We all know that you never get a chance to make a first impression twice, and it is also true that impressions you make with clients last forever. A client that walks into a salon and sees the help looking like a ragtag bunch with dirty clothes, holey jeans, scrubs covered in hair, holes in jackets, or pants sagging is going to think to themselve, "Man they could at least try to look professional!" or even, "If they cannot take care if themselves, how can they make my dog pretty?".
Most of the time I am wearing what looks like street clothes when clients come in the door and they are all the time telling me that "shes dirty, dont get your clothes dirty!" to which I laugh and say "this is work clothes so its ok!".
The shirt to the left is one that I made myself out of a satin in a zebra print. The mandarin collar is flattering and protects the neck and chest from hair getting into the skin.
The proper clothing, including long sleeves, are critically important to keeping hair splinters from getting into your skin and possibly getting infected.
I had these two items of clothing on people that work in my shop this past week and I had to step in and say, "CHANGE please!" Saggy sweat pants and torn jackets do NOT belong in my shop.
I love the idea of uniforms for staff and do not mind supplying jackets and pants if needed. They do not all have to match but they DO need to be clean and maintained. If it rips, tell me and I can fix it or replace it. If its dirty then wash it. Simple? You would think. Not always true though.
I require a grooming jacket or tops that shed hair (I will cover this in a minute) on everyone that works in here, even my husband wears them when bathing dogs. I prefer nylon pants as well, but am OK with jeans provided they are hole free and fit well. NO SAGGING ALLOWED! I do not mind shorts as long as they are a nice length, but tank tops I frown on because they can be considered less than professional, especially on men. I find the guys that work here all like the "skater" shorts and the girls are usually worried about getting scratched so they wear jeans or pants.
I am not a huge fan of zippered smocks because they are boring and bland. They make everyone look big, and never fit well. I tend to buy tops at stroes that have fun clothes. I can find them at Cato, Ross, TJ Maxx, and many more places for under $25 each. I shop by feel. If it is shiny, satiny or silky, chances are it will repel hair. That allows you to have some style and actually feel pretty when you are working.
Aprons are another way to keep regular clothes looking great while you work and the hair to a minimum. Many of the beauty suplly houses sell fancy or more stylish aprons that the grooming providers have. Wimex has many aprons in all colors and many styles. I have four or five in different styles and colors to keep my clothes clean. This apron is another cute style available. I googled "hair stylist aprons" and found a huge selection of unique, stylish things to wear. I do not reccomend the shoes however for every day grooming wear. Might be hard to walk in across a floor with hair on it!
I love to wear skirts, and can usually wear a simple jersey knit skirt with a top to work in with no problem. When it gets hairy I blow it off with the HV dryer, but there are also aprons you can buy from Wimex Beauty ( Apron )that are skirt cover ups and that works amazingly well. I still feel practical and pretty as well as comfortable.
Jeans and scrubs are practical in many ways and no so practical in others. They are comfortable, easy to find and wear well, lasting a long time. They also stay wet, collect hair and hold odors. Nylon or satin does not collect hair, dries incredibly fast and because it dries quickly it doesn't smell either.
Shoes should be closed toe and non slip. I know that people who work in shops love to wear flip flops and sandals, and so do I, but to keep it safe a proper shoe is critical. Also, a good shoe will make you more comfortable and cause less pain in the feet and legs at the end of a long day grooming. Crocs are great for some people but I cannot wear them. Sneakers are good support but get wet and that's it. I wear Alegria shoes in several styles to work in. they are great and cute to boot! I require my staff to have on good shoes and they can get in trouble if they don't have on shoes that fit the bill.
Overall, a clean, neat appearance is important if you want to be treated as a professional and be respected by your client base. If you are charging a premium for your services it is CRITICAL that you dress the part of a person that is worthy of that price. Remember that the clients perspective is the most important one, and they WILL judge a book by its cover.
Dress for success and it will find you.