Ever wondered why all of the Starbucks baristas wear green? We’ve got the answer.

By Maddy Sims
Updated July 21, 2017

There are some things you know to be certain, and one of them is that, without fail, if you walk into the nearest Starbucks, you’ll be greeted by a barista wearing a green apron. But there’s actually a story behind those signature smocks, and it all goes back to the very beginning of the chain.

The aprons date back to 1971, when the first Starbucks store opened. Baristas sported simple brown grocer’s smocks that matched the original logo and the coffee they were working with. But in 1987, the chain had a little bit of a makeover.

Inspired by Italian coffeehouses, the store began serving handcrafted coffee and espresso beverages and playing instrumental classical and jazz music over the speakers. The change also affected Starbucks’ dress code in an attempt to be more like their Italian counterparts. Baristas were required to wear green aprons with crisp white shirts and a black bow.When the company became public in 1992, the dress code relaxed and the music changed to an up-tempo mix of artists, but the green apron—with an updated logo—stayed the same. And it’s remained that way since its introduction.

Throughout the years, there have been other colored aprons announced for special occasions. Black ones for partners certified in coffee knowledge, red ones for partners who were sampling Christmas blend or stocking merchandise, orange ones to celebrate King’s Day in the Netherlands, pale blue ones to announce Frappuccino happy hour, and purple ones for barista champions.