Chef jackets and hats, a complete guide to kitchen uniforms

Chef jackets and hats, a complete guide to kitchen uniforms

Whether you’re an aspiring business owner getting ready to open your first restaurant, or an established chef looking to change things up, kitchen uniforms can be such a key element to your success that is sometimes overlooked.

Here at Stalbridge Linen Services, we know how important kitchen uniforms are, so have put together this helpful guide to the key elements and why they are so important.

Why Are Uniforms Important?

Uniforms set the tone in any workplace, from an accountant's office all the way to a fast food counter. Workers wearing a suit in their office is almost the exact same as in a burger shop. They are doing so to show professionalism and what the business is about. They can help to identify who exactly works in the business, which is important in aiding customer service.

In the restaurant business, kitchen uniforms play a vital role for a few different reasons. First, they reflect that hygiene is a priority, protecting the food and avoiding contamination. As well as hygiene, they can protect your workers from spillages or burns, usually made from different fabrics than regular clothes to offer this protection.

They also look professional, showing that your team takes itself seriously and is proud of what they do. While some businesses have kitchens that are hidden away, many will allow you to see the chefs who are cooking for you, and if they look the part you are more likely to enjoy the service and food they provide.

Now that you understand the importance of uniforms, let us go through the individual parts and how they all come together to create a functioning uniform.

Chef Jackets

Probably the most iconic element of a chef’s uniform is the chef jacket. The classic version is a double-breasted jacket, typically in white. It is white to repel heat and also to show off the cleanliness of the chef. You can have both short or long-sleeve options when it comes to chef jackets. The reason why the jacket is double-breasted is that you are able to easily hide stains by rebuttoning one side over the other. Classically, the buttons on the jacket are used to differentiate between a student and a qualified chef. Qualified chefs have black buttons while students wear white buttons.

One of the benefits of chef jackets is that they can help protect from any spills or burns, as they are typically made from a thick cotton that won’t allow the debris to soak through and harm the skin, especially helpful when working around boiling sauces and foods. If you’re wearing a simple cotton t-shirt in the kitchen, any hot spillage is probably going to easily penetrate through that and hurt your skin, while a chef jacket will prevent this. The double-breasted element also provides an extra layer of protection from any spillages.


A chef’s hat is a toque blanche, which is a type of hat with either a narrow brim or no brim at all. A toque blanche, literally French for white hat, is a tall, pleated hat that was originally used to denote the rank of the wearer and also for sanitary reasons. Each pleat of the toque was originally meant to symbolise a dish that has been mastered by a chef while the height of it indicated the rank. So the larger and more pleated hat you had, the more qualified you were.


Chef trousers serve a similar function in the kitchen to the chef jacket. They are typically made from a durable heavy cotton material that is also breathable. This allows them to protect from any spillages but not be too warm to wear in a hot kitchen environment. Chef trousers are typically baggy for a similar reason, so any potential spills that might occur are not directly next to the skin.

Front-of-House Shirts

Front-of-house staff usually do not need the protection of kitchen uniforms, so will often wear something simpler. The most common front-of-house shirts are typically button-up formal shirts or polo shirts. Both present an air of professionalism and clearly indicate to customers who are working at the business. Another option you can go for is a personalised t-shirt with your restaurant's branding on it.


There are two types of aprons usually worn in a kitchen. A long chef’s apron is primarily used for safety, acting as a barrier from any spills and debris that might hit your clothes. If the liquid or debris is hot enough to start burning through clothes, a bib apron can be easily removed to get the spill away from you.

The other type of apron is a waist apron. These normally cover just the lower part of the body, sometimes reaching to the floor but normally cutting off before the knee. These types of aprons are commonly used by serving staff in a kitchen who isn't going to be exposed to the same levels of spills as someone preparing the food. These types of aprons often come with pockets to store pens, notepads and anything else serving staff may need.


While not an essential element, many kitchens are now utilising hairnets as part of their uniform. They are mainly used for hygiene reasons. First, they keep hair from getting into food, utensils and anything else in the kitchen and they also keep workers’ hands out of their hands. It is practically impossible to remove bacteria from hair, so a hairnet is the best bet in preventing any of the bacteria in hair from ending up in the kitchen.


Chefs typically shy away from wearing traditional lace-up shoes. This is because they could become untied and trip somebody, which could lead to an accident occurring. This is why many chefs prefer to wear slip-on shoes. They are comfortable and will not fall off or trip a worker up. Crocs are a popular brand of chef shoes along with Birkenstocks.

What Is Chef Uniform Hire?

One of the best ways to get the right uniform for your kitchen or restaurant is by utilising chef uniform hire. Instead of relying on your business to purchase clothing, you simply rent it from a reliable chef uniform hire company like Stalbridge Linen Services.

The process is simple. You just tell us the quantities you need for each item and we can deliver it straight to you. Then once you’re done, you return the linen to us to be laundered and we supply you with another set of fresh linen in the meantime. It’s a great way to get clean and durable uniforms delivered straight to your door with the added benefit of not having to deal with the laundering of any of them.

Not having to clean your own uniforms means you don’t have to spend additional money or manpower on cleaning, freeing up resources for more important tasks. You also do not have to waste space in your business for the machinery needed to launder kitchen uniforms, which can be invaluable if you’re running a small business where there is not much space for washing and drying machines.

You’ll also benefit from having your kitchen uniforms washed to the highest standards, ensuring hygiene standards at your business. Washing your clothes in-house or allowing employees to take them home to wash could lead to them not being cleaned to the highest degree, meaning you could be working with germs or stains still on your clothes. Professional laundering uses tried and tested methods to get clothes as clean as possible.

Stalbridge Linen Services - Chef Uniforms Near Me

Stalbridge Linen Services prides itself on being the UK’s leading linen and laundry provider. For over 4 decades we have offered our linen hire and laundry services to clients all across the UK, in hotels, restaurants and cafes of all shapes and sizes.

Our customers keep coming back for more due to our reliability, exceptional quality and the flexibility we offer them. As well as kitchen linen options, we also stock restaurant and hotel linen, meaning you can kit out every aspect of your business with whatever you need.

If you’d like to learn more about our services, give us a call today at 0800 093 9933 or get a free no-obligation quote now.

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