The Ultimate Guide to Chef’s Clothing

Buying  chef’s clothing can be a minefield of different styles, colours and uses. With more choice come more questions. For instance, what will look the best in my establishment? Do I need double breasted jackets or a bib apron? And what on earth is the difference between a trilby hat and a chef’s hat?

Throughout this ultimate buying guide we will be exploring the intricate labyrinthine of all things chef’s clothing, enabling to choose the best option for your establishment. Whether you own a contemporary coffee shop or a leading fine dining restaurant, this guide will make the whole journey that little bit easier! (Hopefully)

Choosing Chef’s Clothing

Chefs Clothing

Choosing chef clothing should be simple but for most establishments, choosing the right clothing to fit with your unique style, brand and atmosphere is extremely important and a can be a huge investment. This can often make you feel lost and where you should even start and will have you questioning one option over another.

When it comes to chef’s clothing and kitchen workwear there are a range of different options that can often leave you wondering which is best for you. Here is our opinion.

What kind of chef clothing will be most suitable for your catering business?

  • Coffee shops:  Bib aprons, waist aprons and solid colour chef trousers
  • Cafes : Tabards, waist aprons, trilby hats and baseball caps
  • Small restaurant and takeaways : Bib aprons, chef trousers, cargo pants, beanies and skull caps
  • Cocktail bars/bars:  Waist Aprons, bib aprons and solid colour chef trousers
  • Casual dining restaurants : Bib aprons, chef jackets, chef trousers
  • Fine dining restaurants:  Chef Jackets, traditional chef trousers/ solid colour chef trousers.
  • Back of House:  Chef Trousers, waterproof apron, basic beanie with net

What are all the different types of chef clothing and what do they do? This question is better answered by breaking down all of the different types of chef’s clothing into categories.

There are FIVE main categories (generally) when it comes to chef’s clothing:

Four of these five main categories can then be broken down into sub categories, and this is where the difficult (confusing) decisions come from.

As previously mentioned, choosing chef clothing should be simple, but for many establishments, choosing the right clothing to fit with your unique style, brand and atmosphere is extremely important and a can be a huge investment.

Each aspect of chef’s clothing can add an extra level of intricacy and practicality that can have huge effects upon the rest of your establishment.

Here are the rest of the categories broken down:

Chef's jackets can be broken down into:

  • Basic Black
  • Basic White
  • Coloured
  • Denim
  • Ladies
Chef's hats can be broken down into:

  • Baseball Caps
  • Skull Caps
  • Basic Beanie
  • Trilby
  • Traditional Chef's Hats
Chef's trousers can be broken down into:

  • Checkered
  • Solid Design
  • Cargo Pants
Aprons can be broken down into:

  • Bib Aprons
  • Waist Aprons
  • Waterproofs

What are all the different chef’s jackets used for?

Their Use

Chef jackets are probably one of the most recognised and widely used chefs clothing available. The original white chef’s coat is standard and considered part of a traditional uniform and as a practical chef's garment.

Traditionally, most serious chefs wear white coats to signify the importance and high regard of their profession. Although, different designs are styles are becoming more and more popular every year.

Chef’s jackets are predominately used as a defence against the heat of hot stoves and ovens and as well as splattering of boiling liquids.

Double Breasted Chef’s Jackets

Double breasted chef’s jackets are used to add an extra layer of protection to the wearer's chest and stomach area from burns from splashing liquids. The Double breasted design adds to the design of the chef’s jacket but can also be reversed to hide stains or marks.

The different types

There are a few different styles and types of chef’s jackets that you should be aware of. The traditional white, double breasted design is mostly used in fine dining restaurants whilst the newer more modern  black chef’s jackets are for establishments that aren’t afraid to do things differently.

This also could be said for the coloured and  denim chef’s jackets. It is becoming more common for restaurants to opt for an open design kitchen where chefs can be seen cooking. This is where the coloured designs and black can be used as a branding tool to set them apart from other restaurants. A black or coloured chef’s jacket can modernise and transform the look of a kitchen whilst still portraying the professionalism of the chefs. Denim chefs offer a trendy alternative that are popular with restaurants who want to portray a modern sense of style.

What are all the different chef’s hats used for? And what’s right for my establishment?

chefs hat

Chef hats are a practical way of adding a stylish aspect to your kitchen. The chef hats main purpose is to stop hair from falling from the users head onto any work surfaces or plates nearby (something you absolutely do not want to happen). Although, that is the main reason to wear a chef’s hat, they can also be used to add a new element to the users look.

