It's that sheet/blanket that they put on you so you don't get covered with hair. Is there a formal name for it?

  • 2
    A sheet. Why do you need a special word? Jun 27, 2014 at 11:29
  • 1
    I'm a Barber. The white strip is called a Sanex strip. It's to protect your neck from the cape.
    – Nick
    May 4, 2017 at 23:34

10 Answers 10


I think you are thinking of a barber's cape. Sometimes you might also hear 'barber's gown'. See this commercial site Salon Lines, for instance.

  • Not the barber's it's the customer's that we are talking about ;) There's no apostrophe there.
    – Kris
    Jun 27, 2014 at 5:22
  • 14
    @Kris - But because it is a component of the barber's professional inventory, it both belongs to, and pertains to, the barber; any customer's connection with it is temporary. The apostrophe is not wrong (though given the generic manner in which barbers or barber's is being used here, nowadays it would not generally be regarded as mandatory either).
    – Erik Kowal
    Jun 27, 2014 at 7:22
  • 6
    @ErikKowal Likewise, the barber's chair doesn't become your chair while you're sitting in it. Jun 27, 2014 at 10:21
  • The cape (styling or chemical) is usually used with a 'neck strip'. appletonbarbersupply.com/store/… Jun 27, 2014 at 11:43
  • 3
    I think the more modern or unisex version of this is a styling cape or a hair cutting cape.
    – JLG
    Jun 27, 2014 at 12:58

There doesn't appear to be a single consistent answer, as shown below.

From a UK supplier, "cutting cape" or "cutting gown", as sold here.

From a USA supplier, "hair cloth", "styling cloth" or "styling cape", as sold here

  • 2
    Terminology not only varies by country, and city but by the status of the salon/barber
    – Third News
    Jun 27, 2014 at 22:28
  • ...and the price of the haircut
    – Stuart F
    Nov 25, 2023 at 8:59

My grandfather was a barber for 72 years, in Alabama and Florida. He called it a barber cloth (not the possessive barber's). This term can be found when ordering this product from Amazon.


I've been a barber for almost 40 yrs. The proper term for this article is a "chair cloth" or less commonly "hair cloth." The term "barber cape" or simply "cape" did not come about until the unisex trend became popular and the distinctions between barbering and cosmetology became blurred. In my shop it remains "chair cloth."


I would call that a cape:

A sleeveless outer garment fastened at the throat and worn hanging over the shoulders.

  • 1
    More specifically, a cutting cape.
    – Kris
    Jun 27, 2014 at 5:24
  • 1
    Seems like it needs a qualifying adjective since, as the definition suggests, a plain cape is worn covering the back, not the front.
    – rschwieb
    Jun 27, 2014 at 13:57
  • If you are going copy out text verbatim, our Help Center says that you must name where you got the original from, and this post fails to do that. Please see the question on meta entitled “What to do about missing source attributions: Copying, Linking, Attributions, and Plagiarism for discussion on this.
    – tchrist
    Jul 7, 2014 at 22:18
  • @tchrist - I completely disagree. My link to the source of the definition, plus a colon, is quite sufficient as far as I'm concerned, especially as the link is to a reputable online dictionary (in other words, it is not a controversial source. Nor is the subject of this posting a controversial one). If a reader is too idle to click on the link, that is up to them.
    – Erik Kowal
    Jul 7, 2014 at 22:55
  • Please post that as an answer to the meta question.
    – tchrist
    Jul 7, 2014 at 22:58

I see it being called a cape, both formally and informally, but it's really a bib. If you wear a cape backwards (so the slit is down the back), it's a bib. When kids are playing Superman, they wear their bibs backwards to make them... a cape!

I think adults just don't want to wear a bib, since that's a baby thing. Unless they're eating Lobster.


My husband started barbering in the 50's and he called it a chair cloth. He did so because his barber book called it that.


I have heard the term "smock" used, without any additional qualifiers.


According to the 1911 barber book by A.B. Moler the answer would be chair cloth, a hair cloth was a strip of cloth used between the neck and the chair cloth as we now use sanek strips. You can call anything whatever you like but the 1911 book is the gold standard for barbering books and is still greatly quoted in every barbering text book that I have seen. My barbering instructor just died in nov of 2017 at the age of 91 with about 75 years under his belt and it was a 'chair cloth' to him.

  • Welcome to ELU. Please note that this is a Q&A site, not a discussion forum. Your post appears to be more of a comment on Joe's answer than a standalone answer in its own right.
    – AndyT
    May 18, 2018 at 9:05

It is called as either apron/gown.

  • 1
    It is certainly not called an apron. It can be called a barber’s gown, but not just a gown. Jun 27, 2014 at 12:22

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