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Thursday, October 1, 1998 Published at 18:31 GMT 19:31 UK

Sport: Cricket

Dedicated followers of cricket (or fashion)

The maidens may have finally won the Test series against the MCC, but they still have a small matter of a one-day match over a dress code to deal with.

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The MCC is beginning to look at what changes it needs to make for the impending arrival of women members, which could be as early as Spring next year.

But one of the stickiest wickets will be setting a dress code appropriate for the new members which is in keeping with the current traditions at Lord's.

Members are advised to wear the official tie, a thickly-striped affair in gold and red, and a tailored jacket, normally a blazer.

The MCC is reported to have approached the organisers of the Henley Royal Regatta for advice, but what will the women eventually be seen wearing when they step into the pavilion at Lord's?

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Wayne Hemingway, head of London Fashion House Red or Dead, said that the idea of a uniform should be clean bowled.

The designer, whose Website currently recommends Paddington Bear wellies and 'playground chic' mittens on strings, said: "People should be able to wear what they want.

"If women join the MCC they could buy something to keep in with its style, maybe a hat that associates them with the colours.

"It should match the present colours but overall I don't believe in things such as a uniform."

One of the first women likely to be made an MCC member, Rachael Heyhoe Flint, said she wanted the change to be made as quietly as possible.

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The former England women's captain said questions over what sort of uniform women would be expected to wear would not figure highly for new members.

"I think that most people will say that we have to wear something in keeping," she said.

"The apparel that will be worn will be chosen with great respect. If it's jacket and tie for the men, women will dress with similar formality."

"But one thing that I have noticed is that within the MCC brochure there are not many items which would be attractive for women members."

MCC pyjamas?

She added: "There are MCC pyjamas available, the most garish articles. I think the introduction of women members gives the MCC a great merchandising opportunity.

"But the last thing we want to do is appear triumphalist. It all has to be done in the best possible taste."

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So what could a new line in MCC fashions look like? And would they make it in the fickle world of haute couture?

Our designer concluded that the official uniform for the women members of the MCC should be in keeping with the current traditions - but with a little bit of that added catwalk pizzazz.

He went for a red striped fitted blazer, accompanied by a gold pleated skirt and court shoes - complete with a mock cricket ball on each toe.

The design combines the casual air of summer fashions with an appropriate level of smartness.

For those casual girl-about-town days, perhaps when a member wishes to lunch in top restaurants, what about a knitted dress above the knee in the style of a cricket jumper?

Light yet reassuringly comfortable, the dress would instantly mark the wearer out from the common herd as a member of the MCC thanks to its colour branding on v-neck, hem and sleeves.

Younger members may wish to try something a little more radical, dare we say it, more Jean-Paul Gaultier.

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Crowded dancefloors would pose no problem for the woman who chose to wear the sporty clublife number.

Any fear of those bumps and bashes often suffered in popular nightclubs would fade away thanks to the cricket pad shoulder pads, lightweight fashion helmet and shin guards - but don't forget the box!

On other occasions, members could bring a little Romany romance to an official Lord's bash with club colours lending themselves to a two-tone flowing layered dress, a headscarf and belt to set off the ties of male members of the MCC.

Hipsters are, of course, hip. And what better place to show that slender feminine form with a sashay down the MCC's Long Room in our suggested horizontal striped hipsters, complete with official kipper tie and extravagantly cut - yet stylish - smock.

Next week: Updated fashions for the Umpire about town.

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