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Emma Prince, 34, visited her local restaurant on the hottest day of the year on Friday (17 June) but was ‘barred’ from entering because the manager, who was a woman, deemed her white crop-top a bra.
Prince was with her two-year-old daughter Penelope at the time and maintained that her top was most definitely clothing.
As temperatures reached 30 degrees in the heatwave last week, the mum was forced to put on a shirt instead. It was only when she wore a shirt over her crop top the manager allowed her to enter the Stonehouse Pizza and Carvery in Wolverton, Buckinghamshire.
However Prince and her daughter left the restaurant and did not return after waiting for more than an hour for their meals to arrive.
Prince, from Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, told of her upset after the ordeal played out in front of customers at the restaurant.
"The female manager said I couldn’t come in because I was wearing just a bra. I explained to her it was a crop top, not underwear and it was 30 degrees outside,” said Prince.
"She told me ‘this is a restaurant and it’s our policy’ so I asked to see the policy and dress code where it says no crop tops. She didn’t show me anything but she just kept looking me up and down and saying, in a very patronising way, ‘that is not a top'."
Prince had a friend with her who was also wearing a crop top, however the manager decided the friend’s top was appropriate because ‘it had thick straps’ whereas Prince’s had ‘thin straps’.
The mum said it was purchased from the clothing section of an online store.
"The manager was saying loudly ‘that’s not a top, it’s a bra', and everyone was looking at me. It was really embarrassing.”
"There were men in the garden with their shirts off. I couldn’t understand why I was being discriminated against for wearing a top that showed my stomach. It didn’t seem fair at all.
“People were coming up to me and sympathising, saying how harsh the manager had been.
"I was boiling hot in my shirt but I was afraid if I took it off and sat in my top I would be kicked out – and I did not want the confrontation in front of my daughter.”
Prince ordered food at 6.20pm but by 7.30pm the food had still not arrived.
"People all around me were getting their food but ours did not come," she claimed. "My friend had hers and her son’s food brought out but my daughter was getting increasingly hungry and upset. In the end I gave up and had to take her to McDonald’s instead.”
Prince questioned the Stonehouse restaurant anonymously via its Instagram page, asking for clarification regarding its dress code.
The reply said: “The dress code is to wear whatever you’re comfortable in.”
Emma said the manager ‘discriminated’ against her, adding: “I am beyond annoyed and disgusted the attitude of the manager and the service I was given.
“She discriminated against me and my attire. I want to speak out on behalf of other women as I believe we have the right to wear a piece of clothing without being judged, looked down on or sneered at.”
She added: “Obviously if I was going to a very smart restaurant, I wouldn’t wear a crop top. But this was a glorified pub with a beer garden on a sunny day.”
Stonehouse Pizza and Carvery is owned by Mitchells & Butler.
A spokesman responded to Prince’s complaints and said: "Any decisions on dress code are down to the discretion of the restaurant’s manager. We would like to apologise for the delay experienced with our service. Due to the weather, we had an incredibly busy day and our team was a lot busier than usual.”
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