Behind the Green Apron: Starbucks Dress Code Gets Some Flair
Those who zombie-walk into Starbucks for a caffeine fix are accustomed to a standard look for the baristas: simple black-and-white clothes under a green apron.
But a new dress code unveiled by the coffee chain on Monday encourages a new sense of individualism, inviting workers to wear fedoras and beanies, to dye their hair and to incorporate accent ties and socks. The range of acceptable colors for shirts expanded to include gray, navy, dark denim and brown.
“We’re inviting you to bring your personal taste and handcrafted style to work,” Starbucks told workers in its new policy. “As ambassadors of the Starbucks brand, you should feel proud of your own look as you tie on the green apron.”
Don’t pin it all on millennials — but, yeah, millennials do prefer more relaxed dress codes, and experts say companies in all industries are increasingly loosening their sartorial standards in hopes of keeping workers happy.
Younger employees would prefer to go to work with the same set of clothes they wear to hang out with friends, instead of having to buy a potentially expensive wardrobe just for business hours, said Daryl Pigat, a division director at OfficeTeam, a staffing service.
Also, consider the business role models for millennials. Mark Zuckerberg, for example, often wears a hoodie, not a pinstripe suit.
In an OfficeTeam survey of 300 senior managers at American companies with more than 20 employees — it was released in June — half of the managers said employees dressed less formally than they did five years ago. Among workers, 18 percent said they would prefer a formal dress code, 31 said they would prefer business casual, 27 percent said they would like a casual dress code or no dress code, and 23 percent said it didn’t matter.
Job seekers aren’t using dress codes as their driving force for picking an employer, but they are considering it while debating how they would fit in, Mr. Pigat said.
“Everything is becoming a little less formal and a little more personal,” he said. “Everyone has their own stamp on things, and they’re representing their own personal brand now in more ways than one — in social media and, certainly, in the way they present themselves with what they put on in the morning.”
For employers, letting employees dress down at least some of the time has become an increasingly standard benefit. In a January survey of 3,490 human resources professionals by the Society for Human Resource Management, 59 percent said their companies allowed casual dress at least once a week, up from 55 percent in 2012. Forty percent of the companies allowed casual dress every day, up from 36 in 2012.
对雇主来说，让员工至少能偶尔穿得随兴点，已逐渐成为标准福利了。人力资源管理协会(Society for Human Resource Management)在今年1月对3490名人力资源管理从业者进行调查，受访者中有59%表示，他们的公司每周至少会让员工穿一天便服，这个比例在2012年只有55%。40%的公司允许员工每天穿便服上班，而在2012年只有36%的公司这么做。
In recruiting, companies may have to dress down to keep up, especially for a company like Starbucks that often hires younger employees.
“That’s going to increase your ability to hire faster, and possibly retain employees,” said Edward Yost, an employee benefits expert at the Society for Human Resource Management. “Then you’re likely to see more consistent performance out of each one of those locations.”
In 2014, Starbucks relaxed its conservative dress code to include untucked shirts, nose studs, shorts and skirts. The further loosening announced Monday had been tried at some locations, including one in Midtown Manhattan.
“This new dress code is what partners have in their closets,” Mario Leon, the manager of the Manhattan location, said in a statement. “It just makes it so much easier. It just makes so much sense.”
The announcement was met with approval from some current and past baristas on Twitter.
WHAT IT MEANS
Starbucks’ new dress code encourages employees to incorporate their personal taste. But some things are off the table.
Are Tattoos O.K.? Yes. Visible tattoos on the face and neck aren’t allowed, but others are fine as long as they don’t contain “obscene, profane, racist, sexual or objectionable words or imagery."
What About Tongue Studs? No. A small nose stud is O.K. Keep earrings small or moderately sized. Necklaces must be “simple in design” and worn under clothing. Forget the diamond ring. For food-safety reasons, one ring, a plain band, is allowed. Oh, and no watches.
Can They 'Pin It' for a Cause? Again, no. Baristas are not permitted to wear pins for political, religious or personal causes.
What About Hygiene? The company asks employees to make sure fingernails are clean and of moderate length, and to bathe and use deodorant, of course.