What To Wear When Working At A Coffee Shop?

Wondering what to wear when working at a coffee shop? How to look professional while still being comfortable enough to work? Read on for suggestions!

man working in a coffee shop - What To Wear When Working At A Coffee Shop
Don't wear brightly colored clothing

Congratulations!

You've just got hired at your very first job–slinging coffee at the local coffee shop. You're going to learn how to be a barista and use all those cool futuristic-looking espresso machines with their milk frothers and press levers and chrome detailing.

And maybe someday you'll learn how to do awesome latte art!

First things first, what if you're not hired yet but you have a job interview at the local coffee house?

Wear a pair of khaki or dark-colored slacks and a button-up white shirt. Your shirt should be clean and ironed. Don't wear brightly colored clothing for t-shirts with prints on the front, especially if they're controversial. You don't want to stand out for the wrong reasons!

Once you're hired, you then need to learn and follow the company's dress code.

Follow The Dress Code

It's important that you follow the dress code

Your new job will probably have a dress code, and it's important you know and follow it.

Dress codes for franchise businesses tend to focus on uniformity while still falling into the category of business casual. This means they often require you to wear a certain color of pants or a specific type of shirt. All your clothing should be practical, made of durable material, and comfortable to wear while on your feet for hours.

Some places will give you a t-shirt featuring the business logo. Others will give you a barista apron with a logo, and you may be required to wear solid-colored clothing underneath so it doesn't compete with the apron for attention. This is part of the dress code for the Starbucks coffee chain, for instance.

Here are some common requirements for staff uniforms in coffee shops:

  • Pants are usually required to be in solid colors. Black, grey, or khaki are common suggestions. Khaki pants are slightly more formal than something like black denim, but darker colors hide stains and wear better. Wear sturdy fabrics like denim, chambray, or khaki as they hold up to wear and tear longer.
  • If you decide to wear a skirt, choose a conservative but comfortable length. Miniskirts wouldn't be appropriate, but floor-length dresses might be hot or get in the way while you work. Knee-length is usually perfect for anyone. Color recommendations are the same as those for pants.
  • Button-down shirts are common requirements in some places, especially in high-traffic areas where many professionals in business attire come into the coffee shop. They should be in solid, neutral colors like white or grey and be clean and pressed. Long sleeves are preferable, especially working around espresso machines, which can burn your arms if you're not careful.
  • Comfortable shoes and socks should be worn, preferably in dark colors and without holes or dirt. Your shoes should be closed-toed with flat heels. Avoid flip-flops and high heels. The more support your shoes have, the less likely you'll be to have back or foot aches at the end of a shift. Spring for high-quality shoes if you can afford them,
  • Avoid trendy or very personalized items like fedoras or large jewelry. They will get in your way while you're trying to work and will distract you from your uniform.
  • If you are assigned a branded shirt or apron, it's your responsibility to keep it clean and ready for your shift.

Personal Hygiene

Man shaving his beard in the bathroom
Facial hair should be neatly trimmed at all times

When working in food service, it's important to take meticulous care of your personal hygiene so you do not contaminate your customers' food or drink.

  • If you have long hair, it should be neatly pulled back off your neck and out of your face. You can still remain stylish while keeping your hair pulled up–use hair clips or tasteful hair ties that go with your clothing.
  • Facial hair should be kept very clean and neatly trimmed at all times. Unkempt beards can shed hair everywhere.
  • Make sure to keep your nails clean and trimmed. Scrub your hands under running water with a gentle brush to clean out dirt from under your nails, and avoid having fake nails or thick nail polish. Polish can flake off and end up in the cup of coffee you're making.
  • Avoid wearing perfume or cologne while working, as they can interfere with the aroma and flavor of coffee drinks.

Final Word On What To Wear When Working At A Coffee Shop

No matter where you get a job, understanding the basic requirements and suggestions for your attire will help you make a good first impression on both your customers and your coworkers

As long as you pay attention to your company's dress code and put in the effort to look clean and neat, you shouldn't have any problems looking like a professional barista.

Enjoy your new job!

What To Wear When Working At A Coffee Shop FAQs

What should a male barista wear?

Our cafe/restaurant uniform suggestions work for both men and women! Any recommendations you see here apply equally to everyone, no matter your age or gender.

Can you wear your hair down as a barista?

Some places allow it, but in general, if you have hair that is to your collar or longer, you should put it up when working any job where you prepare food or drink.

Some people will not buy from a coffee shop if the employees are all wearing their hair down, and any place that serves food will usually require it for health and safety reasons.

Do baristas have to wear hairnets?

In most American coffee shops baristas only serve drinks and handle pre-prepped food, so covering their hair isn't required. Only if workers prepare the food they serve from scratch are they required by federal law to wear hairnets.

Author

  • A E Inman is a direct response copywriter and humor blogger. When she's not poking fun at her attempts to start a writing business, she can be found in the tea aisle of her local import store, arguing with strangers over the merits of rare tea varietals. She enjoys writing copy while consuming copious amounts of coffee and gunpowder tea.