Working as a barista at Starbucks can be an unpleasant ordeal for a plethora of reasons. First, there’s the task of scribbling names like Becky and Suzy on dripping venti frappuccinos, only to be ridiculed on the Internet when failing to get the spelling right. Then there’s the issue of pay, which has historically hovered somewhere around $9 an hour. And finally there’s the infamously strict dress-code, forcing employees to wear a never-changing palette of black and khaki every day for eternity.

But last week, certain Starbucks employees received a sliver of hope from CEO Howard Schultz, who pledged to increase their base pay by as much a 5 percent and relax the dress code in an open letter to his “partners.”

Beginning on Monday, Starbucks employees are invited to “make a statement with hair color, so long as coloring is permanent or semi-permanent.​Baristas will also be allowed to sport gray, navy, brown, and patterned shirts moving forward, as well as shorts, skirts, dresses, and, dark-wash jeans.

And while these concessions may seem laughably miniscule to anyone who’s spent time in a casual work environment, considering the fact that Starbucks once made employees cover tattoos with long-sleeve shirts, the move is certainly a step in the right direction.

“Please keep it tidy: clean, brushed and kept back from the face. For food-safety reasons, hair color must be permanent or semipermanent; no sprays, glitter, chalks or temporary products,” the company’s new dress code lookbook reads. “Tie long hair back with plain clips or hairbands to avoid contact with drinks or food. Please keep beards and mustaches neat and trimmed.”

Unfortunately, baristas are also permitted to wear fedoras under the new dress code. Those who prefer to wear their baseball caps backwards, however, will still have to wait for their right to freedom of expression. 

[via Grub Street]