A chore coat, traditionally a workwear staple, has become increasingly popular in modern fashion and the hospitality industry. Its durability and practicality make it an ideal choice for restaurant staff. Here's a guide on how to wear and implement chore coats in your establishment.
The Basics of a Chore Coat
Understanding Its Origin
The chore coat or jacket, originated in the late 1800s as utilitarian workwear for manual laborers. Often made of thick cotton or canvas, it provided protection and durability.
Early versions featured a shirt-style collar and front button closure. As the chore coat evolved, details were added, like patch pockets and side adjusters. Brands like Carhartt and Dickies popularized the chore coat as standard workwear in the 20th century.
Today, the chore coat remains a practical style but also functions as a vintage-inspired fashion piece. Contemporary versions come in a broader range of fabrics, like denim or corduroy.
Tips for Styling Your Staff's Chore Coat
Choosing the Right Silhouette
Opt for a fitted but comfortable silhouette. Avoid overly tight fits that could restrict movement—think relaxed, like a denim chore coat that can be easily adjusted. You can also choose heavyweight twill or cotton canvas in dark, stain-resistant colors.
Add Custom Branding
Add your logo neatly embroidered on the upper left chest and back, like the script logos on coats. This makes the coats easily identifiable as staff uniforms. Consider bold custom lining prints featuring your brand motif, as seen inside coats at many famous restaurants.
Offer Size Variety
Provide a range of sizing options to fit all body types on your staff comfortably. Ensure the coats have well-anchored buttons and durable fabric and are machine washable for frequent laundering.
Style For Each Position
Match chore coats with cuffed jeans or trousers and supportive footwear. Provide coordinating aprons for front-of-house staff. Make coats unique for various positions — chefs in white, servers in black, managers in navy, etc.
Equip with functional details
Supply easy-access pockets to hold essentials securely, like the chest pockets on coats at busy restaurants. Chore coats should enable efficient movement and storage for staff.
Create a memorable brand statement
Investing in customized chore coats makes a memorable brand statement for staff and guests, similar to polished coats. Chore coats are a smart uniform choice—professional, comfortable, durable, and easy to customize.
Types of Chore Coats
Beyond the classic chore coat style, there are a few modern variations:
The French Chore Coat
- Inspired by vintage French workwear, this features a wider spread collar and a relaxed fit through the body.
- Often made of lightweight cotton, linen, or corduroy for a softer look.
- It comes in vibrant colors like mustard yellow and light blue.
- Exposed buttons down the front and on the welt pockets add flair.
The Denim Chore Coat
- Made of sturdy denim or chambray for a workwear look.
- Typically, it has a dark indigo wash for durability and to hide dirt.
- Raw hem detailing lends a relaxed vibe.
- Great for layering over t-shirts or button-downs.
The Waxed Cotton Chore Coat
- Coated in wax for water resistance, like a field or barn jacket.
- Offers protection from the elements while working outdoors.
- Often styled with a corduroy collar and cuffs as an accent.
- More substantial weight due to the wax treatment.
Experimenting with these modern twists allows you to customize the traditional chore coat for your staff's needs and personal tastes.
Why Choose a Chore Coat?
The best chore coats are designed to be durable workwear garments. As they are constructed from thick, sturdy fabrics like cotton duck, twill, or canvas, they are oftentimes abrasion-resistant and built to last through daily wear and tear. The double stitching and rivet reinforcements enable the coat to handle frequent use without quickly showing signs of damage.
The multiple large pockets on chore coats provide excellent functionality for restaurant staff. The two chest patch pockets are perfect for holding small pads, pens, straws, corkscrews, or other oft-used items that servers need quick access to. The side pockets allow staff to securely store personal items like wallets or phones while working.
Chore jackets or coats worn by all staff create a unified aesthetic for your establishment. Offering them in consistent colors and styles establishes a smart, identifiable look for your brand's service team. It presents guests with a polished, professional appearance when all staff wear the same crisp, functional coats.
