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What Does a Butler Wear?

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

Before I can answer this great question, I would like to briefly explain the profession of the butler and empower you as you begin your new life and career. Once you begin working as a professional butler, you are always a butler, much like a doctor is always a doctor and an attorney is always an attorney.

Being a butler is not only a profession, being a butler is a lifestyle and you are part of a very

long history of butlers. Because at all times you represent the profession and you are a status symbol to your employer, one needs to be mindful of every detail about one's self. Keeping this in mind, now let's answer the question:

What does a butler wear?

While on duty, a butler in the United States typically wears a business suit with a white or pastel-colored shirt, and a colorful or dark business tie. The suit can be any color, depending on the time of day. For example, a butler may wear a light color of grey or tan during the day, or a dark business suit is always in good taste. If choosing a dark suit during the day, it should be a window pane plaid or a dark navy suit with a subtle stripe. A butler always wears a black suit in the evening with a white or pastel shirt and black bow tie. Whether or not to wear cuff links with a French cuff shirt is left to one's own personal preference. Personally, I rarely wear cuff links, not because I don’t like them, but rather because I find them to be a bit fussy. I like to keep my attire simple. I only ever wear a watch, and occasionally cuff links but never both a ring and cuff links. A good rule of thumb is to wear either one or the other, and never more jewelry than this.

Now, the topic of shoes. One should always have good shoes, shoes that are not only comfortable, but always simple and conservative. By day, one's shoes can be dark brown, but always black lace up shoes by

evening. I cannot stress enough the importance of comfortable shoes. A butler is almost always on his or her feet throughout the day, so always wear shoes that are flexible with a solid heel.

Does a butler wear a vest (also called a waistcoat)? Traditionally, a butler does in fact wear a vest. Typically a dark blue or black vest during the day, and traditionally, a red vest in the evening. Having said this, a butler in the United States often does not wear a vest unless specified by one's employer. This fall and into winter, a three-piece suit is in vogue. I feel a vest always delivers a more polished and professional look. However, the choice to wear a vest is entirely up to you.

Keeping in mind your profession as a butler, even in time off, one must always be dressed in neat and clean attire. A casual professional dress code is always in order. Remember, you are representing a very honorable and long-held profession. You will find as you are enjoying a day off or running personal errands on a Saturday morning, the fact that you are a butler often comes up in casual conversation, and what you are wearing will often be judged by people at large, so please be mindful of what you wear and how you look.

At my school, Potter Poppins Academy, I (with a team of professionals) will not only style you, but teach and coach you in all that you will need to know about creating a personal style. We will help you to understand your style and empower you to make choices of polished refinement in all that you wear for all of your life.


Kenneth V. Horne

Potter Poppins Academy is a butler training school in the United States. The Academy, led by esteemed head butler Kenneth V. Horne, offers courses such as Elite Butler Training, Hotel Butler Training, classes for principals new to managing household staff, courses in etiquette and protocol for business professionals, manners courses for children and young adults, and bespoke service consulting.

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