There are few things I enjoy skewering more than hipsters. Luckily, one of those few things is the burnt coffee-serving mega-corporation, Starbucks. As someone who has only been inside of a Starbucks one time, it has been my life-long mission to avoid them at all costs in favor of supporting local coffee shops, à la how I would’ve shopped at You’ve Got Mail‘s The Shop Around the Corner in favor of the Borders-esque Fox Books. But I digress.
In an effort to revamp their already rather strict dress code, Starbucks has put out an entire PDF for their workers to reference when they’re wondering, “Do I look Bushwick enough to pour this drip coffee for this girl who’s wearing workout clothes even though she didn’t work out?” The document itself says, “As ambassadors of the Starbucks brand, you should feel proud of your own look as you tie on the green apron,” which is a stretch considering most baristas are probably in between acting jobs or call themselves “makers” in their Instagram bios.
The document is also quite extensive – a 15-page manual on how to look like the presentable type of hipster rather than the scuzzy type who hasn’t talked to their parents in five years. They begin with a glimpse at the color palette that’s now acceptable to wear in the store – black, charcoal, gray, navy, brown, khaki, and white. So unless you look like you’re directly out of a London Fog catalog, you best take your cappuccino-makin’ ass else where. Especially if your wardrobe contains anything that isn’t cotton, polyester, leather, canvas, denim, selvedge denim, wool, or straw. That cashmere sweater you spent $300 on just isn’t appropriate if you want to have the privilege of making a career out of microwaving someone’s breakfast sandwich.
The specifics don’t end there, though. Oh no. Their style guide goes into detail about which types of tops are acceptable. Per Starbucks:
You’re invited to wear a range of subdued shirt colors beyond black and white, including gray, navy, dark denim and brown. Solids are your friend, and so are smaller, tighter, low-contrast patterns.
Invitation accepted, Starbucks. Luckily for both of us, I have a funeral to go to after work so I was planning on wearing one of my fifty shades of black anyway. The photos Starbucks uses to exemplify these styles even include one guy wearing black suspenders over his grey canvas button-down, and I’d bet you a PSL that the guy in the photo is a pretentious asshole who used to love Garden State in high school. But what’s not allowed on your torso, you ask?
Sweatshirts, hooded shirts, cap-sleeve and short-sleeve crew or V-neck T-shirts. Embroidery, detail or pattern that competes with or is distracting under the apron. No manufacturer’s logo on tops unless it is small, on shirt pockets or sleeves.
If you even think about distracting under that apron, you can ride your fixie back to your apartment and never come back.
When the style guide transitions to the bottom half of the baristas desired outfits, Starbucks didn’t spare any details.
Wear pants, shorts, skirts or dresses in black, gray, navy, brown and khaki (no white). Jeans are welcome too, in darker washes and hues only (no light tones). All clothing must be durable, practical and fit comfortably, without rips, tears, patches or distress.
Shorts, skirts and dresses should be no shorter than four inches above the knee.
Essentially, if you even consider dressing like you used to shop at Hollister, your espresso pouring talents need to be taken elsewhere. They currently do not allow jeans with holes in them or sweatpants, but one would think this will change in a few years when corporate catchs up with the trends and says, “Hey, should we let this ‘athleisure’ trend under our sacred green aprons?”
When pairing shoes with your pants, there’s a strict “no Ugg boots, heels, or Crocs,” policy – a policy that I kind of wish the entire world would adopt outside of the sacred doors of Starbucks. They claim that this is for safety reasons, but everyone knows that it’s just because those types of footwear make you look like a dumbass.
If you’re trying to accessorize, this is where you get to show off your true colors. On their ‘Yes List’ exists fedoras, bowlers, baseball caps (plain, solid colors only), flat caps, newsboys, Panamas, or trilbies, along with any Starbucks®-branded hat or visor that you’re not self-aware enough to realize looks terrible. But if you’re trying to wear a bucket hat, cowboy hat, or fedora with a loud pattern? Sorry, go apply at Peets, you uncultured piece of shit.
But your flair doesn’t have to end there.
Love to wear a tie? Feel free to incorporate an optional accent (just make sure it’s not the main event of your outfit). Your accent colors can go far beyond the colors represented in the palette (page 6). Choose items that harmonize rather than clash with your outfit or distract from your apron. A tie or scarf must not cover the top of the apron or your name badge.
So good news, Otto, you can wear that cotton skinny-tie you’ve been dying to wear since you scored it at that Portland resale shop beneath a second-hand record store. Just make sure it’s not “too busy” or else you’ll find yourself “fired.”
On top of that, you’re also clear to have gauge earrings (as long as they aren’t too big), tattoos (as long as they’re not on your face and neck), and can be pregnant as long as your maternity threads are up to the style standards Starbucks has slaved over.
Oh, and you have to shower every day. Because cleanliness is next to godliness, even if the desired look you’re going for is a grungy, hipster piece of shit. .