Pity the security guard who has to make the call on how naked is too naked.
Red Badge security personnel will be given the task of ensuring Sevens' costumes meet "reasonable standards of decency" - which the infamous lime-green Borat "mankini" has been adjudged to be in breach of for the past few tournaments.
Group director Andy Gollings says that though the guidelines are "pretty clear", security personnel have to use their judgment about what constitutes "reasonable".
"It is a family and televised event and, if it would be offensive to the man on the street, then it can't be permitted.
"I think there's a nude cowboy coming this year - how nude he is will be measured on the day."
Is that an awkward call to make?
"Absolutely. Then again, my staff are people, too.
"The measure is: What would the common man think? That's got to be fair to everyone."
Under the official tournament guidelines, bare feet, gang patches, clothing bearing offensive slogans, toy weapons and hi-vis vests that could be confused with those of security personnel are banned.
Other items that might intimidate or irritate others present are also not permitted. "A guitar, because that could be annoying and it could be used as a weapon, golf clubs for the same reason. Plastic swords because they are more than likely to be used, at some point, to poke and annoy someone else. And toy guns . . .
"If it looks like a weapon, it shouldn't be there."
But most often, ticketholders are refused entry for costumes that exceed the size of their seat.
"It's really about things that are going to detract from the experience for the other fans.
"People are there for a good time and we've got to make sure everyone's expectations are met."
Red Badge has been in charge of security at the Sevens since 2007, but Mr Gollings says a couple of costumes stand out.
"The baby heads from last year were eerily realistic. They were larger than life. The TV footage of them was incredible.
"And the large number of people who arrive all dressed the same: 101 dalmatians come to mind.
"It's incredible the effort people go to and that's why it is important the message gets out there about what can't come in. It's a real shame if someone turns up with a costume they've put a lot of effort into and find they can't come in, because it's going to take up someone else's seat."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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