the chain gang

Starbucks Embraces Baristas With Purple Hair

What to expect, apparently. Photo: Starbucks

As promised, Starbucks has relaxed its fastidious workplace dress code. The company is notoriously persnickety about employees maintaining a “clean, neat, and professional appearance” — to the point that it used to require sleeves over any tattoos. After hearing workplace morale had taken a hit, though, CEO Howard Schultz pledged to give workers “more freedom when it comes to bringing your ‘whole self’ to work.”

Green aprons are still nonnegotiable, but, starting today, new guidelines will allow staff at American and Canadian stores to wear shirts that aren’t entirely black or white, and pants that aren’t black or khaki. The uniform has been updated to include what Starbucks refers to as “a range” of additional colors — i.e., gray, navy, dark denim, and brown. Baristas can come dressed in shorts, jeans, and dresses now, too, and for the first time non-natural hair color is fine, “so long as coloring is permanent or semi-permanent.” If they feel they absolutely must, baristas can also sport a beanie or fedora to “cap the look off.”

Because it wasn’t sure how customers were going to process this abrupt change, Starbucks has actually been testing out the new dress code at one of the Times Square stores in Manhattan since last September. “Visitors to the store were caught slightly off guard by the change,” the company reports, but luckily customers were real troopers who sucked it up and “welcomed the new style.”

Starbucks Embraces Baristas With Purple Hair