Articles > Business > What Would You Do: Does Professional Salon Attire Still Exist?
Last updated: April 29, 2022

What Would You Do: Does Professional Salon Attire Still Exist?

BTC What Would You Do WWYD Does Professional Salon Attire Still Exist How To Dress Behind The Chair Advice BTC Community
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Advice From The BTC Community On How To Dress Behind The Chair

Choosing an outfit for the day is always a battle between wanting to be comfortable and trendy yet professional, which is why most stylists swear by the dress code of black on black. But one stylist recently switched to a salon suite where there are no more strict dress codes. She wants to dress more like herself but is afraid of coming across as unprofessional, begging the question: Is truly appropriate salon attire a thing? Of course, we posed the question to the BTC community to get their take on how to dress behind the chair. Keep reading to see what they said!


“Hi! I was looking for advice on salon attire. I have been in the industry for 8 years—not including school—and I still struggle with choosing outfits confidently. My clientele really took off when I stopped wearing pants/tops (probably because I was always uncomfortable in them), but I have a hard time stepping into truly trendy clothing. I see other stylists rock shorts and jeans with rips, beautiful tops with open backs, sleeveless and even gorgeous bracelets. My last salon I spent more than 5 years at wouldn’t allow us to wear anything shorter than Bermudas and discouraged anything sleeveless or too ‘hip.’ My salon owner before that encouraged my 19-year-old self to dress like a very conservative 59-year-old. Before that was all black, all covered school attire. Now I’m in a salon suite with no rules for the past year and have maintained and grown my salon by being myself, but I’m afraid to dress how I really want to! I guess my real question is: Is there a truly appropriate ‘salon attire’ besides not having your bits and pieces hanging out? The industry seems so different from 10 years ago when it was black and covered or bust. My clients say they like me to introduce them to trends, but I also do not want to be unprofessional.” 


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General Rules To Be Aware Of + Outfit Inspo


BTC What Would You Do WWYD Does Professional Salon Attire Still Exist How To Dress Behind The Chair Advice BTC Community


“NO T*TS, NO PITS, NO A**, NO GUT. If you’re in great shape or are classy as f**k about it, you can show no more than one of these areas. Wear clothes that are your size and won’t make people feel uncomfortable. If you’re questioning it, do not wear it. Your salon may be too uncomfortable to say/do anything but your guest retention numbers will show the true feeling about your appearance. I know that my only areas to show off are my t*ts and tattoos. I won’t show both because I’m not in a nightclub. You’ll also push away clients who appreciate professionalism. When in doubt, wear dress pants, a dress shirt and close-toed shoes. Don’t get me started on people’s feet. It’s not a beach or a nightclub, it’s a work place. That’s it.” – @iamginabianca


“I dress in nice dress slacks, skirts, flowy pants and simple tops in mostly black and, at times, a pop of color. If I wear jeans—and it is rare—I wear a dressier shoe and a blazer. I never, ever wear leggings unless they are leather or detailed with side zippers or a stripe. They can’t look like workout pants. My prices are high and my clients need to see that I charge my worth. I want them to feel important that I dress for them.” – @heatherfiedler_


“When you look in the mirror, if you ask yourself, ‘Is this appropriate?’ that is your way of telling you that it is not.” – @ivanzoot




“When I started my apprenticeship in 1984 in Edinburgh, the teacher said to always be dressed to go out for a cocktail but never to the disco. Only show one area of skin—legs out in shorts or a skirt and then cover up arms and cleavage. Look classy and sassy.” – @sharonloveshair


“I’m very happy to work in two salons with a ‘Please cover your private parts’ dress code. No boobs, bellies, or butts. My style ranges from super casual jeans and tops to dresses and red carpet makeup. I’m glad I can dress for the mood I’m in, and my clients LOVE my versatile style. They know they’re in good hands because literally no one feels like dressing to the nines daily.” – Stevie Leigh Crutcher


“Dress for your target market! If your clientele is older, dress like they would—conservative and professional. If your clientele is vivids, you can dress edgy with ripped clothes. If your clientele is college girls, dress trendy! Determine the clients that you want in your chair and dress like them!” – @paintedbymk


