When you are one of thousands in an international army of baristas, how do you display individuality? With fedoras, purple hair, and tattoos, that's how.
At least that's part of the new Starbucks Dress Code announced this week. The dress code is equal parts HR manual and Do's and Don'ts list and promises to give baristas the chance to "shine as individuals while continuing to present a clean, neat and professional appearance"—all within the corporate parameters of a publicly traded company valued at $77 billion.
"Effective immediately, a range of shirt colors beyond solid black and white are welcome, including gray, navy, dark denim, and brown, including patterns," the accompanying press release read. But wait! The drastic changes go far beyond the move away from monochrome black and white.
"Shorts, skirts, dresses and pants, including dark-wash jeans, are all part of the Starbucks wardrobe, and partners [employees] are invited to make a statement with hair color, so long as coloring is permanent or semi-permanent, in keeping with food-safety standards. To cap the look off, beanies, fedoras, and other suitable hats are welcome."
While this may not sound like the boldest move, Starbucks workers claim that the subtle changes made waves among their loyal customer base.
"Customers noticed right away," Starbucks store manager Mario Leon said. "They actually thought that something was wrong. They would ask me, 'Why are you guys all out of uniform?' And we just told them, 'No, this is the new uniform for this store.' They said, 'We like it. We're happy to see that you can wear expressive clothing to show who you are.'"
But there are still a bunch of no-no's which cross the line of For example, cowboy hats, t-shirts, hoodies, and "fedoras with loud patterns" are strictly prohibited.
And while we'd much rather be served by a barista wearing a cowboy hat than a fedora, it really comes down to the coffee and the green aprons, which remain mandatory.