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The Latest Food Trend is Fashion: How a Chef Brought Style Into Her Kitchen

Picture of India Doyle
Updated: 23 February 2017

New brand PolkaPants has harnessed the fever surrounding food, acknowledging that as more and more dynamic, stylish women turn their vision to food, the old, baggy garments on offer are no longer going to cut it in the kitchen.

As anyone who has ever had the pleasure of working in the service industry knows, restaurants are hardly a hotbed of style. Clothes in this arena have always been considered a protective rather than creative medium, designed to guard against, as Stephanie Danler puts it in Sweet Bitter, “beer stains on your shirt, grease stains on your jeans, stains in every form.

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Australian-born, London-based chef Maxine Thompson is on a mission to change all that. ‘I found myself frustrated at the unbecoming trousers I and my fellow female cooks had to wear, and so I began sketching my ideal pair – designed for functionality and comfort, but also for style,’ she says.

Having started with a polka dot design, the label has just announced its fourth version of the simple silhouette. The ‘Carême White’ style references Marie Antoine (Antonin) Carême, an originator of grand cuisine.


To mark the launch of the new line, a new photography book The Butcher, Baker and Knife Maker is also being released, celebrating women who work in the food business.

While these trousers might not rival high fashion for sartorial kudos, they have undoubtedly reimagined the working wardrobe for culinary creatives.