The double breasted jacket can be reversed to hide stains. Its thick cotton cloth protects from the heat of stove and oven and protects from splattering of boiling liquids. Traditionally knotted cloth buttons were used because they could stand up to the frequent washing and survive contact with hot items without melting.
The hound's tooth checked pattern frequent on trousers serves to camouflage minor stains. The use of white for other pieces of clothing, especially by highly visible head chefs, is intended to denote cleanliness.
An apron is an obviously useful piece of equipment used to shield the rest of the wearer's garments from food splatters and stains.
The toque (chef's hat) dates back to the 16th century when hats were common in many trades. Different heights of hats indicate rank within a kitchen. The symbolism of the 100 folds of the toque are said to represent the many different ways a chef knows to cook an egg.
Some modern chefs have put their own distinct spin on the traditional uniform. Color, pattern and design changes all contribute to the unique personality of these chefs. But the traditional, practical, clothing of the chef still remains a standard in the food industry.