Purple hair? Starbucks doesn't care. Coffee chain relaxes employee dress code

TORONTO – Got purple hair? Starbucks wants to hire you.

The world’s largest coffee chain is loosening its employee dress code to allow workers to don brightly-dyed hair and coloured, patterned clothing.

Starbucks says employees now have more fashion choices to wear underneath the company’s signature green apron — within reason.

The revamped company attire rules now includes grey, navy, dark denim and brown tops along with shirts with small stripes, tone-on-tone plaids and tight patterns. Employees can also wear pants, shorts, skirts or dresses in grey, navy, brown, khaki and black, as well as dark-washed blue jeans.

Along with vibrant-coloured hair, staffers are likewise permitted to put on knitted beanies, fedoras and other suitable hats in brown, grey or black. Scarves, neckties and colourful socks have also been given the OK.

The coffee company says the move is an opportunity for their employees to display their individuality while at work.

“The green apron remains core and common and is our brand,” said Sara Presutto, vice-president of partner resources at Starbucks Canada.

“But what we want is for our partners to have more individuality behind the apron so we’re broadening how they can express themselves.”

The previous dress code required workers to wear solid-black or white shirts, khaki or solid-black bottoms, shorts or skirts. Only hats with a Starbucks logo were allowed.

The change is immediately in effect on Monday at all locations in the U.S. and at its 1,300 locations in Canada — the latter of which employs approximately 20,000 workers.

Presutto said Starbucks employees can also have up to two piercings per ear and a small nose stud. Other jewelry will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis due to food-safety requirements.

Although the rules have been scaled back, Presutto noted that customers shouldn’t expect their local barista to soon be wearing ripped jeans, dirty clothes or mid-riff tops.

She said the same standard of professionalism will still apply.

This is the second time Starbucks has revised its dress-code policy since it came to Canada in 1987.

In 2014, it allowed workers to display tasteful tattoos that did not contain vulgar language or messages that were not on the face or neck, and permitted untucked shirts, shorts and skirts.

Starbucks isn’t the only company to revise its dress-code guidelines to reflect the changing times.

In March, Earls restaurant chain amended its dress code, permitting servers to wear pants instead of skirts. Its previous policy allowed female workers to wear black pants only “on request.”

In 2014, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. employees in the U.S. allowed khaki and black denim pants instead of black dress pants, with warehouse and garden centre workers given the green light to wear T-shirts and blue jeans.

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