pants and don’t show you butt; that’s fair as well. I say let the individual bars and clubs enforce their dress codes with exceptions but to initially get into the P&L patio area, they need to be less forceful and more proactive. That doesn’t mean allow craziness to get I but. Hundreds of people don’t even go into bars, they just want to have beer and look at pretty ladies, more than likely won’t even say anything to anybody before leave and go home lol!

Ok I’m getting long winded again :>) Maybe I’m missing something but I will never understand the white guy from where ever hes from and what ever family he’s in because I cant walk in his shoes. All I can do is try, try and think outside the box (thinking out side the box is compromise not compromising your integrity) ok and listen to the other side without bigotry and closed mindedness. I admit hard to do but its feasible.


Solomon - I see it. It looks like a low cut work boot. I would likely not be admitted with my Sketchers either.

I guess the reason I don't get your point is that it keeps changing.

First you are against the t-shirt ban - then you support it. Likewise with the bling and hats. So your real problem is with the footwear requirements of which your friend was (maybe only technically) in violation.

Doesn't seem like a worthwhile reason to take away these business' right to formulate their own dress code.



Go on Timberlands website. Click on men's shoes. I said Hush Puppies earlier but what I was describing was the "Claasic Oxford wheat nubuck". That is the exact shoe they had a problem with.

If I've learned anything from the past three days it is that you will not get my point. That's OK though, I don't understand how you miss mine.


jazz-man - great story and thanks for your input. I think a lot of us are probably devoting way too much time and precious brain cells to this issue.

Sol - I'm not sure what else your friend was wearing that you think was deemed inappropriate, but he was clearly in violation of the work boot ban - which would also affect all those construction workers downtown - so I'm still not getting your point.



Never been to the Epicurean, but I have driven past it. I would assume it has a dress code that prohibits pants around the ass and white T-shirts just like any other nice club. I'll have to ask the young man I mentioned if they have the same rules as P&L.

Alas I can't drink because of a medication that I take, so I tend not to go to bars.

The young man I've mentioned says he'll never go back to the P&L after he was turned away. As neat as he is whenever I've seen him, (and he pointed out clearly to me how he was dressed) I don't blame him. As far as being compliant with the code you posted, IMO his clothing aren't "excessively baggy", which is how I'd describe the clothing everyone here is in agreement on as unacceptable....you, JJ, jazz-Man and myself.



Very interesting take. You are right about the P&L district looking like a failure financially.

Do you mind stating if you are black or white? Not because of what you encountered at P&L but what happened to you in Brookside. I think I know the answer but don't want to assume. Sounds like you dress like the young man I mentioned who works with me, and there is nothing threatening about him or his attire.


Sol - I'd still like to know if your friend was able to get in while adhering to the policy. When are you going to buy me a drink at The Epicurean? Btw...does that club have any restrictions? If so, why?

For everyone's info, here's the P&L District Code of Conduct:

Yes. The code of conduct for KC Live! states: patrons must be 21 years of age or older and possess a valid ID for entry. The code of conduct prohibits: loitering; concealed weapons; panhandling; solicitation; disorderly conduct; bicycles and skateboards. The dress code prohibits the following: profanity on clothing; sleeveless shirts on men; excessively torn clothing; undershirts; excessively baggy or sagging clothing; work boots; sweat suits or athletic attire (jerseys are permitted in conjunction with Chiefs or Royals games or sporting events in the Sprint Center). Management reserves the right to refuse admission to or eject any person whose conduct is deemed to be disorderly or who fails to comply with the terms of entry. Please note that the dress codes of individual venues may vary."


Everyone has a good point but it all boils down to whats really going on with the P they are financially in-trouble. I will come back to dress code in a minute, ok here I go, the blame cant be on the what they call "Thug element" because well, they are not allowed in. KC is bailing P&L out with 3 million or so dollars because the Suburbanites they cater to are not showing up like they thought. In the mean time the good tax paying White T wearing humans are blocked form entering to spend their hard earned money. Will allowing us in help, yes but it won’t solve the problem. Dress code is targeting a culture of people white and black that is following a trend! A multi billion dollar trend I might add; and unfortunately you have a bad group that will show up; just like you do every weekend in the P&L. Fights, drunks passing out and women flashing is an ongoing issue for P&L but they are worried about a trend, now the trend is made in a way that fits baggy, even with you pants pulled all the way up (which they should be) you will see low cut pockets. This trend is no different from beat it jackets and parachute pants.