“First off, I’m 58 years old and a previous salon owner. Second, buy a full length mirror (it’s amazing how many people do not own one!). I told my operators to dress professionally. Look the part—you’re a beauty consultant, you’re not going to the beach or pool or out dancing. You’re WORKING. If you look like you just rolled out of bed, you’re too casual. Look in the mirror and feel good about how you look. Generally speaking most clients aren’t comfortable when they see too much of you. If you’re wearing a low cut shirt/skirt, bend over in front of a mirror BEFORE you leave home. (This has been a problem more than once! I had to tell someone to go home because her hooch was hanging out when she bent over.) That’s my 2 cents.” – Janine Oles Edmondson


“Great question! Hair is part of the fashion industry! Clients want to be inspired by their stylist. Professional and hip is my jam. Dress so that you feel awesome and inspired. Showcase who you are! That said, professional attracts the money people. No t*ts, limit pits, legs for days if you got ’em (They’re below the chair). Never smoke at work. Never eat onions or garlic for lunch. And good hygiene is mega important. Comfort is key. Twenty years in and I can’t wear my heels anymore so I got super cute, hip flats and sneakers. Be real. Be you. Feel good.” – @audacitystylebar


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Don’t Be Afraid To Express Yourself


BTC What Would You Do WWYD Does Professional Salon Attire Still Exist How To Dress Behind The Chair Advice BTC Community


“Dress how YOU want and feel comfortable, especially if you are in your own suite. This industry is fashion-based and believe me, clients probably LOVE your style. And if they don’t, it shouldn’t get in the way of your ability to do good hair! I have teenage clients all the way to grandma clients and all of them love my style! I do always make sure to fix my hair and wear makeup but my clothes go from leopard rompers to ripped jeans and rock band t-shirts and everyone loves it regardless of their age, profession or race. Do you girl! You’re not going to work well if you aren’t comfortable!” – @jackieeves


“When you’re comfortable, it makes your client feel comfortable so just be yourself and wear whatever you feel. If someone asked me what someone was wearing I wouldn’t be able to answer them lol. It’s about the person, not the clothes and what’s so great is that anything goes! So do you!” – @tampa_mane_fix


“I think the biggest thing is that the hair should be rad! I change my hair a lot and my clients always say they can’t wait to see what it’s like when they come back in 6 weeks. As for style, not everyone should follow trends. Not everything that’s trendy looks good on everyone. Wear what makes you look and feel awesome! I mean, I love me a crop top but I’m 42—that ship has sailed. Of course, don’t dress like a slob. Just stay true to who you are.” – Torri Folchi Swindells


“My clients love my wacky wardrobe! I wear anything from tie-dye to camouflage and combat boots! You’ll be more comfortable wearing what you’re comfortable in and your work will benefit! And our aprons usually cover a lot up anyway. I really disliked working for others and having a dress code. We are ARTISTS! The one thing I do agree with though with most salon dress codes is CLOSED-TOE SHOES! Lesson learned after a hair sliver! Ouch!” – Theresa Pfaffle Thompson


“I think just do you. We work in a creative, ARTISTIC industry. I definitely have my own ‘look’ and my clients LOVE it. Even ripped jeans can be dressed right up with some cool high tops and a shirt. I’m really into semi-sheer shirts at the moment, for example. I just make sure my nips are covered. The ONLY rule I’ve ever followed—and it’s more for males—but no singlets or tank tops ever! No one wants a hairy pit in their face while getting washed lol. So yeah. Just do YOUR style. It does wonders for confidence that we get to dress up every day. Hope that helps.” – @wadeontweed


“Honestly as long as you’re comfortable, your energy will attract others! Choose things that make YOU feel good without showing a ton of skin or going all 180 on them. Customers enjoy the atmosphere more when you are lively and comfortable.” – Carla Silva Covarrubias 


“Personally my style attracts my clients. If someone gets a vibe from you, that can help them to understand you as well! I love that I have the ability to dress the way I want. Always want to look professional but can def be myself.” – @lizzyveebb


“You can never go wrong with all black clothing, but if your salon lets you have the freedom to wear absolutely whatever, I say express yourself freely! I think stylists have an AMAZING sense of style!” – @beccahairpainting


