Skip to Content

How to Choose the Best Dress Code for Coffee Shop

Do you need a unique coffee shop dress code that will attract customers? If YES, here are 5 factors to consider when choosing a dress code for your coffee shop.

Clothing is a very crucial aspect that needs to be given utmost emphasis while starting a coffee shop, if you want to make a good impression to your customers. Just like other food service businesses, coffee shop clothing has the capability to create a better image about the kitchen hygiene, organization and more importantly the quality of coffee offered in the café.

Customers tend to choose coffee locations not only for the variety of delicious coffee and other supplementary items but also for the physical presentation of the staff providing the service. That is why proper selection of clothing is necessary for personnel working in a coffee shop, right from the managers to the lower level workers.

5 Factors to Consider When Dressing for a Coffee Shop

The first manifestation of “who you are,” which will be analyzed the most in the first three seconds (and will therefore be the basis for whatever impression you make) are your dress, your grooming, and your personal hygiene.

1. Cleanliness

First and foremost, irrespective of the choice of clothing, cleanliness is essential, especially in a food – service business. Note that keeping yourself and your clothes clean makes three important statements to your customers. First, it buttresses that you respect yourself.

Second, it tells that you are considerate of them. If you show up dirty and smelly, your grime and “aroma” will totally affect others’ general enjoyment of the atmosphere in your shop. This is inconsiderate and discourteous. Always take a shower before coming to work, and wear clean clothes and clean footwear.

Thirdly, note that staying clean makes the statement that you value cleanliness in general and in your work. When you are preparing drinks for other people, they want to be able to assume that everything about the preparation of their drinks is 100% sanitary.

Have it in mind that you can put out a beautiful latte, but if the customer suspects that it is unsanitary in any way, they will not want to drink it. If it is clear that you don’t take your personal hygiene seriously, then it is very easy to assume that you might not be careful about cleanliness when you prepare their drinks. So, cleanliness is mandatory.

2. Your Hair

Always ensure that your hair looks clean, and it should be kept neat, and should stay away from the drinks and/or food. Note that if your hair is greasy, you will look dirty no matter how clean the rest of you happens to be. This will immediately put you in violation of the cleanliness rule. Shampoo daily. This is very necessary no matter what your hairstyle is.

The best hairstyle is a “generic” hairstyle that doesn’t attract so much attention to itself. This allows you or your face to remain the main point of focus which people will tend to make assumptions on. If you choose to wear your hair otherwise, that’s fine, but what comes with that is that some customers might choose not to like your looks – and hence, your shop.

In most recent times, and in many neighbourhoods, many hairstyles (other than the standard, medium “business” haircut) are commonplace, and are of no cause for offense within those neighbourhoods. You should know what is considered “within the norm” in the neighbourhood in which you work.

If you wear your hair long, keep it out of your face (and out of the drinks). Pull it back into a neat ponytail, or put on a do – rag if this is normal for the neighbourhood. However, no matter your hairstyle, always ensure it is kept neat. The same is true of facial hair.

3. Clothing

In terms of your clothing, just try to keep it generic. Dress like everyone else dresses. Fit in. You should not be flamboyant in either direction. Wear nice slacks and a shirt. Ideally, wearing “gang – colours” would be unethical.

So, consider wearing a jacket and tie, unless you are working in an upscale coffee shop where this is not the norm. Avoid t-shirts, unless it is your shop’s uniform. Don’t wear clothing with words on it. The only way that you should stand out is by being neater and cleaner than other people.

4. Jewellery and Body Piercing

In terms of jewellery and body piercings, again, try not to be flamboyant. Forget about your most radical jewellery. If you are a man who wears earrings, choose small decorous ones for work (simple studs or small hoops). Leave tongue studs and eyebrow studs and nose studs at home.

Note that these things are fine when you are socializing on your own, but they will distract from your professional appearance while at work.

5. Bearing & Demeanour

Note that how you stand and how you move will make a big difference in how professional and unique you appear to be as a barista. To cater to peak customer traffic, you will have to move fast, and you will have to sustain this for the entire rush.

Anytime you move, try to do it deliberately and precisely. Ensure you do not take more steps than necessary. When you are in one position at your station, rapidly do ALL of the things that are appropriate before you turn or step away. Always think before you move!

This way, you will avoid unnecessary turns and steps. This will save you time and energy. Note that being efficient allows you to stay on top of any “rush.”

Anytime you are not in a rush, stand easily, but stand up. Don’t slouch; it looks sloppy and unprofessional. In addition, if you are not in a busy period, don’t lean against the counters or equipment. It gives off the appearance of laziness. It is best to keep busy. Staying busy will make the day go faster.

How to Choose the Coffee Shop Best Dress Code and Color Combination

Generally, food service work wear includes trousers and jackets, aprons, overalls, baker’s shirts, pants and neckerchiefs. Some of the clothing can be customized by embroidering names with the company logo to render a more professional look.

The fabrics of clothes should be selected on the basis of the nature of work performed by the wearer. For instance, a barista will have to spend lots of time in the hot and stuffy atmosphere of the kitchen and hence, the clothing material should keep them fresh to prepare coffee for long hours.

However, note that coffee shop work clothing will vary from shop to shop depending on the size of the business. Smaller coffee shops may just provide a simple apron to the staff while the bigger, reputed shops like Starbucks can provide uniforms embroidered with their company logo, a matching cap, a promotional button along with appropriate shoes in addition to the aprons.

While a casual tee-shirt with jeans may work for an employee working in a smaller shop, the clothing range of high range shops will include well – pressed formal shirts, preferably white in colour, matching trousers, a proper vest and suitable tie.

Believe it or not, most people form fairly firm opinions of other people within the first three seconds of meeting them. And a lot of the impression formed is based on visual input. Once those opinions have been formed, it takes a long time for them to be reversed. Therefore, how you look is very important.

Note this is never about whether you are good looking. You were born looking however you look; your good looks (or absence thereof) are not that necessary in professional relationships. Whether you are good looking is not a manifestation of your character, which is what people are primarily looking at in professional situations.


Indeed, your dressing in a professional environment speaks a whole lot about you. All food handlers are expected to wear only clean and light coloured outer clothes and protective coveralls. Buttons are avoided in the clothing to eliminate the chance of them coming off and falling into the coffee cup. Also, you are expected to wear suitable disposable gloves during preparation and serving.