Shirts past your Knees looks stupid and yes that’s when a dress code should be enforced, dirty underwear showing you should be arrested and have to wash everyone’s doo doo stained draws. Before I get too long winded I will leave it with this, I went to a club down there and first I had no problem getting in the P&L but as I tried to enter the club they told me my clothing was too baggy. I just came from work for a happy hour business casual for a fortune five hundred company. I was told to step out of line so I did and took everyone in that club with me because it was my party keep in mind that I weigh 280lbs and everything I wear is 3-4x so sorry if I can’t fit into Abercrombie clothing. Went to the PBR bar and had no problem. Next I went to Brooksider in brookside, I told the fellas tuck in your shirts and pull up you pants, everyone was already good because not every black guy dresses like the “thug”. We walk up to the back gate and the bouncers said pull out your shirts, we looked confused but we didt it and low and behold they said our shirts were too long and we can’t get in. I almost flipped but Didn’t, I decided to ask why and they said you might pull out your shirts in the club/bar. I said I see a ton of people with their shirts un-tucked and the rules Cleary said not un-tucked shits that are not button down. We just left and went to Charlie Hoopers and had a good time. My point on this is even when you try to comply with rules there’s seems to be something else to block progress.



I have never been to P&L and will probably never go. You say that there is a C&W club, which is why they allow cowboy boots. Is there any portion of the district that plays urban music or R&B?

As far as the young man changing his shoes, from what I understand it goes beyond that, to the cut and style of his clothing. As I mentioned, his boots resemble Hush Puppies more than work boots.

If this had not been repeated around the country you might be able to say I'm hypersensitive. Cordish has had the same M.O. and complaints lodged against them in other cities. So have other venues like the ones I mentioned that instituted a no goatee rule when more black men started showing up. Goatees, as I'm sure you know are not worn only by black men, but until recently more young black men wore them than whites. If my memory serves me right a club on Broadway rescinded the policy because of the opposition.

I agree with you 100% when you suggest troublemakers come in all colors. To try and determine who is a troublemaker based on the style they wear is discriminatory if the clothing are neat, clean and pressed. It might not be what you or I would wear on a night on the town but if that is the popular style who has the right to say person A. in dockers is acceptable while person B. in FUBU is not. You can say the business owner has the right, but what is that business owner basing it on?

We all agree that gang attire, long white T's, pants below the as showing boxers and bandana's are not proper, but as I said to our friend JJ, unless a place is coat and tie and dress shoes only it is discriminatory to ban clean neat pressed clothing (without rips and tears) that is the preferred clubbing attire for a group of money spending citizens. If this were a private club, taking no tax advantages I say let them bar whomever they want.

Sammy, I appreciate you and JJ having a civil conversation with me about race here.


Sol - Check yesterday's dress code thread. I'm guessing the answer you're looking for is there (PBR Sky - Country/Western bar) along with other non-racially motivated potential reasons for the big work boot/cowboy boot rights inconsistency.

I still think you're being hypersensitive. If your friend changed his shoes and still was denied entry, please let us know.

Re: your question about white surbanites and large groups of black people, think past race. I've been places with both of these groups and with no incident and I've been places with people from all sorts of groups that were harassing others. Harassing behavior isn't unique to any specific group. I've experienced it on occasion from groups of blacks, "rednecks", rich white kids, goth kids, skater dudes, white city g's, and so on. For example, I avoid movie theaters on Friday nights because of the overabundance of rude teenagers.

If it's true that white surburbanites avoid places with large groups of black people, I bet that groups of black people in that place (not all groups of black people) have become known for harassing others in that area. So, rather than race being the cause of the avoidance, it's the behavior.



Once again, I've mentioned specifically a young man who works for me, impeccable dresser in urban styled clothing not falling off of his behind and shirts that are tasteful. The cut of the clothing is different from dockers and Polo shirts. His boots are a pale tan suede that have more in common with what we used to call Hush Puppies than any work boot you'll see on a construction site. These types of clothing are not allowed. This is a college grad who between his two jobs probably pulled in 60k or so last year. He has nothing about him that appears criminal, yet you'd look at him in his expensive gear and pronounce him "gangbanger".

How do white criminals dress, JJ? What litmus test do you put to our people and decide they are troublemakers. White folks make trouble sometimes, don't they?

We agree that baggy pants, underwear showing, and over-sized Ts are inappropriate.

I said over a year ago that attempts would be made to keep the number of young black men limited as had happened here in KC and around the country. It follows a pattern. The fact that you don't understand it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.


"This is saying that blacks who are well dressed in urban style are not welcome."

No. This is saying that ANYONE dressed against the code is not welcome. I bring up the bling, white t-shirts and caps because I'm trying to find an aspect of the code that you specifically disagree with and these are ones you've mentioned. Just what do your friends wear that is not allowed?



How many times do I have to say that the ban goes beyond the pants around the ass and the oversized t-shirts and ball caps? I've never in the days we've discussed this said they are acceptable attire for the clubs in P&L.

Clean never worked in Timberlands worn with neat, clean clothes in the urban style is what I've said over and over, you just ignore it. The cowboy boot issur was raised when Sammy started talking about there is no inconsistency. I pointed out that cowboy boots are work boots and you come back to that is that no written policy is completely fair.

I've also never said that the district is trying to ban blacks, I said this is an attempt to limit their number, which it has done.

If a club or eatery requires coat and tie, by all means, wear a coat and tie. This is not the same thing. This is saying that blacks who are well dressed in urban style are not welcome.

As I said, we won't agree on this. You'll continue to ignore the fact that this type of thing has gone on around the country forever.

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