What Do Waiters Wear?

What Do Waiters and Waitresses Wear

Waitstaff uniforms are quite varied across many different restaurant types. Depending on the atmosphere of the restaurant, waitstaff can be outfitted in a broad range of attire. 

In this article, we will look at some of the uniform options waiters and waitresses may wear.  From formal dinnerware to aprons with pockets and everything in between - you'll become an expert on what servers wear so that you can make informed decisions based on your restaurant's needs.

Service With Style: What Makes A Waiter’s Uniform?

Today's thriving restaurant industry provides room for a variety of uniform styles. However, there are certain elements that remain consistent regardless of the setting:


The most traditional waiter uniforms start with a white dress shirt and black pants.

This classic combination is often paired with a waistcoat, vest, or jacket. This is perfect for classic, upscale restaurants where tradition matters the most.

Here's a sample service vest that you can use to give your employees a classic, refined look. With a tailored fit, adjustable satin back, functional pockets and a button front, your employees will look the part while they serve up excellent cuisine.

A great example of this look is the uniform program we designed for RPM Steak

Classic White Shirt with Black Pants Waiter Uniform


For more casual establishments or modern restaurants, black chinos or trousers can also be worn, and a crisp white apron may be added for an extra touch of professionalism. 

Here is an example of a casual waiter uniform we put together that features our Black Stretch Service Chinos and a Short Sleeve Gray Chambray Shirt.

For added convenience and comfort, many restaurants opt for modern, lightweight alternatives to traditional uniforms. These can include a long-sleeve shirt with chinos, or a white dress shirt with black jeans.

Check out this hard-wearing twill waist apron for an example of a contemporary uniform piece. Equipped with double hand pockets to accommodate your waitstaff's serving requirements, the reliability and long life of this item is second to none - making it perfect for the fast-paced restaurant environment. 


The color palette is also an important part of a waiter’s outfit.

For example, a beachside restaurant might choose blue and white for its wait staff, or a Japanese restaurant may opt for the usual colors of kimono-style garb or if going a more modern route, take inspiration from this project with AvroKO and Momotaro. We made use of the symbiotic relationship between Japanese and Western style to create uniforms that were both aesthetically pleasing and practical. 

For more ideas, here are some of our favorite waiter uniforms from past clients we’ve worked with to design waiter uniforms.

The Black Tie Server Uniform

This classic black and white ensemble is perfect for formal occasions. Start with a white dress shirt and pair it with a black tie, waistcoat, and trousers. For a more modern take, add a black blazer for a sharp and stylish look.

You can also check out this ivory shawl collar suit coat we made for a Chicago steakhouse. It's a perfect mix of formal yet functional, crafted from a strong and breathable poly blend fabric.

The White Shirt Waiter Uniform

White is always in style when it comes to waiter uniforms. The trick is to find the right white shirt that fits perfectly and looks professional.

For upscale restaurants, we love pairing a white dress shirt with black chinos or trousers, and adding a black waistcoat or vest for an extra touch of sophistication. Less formal restaurants can opt for a crisp white polo with some customization to make it unique.

Here's Stock's white oxford shirt, crafted with an eye toward both form and function. We’ve used a cotton poly blend to provide a durable but soft shirt.

Adding an Apron to a Waiters Uniform

When you want to add a bit of style and functionality, an apron is a perfect option. There are so many things you can do with a classic apron — wear it over a shirt and trousers, layer it on top of your staff uniforms, or don it with jeans. You can also experiment with prints or colors to make a statement.

Twill, denim, herringbone, canvas — we have a variety of aprons in different fabrics to choose from. Or, you can opt for a customized look, like our custom apron for the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel's Cherry Circle Room. We added a subtle flap at the bottom for a unique touch, and added embroidery to give it an extra polished finish.

Custom Aprons for Waiters

Fit: A Waiter’s Best Friend

No matter the style, fit is perhaps the most important thing when it comes to waiter uniforms. 

A good-fitting uniform not only looks sharp and professional — it also keeps the wearer feeling comfortable and confident while navigating a busy restaurant.


A shirt should fit snugly through the shoulders and chest, with a little bit of room in the waist. Women's shirts can be tailored to their shape, with a slightly more fitted waistline.

The bottom should be long enough to stay tucked in, and the sleeves should have enough length for a few inches of cuff to be visible. 


For trousers, make sure the length is right and there's no excess fabric bunching up at the ankles. The fit should be slightly tapered, with a bit of room in the waist and crotch area. For women, you can go for more fitted styles with a higher waistline.


Finally, don't forget to check the fit of accessories like vests, ties, and aprons. 

For vests, make sure the sides have enough room to move freely. Long ties should hit just above the waistline, bow ties should be adjustable and fit snugly, and aprons should sit comfortably around the body.

Tips for the Perfect Waiter Uniform

Once you have the perfect pieces in place, there are a few extra tips to get your waiters looking their best.

Well-groomed waiters make all the difference

Make sure your team understands the importance of showing up to work well-groomed and polished. Encourage them to trim their hair, shave daily, and keep nails short and clean.

Put the focus on shoes

Shoes are often overlooked, but they can make or break the waiter uniform. Invest in a good pair of black leather oxfords or lace-up shoes with rubber soles to provide traction and comfort.

Accessorize with pocket squares, scarves, and necklaces

Creativity is key when it comes to accessories. For example, you can add a pop of color — like a pocket square, scarf, or necklace — that complements their uniform. Some of our clients have even gone for bold patterns and flashy colors to give their waiters' looks that extra something special.

Keep it clean and pressed

A key to looking sharp is making sure your waiters' uniforms are clean and pressed.

Stock Mfg. The Premier Choice for Waiter Uniforms

If you're in the market for waiter uniforms, Stock is your best bet. 

We carry a wide selection of shirts, trousers, vests, and aprons to help you create the perfect look for your team. Plus, our customization options offer endless possibilities for a unique, tailored look.

Empower your waiters to look and feel their best with Stock waiter uniforms — they'll be sure to make a good impression on your guests!


Are aprons required in food service?

Aprons are not universally required in food service, but they are highly recommended. Aprons protect your server's clothing from spills and stains, providing a professional and uniform appearance. They also offer functional benefits like pockets for carrying order pads, pens, and other necessities. 

What uniform does a chef wear?

A chef's uniform typically includes pants with stretch, a breathable top, non-slip shoes, and an apron. A chef’s uniform can be dressed up or down depending on what you are looking for. The most important aspect is that your chefs are comfortable and safe in their workwear. 

What should a hostess wear?

A hostess's attire should reflect the restaurant's ambiance and level of formality. In upscale dining settings, a hostess may wear a dress or a blouse with a fitted bazer. For casual dining, a clean, polished appearance with a restaurant-branded shirt and dress pants. The key is to maintain a professional, welcoming appearance that aligns with the restaurant's branding.

How should a restaurant manager dress?

A restaurant manager's uniform should strike a balance between professional and approachable. In formal settings, a suit, dress, or business casual attire may be appropriate. In more casual restaurants, a manager might wear a branded polo shirt with black trousers or khakis. Managers should always present a polished appearance, as they represent your restaurant's leadership. 

Where can I get waiter uniform ideas?

For inspiration and ideas for uniforms, check out our curated restaurant and server uniform collections. If you have a unique vision in mind, we also offer custom uniform design services.