Formal Hall code of dress

There is a code of dress for Formal Hall, which has been agreed by junior and senior members of the College.

Gowns must be worn, both by members of the College and their guests from other Colleges. The overall effect must be smart and respectful of the atmosphere of Formal Hall. The following attire is acceptable:

  • Suit
  • Long trousers or a skirt
  • Jeans are allowed providing they are clean and in good repair
  • Shorts are not acceptable
  • Shirt or blouse (shirts should be collared and should be worn with a tie or cravat)
  • Polo necked sweaters are also acceptable
  • Dress
  • Smart shoes.

The dress code is defined without reference to considerations of gender identity or expression.


Formal Hall conduct

A Porter may be on duty at the entrance to Formal Hall and they, the Catering Manager or Catering Supervisor, will turn away anyone improperly dressed or who has been drinking excessively.

Once Formal Hall has begun, it is not expected that anyone will leave for any reason nor move around. To do so could prove disruptive and, when staff are serving, dangerous. In exceptional circumstances permission may be granted to an individual to withdraw but only when serving has been completed. Anyone leaving should not expect to be allowed to return.

All decisions about who may be admitted to, or remain at, Formal Hall, rest with the Catering Manager or Supervisor in charge. All behaviour, either by individuals or by groups, which affects the enjoyment of others is unacceptable.

The following activities are unacceptable in all circumstances and such behaviour can result in those involved being banned from Formal Hall:

  • the throwing of food
  • competitive drinking
  • the imposition of drinking fines
  • standing or banging on chairs and tables
  • stamping and abusive behaviour towards others, especially the staff.

These prohibitions apply equally to private or club dinners held in College. Such behaviour is equally unacceptable in public premises, such as hotels and restaurants.

Communal singing and the raising of toasts will not normally be permitted in the Hall unless the Presiding Fellow has consented. Permission must be sought either before the meal begins, or during the meal using the Catering Manager, Supervisor or the presiding undergraduate or graduate as intermediary.