All Black Clothing, All Day Long


BTC What Would You Do WWYD Does Professional Salon Attire Still Exist How To Dress Behind The Chair Advice BTC Community


“I’m all black all the way. I prefer for my client to be the visual focus when we look in the mirror together. Plus, it’s easy and stain-free.” – @adamthehair


“I choose to wear all black in my salon because I am a colorist. I like having a solid background behind my guest so I can truly see what I am working with and doing. Plus, it looks professional AND if I get bleach on it…SHARPIE!” – Tielle McGuire


“We only wear black in our salon which I’m totally okay with because it’s not easy to ruin when busy with color, but WHAT we wear isn’t an issue. We can wear shorts, skirts, jeans, boob tubes, strappy sleeves, even show off a little tummy if we are comfortable to do so as long as we still look respectful. We all look super trendy plus professional all in black!” – @chezzathomas


“All black everything.” – @daimonscorza


“The salon I finished my training in, they all used to wear black but black anything. Even a black tutu if you liked! The first time I walked into the salon, I remember thinking how classy and cool it looked. When I had my own salon we carried it on. Dark colors—you could mix up the black with something that was black but with other colors. I always used to like my girls and guys to have made an effort to work and look professional. It never sat well with me if someone looked unkept or just rolled out of bed. We were meant to look at this person for a little inspiration, so I always think a little effort needs to be made. It is the beauty industry after all. I love how hairdressera have no actual ‘uniform.’ It’s how you feel that day, which is cool and obviously you can have your hair as crazy or as plain as you like because you can.” – Siobhán Wood


“Black shirt, black skirt or jumpsuit, black stockings, black docs and red lips! I wear my apron to look professional and keep myself hair free. Hope that helps.” – @leisa.hairartist


“All black everyday. But to add my own style, I wear my fitted pencil skirts, blouses with ruffles or something that adds a bit more pizazz. I like feminine and fitted clothing, but I wear my apron over all my clothes anyway.” – @samidoeshair


“I used to dress how I felt the most comfortable but switched to mainly black because I kept ruining good clothes with color. I love not having to be checking myself every time somebody is getting a color. I could be miles away and still end up with some black tint on my brand new shirt.” – Johanna Filpo


“I have been in this industry since 1971. Black is the color to go for. I wear black leggings and a black t-shirt always! Also, that old-fashioned black cover up. This is the most professional way to go! Trust me.” – Mariellen Guglielmi


“When you wear black, your guest takes center stage and stands out. More importantly, it’s about how you make your guest feel. I believe that wearing mostly black, while still being trendy, a killer pair of shoes (after all, your guest sees your shoes for half of the service), a beautiful smile, confidence and a conversation filled with education, product knowledge and your guest’s life is the best way to go. Be you, be professional and don’t save your best outfits for the weekend. Wear them everyday and put on a fresh face. Get good sleep and eat well—it shows and we have more stamina throughout our day. Believe in your work, believe in yourself and don’t compare yourself to those around you. Be the best you you know how to be and when you know to do better, than be better! You got this and the fact that you are asking this question means that you care about your guests. Keep doing you.” – @c.morganhair



Here’s What Clients Have To Say


BTC What Would You Do WWYD Does Professional Salon Attire Still Exist How To Dress Behind The Chair Advice BTC Community


“From a client perspective, I personally LOVE when my stylist is portraying her true self. When she looks good, she feels confident. That in itself makes it easier for me to trust my stylist and have confidence that I can walk out looking amazing. My stylist is booked out months in advance. She caters to young and old. If someone does not ‘mix’ with her, there are other stylists in the shop that are glad to have them that may mix better. Do you!” – @northwoods_nest


“I would say that, as a client in the chair, no short sleeve shirts. I hate having your armpit in my face while you’re styling my hair.” – @oldbirdoldbat


“Just don’t have cigarette breath in my face and we’re golden! Love to see what the stylists are wearing!” – @ladyletton


“My stylist could be wearing a little league chest protector and a**less chaps for all I care. As long as they can get at these grays and blonde me out, we’re cool.” – @vickievale_wayne


“I’m not a stylist but a client and the last thing I care about is what my stylist is wearing. As long as they are working magic on my head, I am good! I want them to be confident and comfortable!” – @oznanomous 



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