Tailored Uniforms – The Mechanics of Chef Jackets

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We can sometimes consider the parameters of what we consider tailoring to be limited purely to the world of expensive bespoke business suits and formal wear. But look into the development of the clothing of kitchen staff, both historically, we can see a great deal of significance behind the outfits design and presentation, as well as several different tailoring techniques being carried out.

The chef’s jacket is known as a ‘white’ for a reason. It has traditionally been white in colour. Though at the time, this was for the purpose of communicating the cleanliness of a restaurant’s kitchen in a time when severely unhygienic kitchens were commonplace, it has come to be a stylistic mainstay of the chef’s clothing. More of the stylistic choices of the appearance of the chef’s jacket can be explained by necessity and importantly the need to create an impression of cleanliness, even if this was a misleading one in the kitchens of 19th Century Europe where the style developed.

The Double Breasted Chef Jacket

The double breasted look of the chef jackets that we recognise today, like these Chef Jackets, comes from the desire to be able to re-button a jacket with one layer over the top of the other. This allowed for spills to be covered up by the top layer of fabric and the pristine impression was maintained. This is a look that many suit jackets today carry, although part of this is believed to have derived from the military tradition of double breasted jackets. It’s also in part because double breasted jackets offer better insulation against the wind and can fasten in closer around the body.

Fitted Chef Jackets

More modern suit jackets have a slimmer of more fitted tailoring. Interestingly this is also true of Chef’s Jackets. Especially for women working in kitchens, the fitted and slimmer fit of jacket is considered more flattering than the unisex fit. This look is achieved using tailoring techniques such as constructing the jacket from several different panels. These can be shaped more responsively to the human shape, with loose fabric being brought in at the seems. This avoids the bin bag look of larger fitting garments, when fewer individual panels lead to a lot of spare fabric and a lack of shape in the jacket.

Tailoring techniques are used to create the shape of a garment, whether its a smart piece of formal wear, or a practical piece of work wear. If shape and control of fabric are needed, a tailor won’t be far away.

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