The cotton twill or canvas fabric of most chore coats offers breathability and ease of movement during long shifts. The straight shape provides room through the body without restricting motion. Buttons allow adjustability for comfort. For staff spending hours on their feet, chore coats deliver durability without sacrificing comfort.
Chore coats allow for easy branding customizations like embroidered logos or custom-printed lining. This makes them ideal for transforming into personalized uniforms reflecting your venue's unique motif and sensibilities.
Well-made chore coats can be purchased at reasonable prices, making outfitting your entire staff attainable. They are a budget-friendly garment option when buying in bulk, compared to more expensive coats or jackets.
Details and Style of Your Typical Chore Coat
- Fabric: Typically made of 8–10 oz cotton, twill, or duck canvas. Provides durability.
- Pockets: Two large patch pockets on the front are convenient for carrying small items. Side pockets may also be included.
- Closure: Five to seven buttons down the front. Sometimes, it also has metal side adjusters.
- Collar: Pointed shirt-style collar or a narrow spread collar.
- Shape: A straight shape through the body provides room for movement. Falls above the hips.
- Sleeves: Long set-in sleeves with button cuffs for adjustability.
- Color: Most often navy blue, tan, or other neutral colors. It also comes in brighter hues.
- Brands: Carhartt, Dickies, L.L. Bean, Gap, Everlane, Alex Mill, and more.
Caring for Your Chore Coats
Chore coats are designed to handle wear and tear, but proper care extends their lifespan.
Inspect and Repair
Frequently inspect the chore coats for rips, missing buttons, stubborn stains, or other damage and repair them promptly to maintain a tidy, professional appearance. Keeping the coats in good working order also maximizes durability.
Follow Specific Instructions
Check the fabric care label on the inside of the chore coat for any special washing, drying or ironing instructions. Some coats must be line-dried or professionally dry-cleaned only to protect the fabric's integrity.
Replace When Needed
Retire overly ripped, damaged, or threadbare chore coats and replace them with new ones periodically. This keeps the staff uniforms looking crisp, clean, and cohesive. Proactively budgeting for coat replacements avoids uniforms appearing shabby.
Engage a Service
Outsource the chore coat cleaning to a commercial laundry service for convenience and to ensure proper care using industrial methods. This also saves restaurant staff the time and effort of frequently washing the coats themselves.
Stock's Chore Coats: The Reliable Everyday Partner for Your Staff
Stock offers a versatile selection of chore coats perfect for work or play. Our chore coats are made from durable stretch cotton twill and provide both comfort and utility. The coats feature two large front patch pockets ideal for holding small items like notepads or pens. Side adjusters allow you to customize the fit.
Stock's chore coats come in various colors like navy, black, and charcoal, so you can coordinate with your establishment's brand. The classic design includes a pointed collar, button front closure, and long sleeves with button cuffs. Both the men's and women's styles have a straight shape that falls just above the hips, allowing for ease of movement.
Stock's affordable and well-made chore coats can be dressed up or down for various venues, making them an essential addition to any wardrobe. If you plan to add a chore coat to your restaurant or hotel's uniform plan, you are in the right place!
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is the typical price range for a chore coat?
Chore coats are usually priced between $50 and $150, depending on the materials and brand. Quality cotton or twill versions can be found for under $100.
How do you determine the right size chore coat?
Try on the coat and ensure you have free range of motion in the shoulders and arms without feeling restricted. There should be room to layer underneath comfortably. Go a size up if between sizes.
What colors are most versatile?
Neutral colors like navy, black, charcoal, or tan will pair well with almost anything, making them highly versatile. Grey also hides stains well.
How often should you wash a chore coat?
Plan to launder chore coats at least once a week or more if they are heavily soiled from daily use. Proper washing keeps coats fresh.
What are chore coats best paired with?
Chore coats work well with casual button-downs, t-shirts, jeans, or chinos. Cuffing the sleeves lends visual interest. Aprons, hats, and solid footwear complete the look.
Should chore coats be tailored?
Most are designed for a universal loose fit, so tailoring isn't necessary. But you can have the sleeves shortened if they are very long. Take care not to tailor too fitted so movement isn't restricted.