There are various different designs and styles that are available. Mostly, your decision should be based upon whether or not you would like your staff to wear a hat or not. It should be said that here at Cooksmill, we highly recommend that anyone that comes into contact with any type of food/ drink should take the proper precautions (i.e. hairnet/hat) to stop any of their hair falling into/onto any food/drink.

For most businesses,  skull caps,beanies and  trilby hats are great for chefs that are behind the scenes in the kitchen. On the other hand,  baseball caps can be a great look for some coffee shops or casual dining restaurants.

What are the different types of chef trousers and which is best for me?

chefs trousers

Professional chef trousers are a vital aspect of any of any chef’s uniform. Not only do they offer protection from potentially harmful situations but they also improve the look and performance of your chefs.

In regards to the practicality of chef’s trousers they are all relatively the same. The main difference that is Important when choosing trousers is their design. Depending on what establishment you have will impact what kind of trousers you will be need.

If you have an open plan kitchen where your staff/chefs can be seen by customers, it is important that their trousers match well with the rest of their attire. For instance the more  traditional checked chef’s trousers will match well with a modern denim chef’s jacket. Whilst the slightly more modern look of  solid colour trousers will marry well with contemporary design of denim look aprons and black chef’s jackets.

Types of aprons

There are a few different types of aprons all of which have different looks, styles and uses. Firstly, there is the  traditional bib apron which is often seen in trendy coffee shops and cocktail bars. The bib apron is a practical option for staff that may have to carry small items such as tablets, pens and notepads etc.

Secondly, there are waist aprons.  Waist aprons are a fantastic choice if your establishment already have a uniform which includes any branded attire such as a polo shirt or t-shirt for example.The waist apron’s design means that the user’s top half can still be seen whilst still offering protection from staining and giving the user the option of storage.

Lastly, there are waterproofs.  Waterproof aprons are pretty self-explanatory (they are waterproof). This aspect makes them perfect for any staff that are behind the scenes in a messy environment. The waterproof material means that the user can stay protected from any splashes or spills that may injure/ stain their clothing.

How do I make my establishment stand out?

Standing out from the crowd is a fantastic way of making a name for your establishment whilst also being unique. There are number of different ways in which you can use chef’s clothing as an affordable branding tool to make your kitchen/staff stand out.

Branding is extremely important when it comes to creating an experience of which your customers will remember. Creating a positive experience can be more than just the product and service you provide. The look and atmosphere that your establishment provides is also greatly important of gaining notoriety.

Standing out is all about being different and having a uniform that reflects your establishment’s purpose/mission. Whether your purpose is to offer the cheapest and tastiest food/drink in the market or whether it’s to offer the most cutting edge dining experience. It is essential that your staffs uniform reflects that through its design.

If you’re looking for a modern look which challenges tradition, our washed and unwashed denim range is ideal. The  denim apron range is perfect for coffee shops, cocktail bars and restaurants looking to stand out with a fashionable taint on tradition. Additionally, we also provide a selection of wax-look designs which will also offer that extra level of intricacy and design in your establishment.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to take advantage of tradition, we also offer a range of white chef’s jackets and checked trousers which will look fantastic in any fine dining restaurants.

The Chef Uniform and its Significance

If you think of certain professions, it is easy to automatically think of the uniforms they tend to wear. Because we have these images in our mind, we shy away from those wearing anything other than their traditional uniform.

The Chefs uniform can be extremely important in reassuring customers of your hygiene and food preparation. If a chef looks untidy/dirty, we presume that the kitchen will also be dirty and the food they make will be unhygienic. This can ultimately destroy an establishment’s reputation and be the reason for its downfall.

From this we can stress that the importance of the chef’s uniform is not only important from a branding perspective but also from a cleanliness and hygiene perspective. When choosing chef’s clothing it is important to note how the item can be cleaned and the ease of the process. The colour/ pattern can also be a factor in the how clean an item of clothing can look i.e. white will show stains and marks more than black.


When choosing chefs clothing, it is important to reflect and visualise what kind of establishment you have/ would like to have. Whether you’re have a hip and modern coffee shop or a well-known franchise it is important to match your branding and imagine.

The importance of chef’s clothing cannot be stressed enough. It could be suggested that the chef’s clothing may be as important the food and drink you serve. Therefore it is crucial that in order to make the right decision when choosing chef clothing that a few different aspects are considered.

  1. The look, style and practicality.
  2. The purpose.
  3. The durability and how easy the item is cleaned.

Choosing chef’s clothing on balance of these aspects will ensure that you are picking a suitable solution for your restaurant, café or coffee shop.

Shop now for all your chefs clothing at Cooksmill
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