CHEFS' CLOTHING - UPCOMING TRENDS

Nowadays, chefs' clothing is both fashionable and highly comfortable.
Both the chef's jacket as well as the trousers, aprons and chefs' hats have undergone
a true metamorphosis.  Those who think about purchasing might be better off taking
a look at the upcoming trends.

CHEFS' JACKETS
The chef's jacket is the most relevant and striking clothing piece for a chef.  
The most important task of the jacket is to protect the chef when working, but at the same 
time the jacket must also help to guarantee a hygienic work method. Therefore the chef attaches 
great interest in this clothing piece.
The chef's jacket used to be made from 100% cotton but the downside of this is that cotton
shrinks and wears out quite fast.  Today they use a thinner fabric that is often made from only
35% cotton and 65% polyester.  This composed fabric is more flexible, more durable and is 
easier to iron.  The disadvantage of this composition is that polyester melts.  But thanks to the
cotton this will not occur, although it is advisable to always wear a cotton t-shirt under the
chef's jacket.
The prices for chefs' jackets differ.  Price and quality are partly fixed by the fabric but are also
influenced by the details:  is the chef's jacket finished with a piping?  Does the jacket have a
pen pocket and/or breast pocket?  What kind of closure is used?  A chef's jacket with press-
studs is slightly more expensive, but safer in case of danger, because the jacket can be taken
off faster.  The downside is that the chef's jacket with press-studs cannot always be industrially
washed, the pressing has to be done in a hotbox.
Chefs' jackets used to be oversized and there was no seperate fitting for women.  Nowadays, 
there are tailor-made chefs' jackets specifically for women.  The jacket comes in both short and
long sleeves, but it is the double-breasted design at the front, wich gives the chef an extra
protection layer for the chest area.
Classic or traditional jackets (white or black) are still popular but jackets with shades of grey
are also doing very well.  More and more modern forms and colours are entering the market but
the choice and style usually depends on the type of kitchen.

CHEFS' TROUSERS
The chefs' trousers are manufactured with the same materials used for the production of the
jackets.  Remarkable is that most of the trousers are made from 100% cotton but besides
that they also use the same polyester composition as the one used for the jackets.  There are also
trousers on the market specifically for women.  The difference between the lady trousers and the
male trousers is situated at hip height.
Both the trousers with folds at waist height and the straight trendy trousers are very popular on the
regular market with men developing "a paunch".  In the past people only knew about the traditional
chefs' trousers with squares, but within a couple of years the Jeans pants became more and more
popular, a trouser with a similar shape, cut and finish.  Nowadays, the prints and colours of the 
trousers follow the same trends of those of the chefs' trousers.

APRONS AND CHEFS' HATS
A chef will quite often use an apron as an extra protection layer.  There is not a lot of variation in
fabrics and models but for prints and colours, the choice is endless.  For every specialisation there
is a typical apron.  The most common used apron is a mix of polyester.
The chef's hat comes in a lot of different colours and shapes.  There is of course also a nice offer
of aprons and hats for women.

SECURITY AND HYGIENE
The security norms in a kitchen imply more than just the presence of a fire extinguisher or the
existence of properly adjusted appliances, the outfit of the kitchen staff is equally important.
FIRE RETARDANT:  not so long ago people could purchase chefs' jackets that were treated with a
fire retardant product but both the idea as the fire retardant spray were cancelled.
SLEEVES:  the sleeves should not be longer than the arms and should not be hanging.
CHEF'S SCARF:  the scarf is not intended as a nice gadget but is used for hygienic purposes.  
The scarf has a hygienic function: the perfect absorption of sweat.
SHOES:  high heels should not be used in a kitchen.  The shoes used in a kitchen have to be
comfortable and should protect the feet.
CHEF'S HAT:  a chef's hat is not obligatory, all the more reason to offer a wide range of fashionable
hats so that chef would be more eager to wear a chef's hat.

TRENDS
The chef and his staff are becoming more and more aware of their own "look".  Could it be because
of the fact that they are frequently working in an open kitchen?  Or could it be that men in general
are following the trend of paying more attention to their appearance?  Younger colleagues appearing
on television with their own programm might also influence chefs.  As a result of appearing on 
television programms, they help to create a strong image.
Nowadays, young chefs are trying to get rid of the classic white colour pattern and want to introduce
new colours in the kitchen.  The sector is also being influenced by trends in other sectors such as
the fashion industry, lifestyle, housing and real estate sector.  Natural shades such as sand (beige)
and brown are increasing in popularity.  Furthermore, the baroque prints, wich are used in interior
design, are also frequently used in chefs' clothing.
The extra attention that is spend on certain specialisations within the sector has led to the
introduction of new and specific clothing lines.  By doing so, clients such as pastry chefs will be
able to order their own clothing line and will therefore be able to distinguish themselves from a 
kitchen chef.
Besides jackets and trousers there is also a big and diverse range of hats.  Caps and bandana's
are also very popular among young people.

CUSTOMIZING
Restaurants are usually known for their exquisite kitchen but also the "complete package" of a
restaurant is becoming very important.  The interior should be striking, different, stylish, typical,
inspiring, ... .  All these attributes are linked together.  It is therefore quite logical that a 
restaurant spends a lot of attention on the staffs' cloting.
The fact that the chef pays an important role in the PR of a restaurant makes him an important
advertising sign.  If wanted, you can process not only the logo in the clothes but also order
unique designed models in the colour and logo of the company.

(source:  FoodServices)

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