What is a Valet?

Jeeves, as in ‘Jeeves and Wooster’ by P.G. Wodehouse, was in fact not a Butler per se. Rather he was Bertie Wooster’s Valet, a ‘gentleman’s personal gentleman’. In other words Jeeves focus was solely on the immediate requirements of his employer and not on that of a household.

A Butler, on the other hand, serves a household rather than an individual. That’s not to say that Jeeves was not a Butler too on occasion – remember those country house parties?

So a Valet is a personal Butler as it were. Being so, his principal duties tend to include care of his employer’s wardrobe and immediate personal care on a day to day basis.

The Valet does more than layout his employers clothes he cares for them. After all a wardrobe full of tailored suits, shirts and shoes is quite an investment and deserving of care!

Some of a Valet’s daily duties might consist of selecting an outfit for his employer – suit, shirt, tie, shoes generally and ensuring that all elements of that ensemble are in tip top condition.

So not only would shoes be shined to a mirror finish but shirt, suit and tie would, if necessary, be pressed or ironed. If prepared the day before for the morning shirts, especially should be re-ironed, starched if required and hung on a clothes hanger.

Accessories such as cuff links, pocket handkerchief, watch etc. are checked, as personal items and fall under the Valet’s remit too.

Any Valet worth his salt will take supreme pride in the state of his employer’s wardrobe.

Let’s be clear: the smartest men in the world are Valets and the gentlemen fortunate enough to be able to afford their expertise and dedication.

Accept no substitute. A true Valet, in either a domestic or hotel environment, takes his job seriously. So seriously that, while possibly happy to be seen outside of work in faded jeans and a t-shirt, he would not be seen dead in shoes that were wearing down at the heel or were anything other than buffed to a perfect shine!

Can you see why the term ‘valet parking’ might be regarded as being somewhat insulting to a true Valet?

A Valet will generally check out any gentleman he meets on the quality of his shoe shine. Sound silly to you? OK, but in that case you are not Valet material. But learn a lesson here – it’s even slightly Buddhist – take joy from doing something to the nth degree whatever it is – a shoe shine or the starching of a shirt, cooking a dinner for two or running a bath that is what a Valet does to the nth!

Travel more often than not plays a significant part in the life of a Valet. Whether he accompanies his employer or not it is his responsibility to pack ( and unpack) clothing suitable for the trip. Not only for the duration of said trip but also for the social events that might be encountered and certainly on the geographic location ( local customs, temperature etc.)

Be in no doubt too that there is an art to packing a suitcase, folding clothes correctly and using the correct accoutrements (tissue paper for example). Read our valeting tips for packing a suitcase here.

Quite often the Valet will also book the tickets and make the travel arrangements, car hire, hotel booking and the like. A top Valet will also provide his boss with a travel document listing departure times, flight numbers and all relevant contact numbers. A Valet who does that, and does it well, is a pearl beyond price!

Related posts:

  1. How To Shine (Bull) a Shoe – The Butler Way
  2. Domestic Staff Job Descriptions
  3. Best Shave – Tip Top Shaving Tips

Filed Under: Domestic Staff InfoJob DescriptionsOn The JobValet School

Tags: clothes careJob Descriptionsvaletvalet dutieswhat is a valet

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