The problem with Starbucks new dress code

The coffee chain now encourages staff to express their personalities through jeans, flatcaps and colourful neckerchiefs. Is it trying too hard?

We cant blame Starbucks for single-handedly casting the final shovel of earth on to the long-buried coffin of hipness, but its certainly having a good go. The coffee chain has just released a new dress code for its baristas. While the aim is to encourage staff to express their personalities through their clothes, it has accidentally picked the scab off some of the plummest hipster trends to have scarred fashions landscape. So much so that this handbook can now double up as a checklist for what not to wear.

Some of the things staff are now actively encouraged to wear include selvedge denim, saggy beanies and cuffed jeans. A neckerchief, worn any way in a fun colour. You are also allowed to wear visors and flatcaps. (Its worth remembering that Starbucks is a predominantly indoor establishment.) Its quite a step change given that, until recently, employees were limited to black or white shirts and khaki or black bottoms. They werent allowed to dye their hair weird colours, and they definitely werent allowed to wear fedoras. Happily, they can now do both, while continuing to call you Jess Jeff, despite having written it correctly the cup.

Whats
Whats in and whats not, according to the Starbucks dress code. Photograph: Starbucks

Of course, having a dress code inspired by anything other than practicality is daft. But in one sense, the reasoning is sound. Douglas McWilliamss book The Flat White Economy suggests that the economy prospers where these trends go, so its inevitable that chains will attempt to tap into hipster chic. Sydneys successful cafe The Corner a hip one-off branch of McDonalds where staff wear chambray shirts and dark jeans is a case in point.

There is some salvation, however, not least in the list of banned clothing that, inevitably, happens to be all the things that are actually on trend. These include: big logos and bucket hats (very nu-lad); jogging bottoms (athleisure); and anything with an inconsistent wash (AKA dip dye see Altuzarras spring/summer collection). Still, the problem isnt that the baristas are wearing plaid. Or even that they have the audacity to call themselves baristas (said as a one-time barista). The problem is that the coffee is rank.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/shortcuts/2016/jul/26/problem-with-starbucks-new-dress-code-for-staff

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