But like most haute couture, we’re not likely to see much of this style on the streets of middle America. Although my daughter did show up at our church potluck last week with her apron on. However, she wasn’t making a fashion statement, she just forgot to take it off on her way out the door.
The humble apron has undergone a fashion evolution of its own over the centuries.
The first aprons were commonly related to various trades and crafts. Butchers, blacksmiths, and barbers wore aprons. Maids, butlers, and other household staff were required to wear an apron as part of their uniform.
In the 18th century, pinafore aprons were part of the costume for children and working women. The pinafore was, literally, pinned to the dress at the shoulders.
For the most part, the apron was strictly a functional item until the 1930s when decorative aprons appeared on the scene. In the 1950s, as the advertising age glamorized and homogenized the role of the housewife, aprons became as much a symbol of the happy homemaker as June Cleaver’s pearls and heels.
It’s no surprise then, with the rise of feminism in the 1960s, the apron went the way of the bra. From the 1960s through the 1980s the only aprons around tended to be aimed at men wielding barbecue tools, or kitchsy aprons boasting cheeky statements like “Kiss the Cook.” Receiving an apron for a birthday or Christmas was more of a gag gift than a legitimate present. (My own “Kiss the Cook” apron was included with my bridal shower gifts… in the lingerie.)
In the past decade or so, aprons have enjoyed a resurgence of popularity. Much like the aprons of the ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s today’s aprons come in every color, pattern, style, and shape imaginable. For today’s woman (or man) the choice of an apron can be an adventure in self-expression.
Do you have a favorite apron in your current selection? Why is it your favorite?
My favorite is an over-the-head denim job I picked at a thrift store. No pockets, very plain and simple heavy blue denim. I love it because it doesn’t show stains, it fits (I don’t have to tie the neck loop in a knot to make it short enough) and it actually blocks spills from getting through to my clothes. It’s utilitarian, practical, efficient… boring! I hate to admit this, but it describes my work in the kitchen for the last two decades of child-rearing. I think it’s time for a change… tune in Friday!
Meanwhile, check out some of the following sites for fun apron inspiration.