Restaurant Fashion Faux Pas: Oops!

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chef goofThe food service industry might not seem glamorous, but there is definitely an unspoken dress code. Two employees wearing the exact same attire can convey two totally different images. Here is a list of ways that restaurant employees typically make fashion blunders.

Wearing black pants if you’re not the chef. This rule applies to cooks. It is highly disrespectful to wear black pants in the kitchen unless you are an Executive or Sous Chef, regardless of whatever kind of laundry jam you might be in. Personally, I would call off work before I would show up in black pants.

Wearing anything other than checks. The standard attire for cooks is a loose-fitting checkered pant. They may not be the most flattering attire, but they are customary. Uniform stores sell a variety of patterns for cook’s pants, but if you wear anything other than small checkers to work, you will look very unprofessional. If you even think of wearing those pants with the chili peppers all over them, you may as well wear a Hawaiian shirt too.

Wearing white socks with black pants. This is considered a fashion mishap for both servers and chefs. Black socks and black shoes are the rule.

Wearing a non kitchen shoe. A professional shoe distinguishes novice cooks from culinary pros. The good news is that kitchen shoes are the most comfortable shoes on earth; the bad news is that they need to be because working on your feet all day is grueling. Clogs are a standard shoe in the kitchen and come in many reliable and popular brands. Birkenstock and Dansko are what all the cool chefs are wearing. Sneakers are a no-no, and whatever you do, don’t wear Crocks with holes in them. They are a lame replacement for a kitchen clog and completely unsafe in the event that you spill hot water or grease on your feet.

Not wearing an undershirt. Unless you want your co-workers calling you “Disco Steve”, please wear a shirt under your chef coat or dress shirt. They are more transparent than you think, especially when wet.

Of all the fashion mishaps in the restaurant, coming to work unshaven, un-showered, and unkempt is the absolute worst. It’s not only necessary for servers to maintain a hygienic appearance, but cooks must do the same.

Last modified: March 22, 2013
Sasha Smith


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