Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Out of the kitchen and onto the runway.
Though many people still think of an archetypal housewife when they think of aprons, the garments go back much further. In the Middle Ages, monks and nuns frequently wore sleeveless garments called scapulars over sleeved garments, says Daniel James Cole, a professor of fashion history at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. Soldiers also wore apron-style garments over their armor to help reduce glare from the sun, he says. Such coverings gradually migrated into court dress.

In the 19th century, apron-like garments were worn as part of uniforms by servants, and their association with housework and working-class labor endured throughout the 20th century.

Aprons do have historical ties to fashion. Akris, the family owned, Swiss fashion label, was launched as an apron company in 1922. The fashion house continues to draw on that history. Akris designer Albert Kriemler cited the legacy of his grandmother, Alice, in "the minimalist shape of our white double-face sheath," for example.

By the 1970s, women were entering the workplace in larger numbers and cooking less, and the women's-liberation movement saw the apron as a symbol of female oppression. Aprons enjoyed a renaissance about six years ago, with rising interest in home entertainment and gourmet cooking. But these aprons were strictly for the home.


Agnes B. Bullock said...

EVer since my husband and I have been married, he LOVES it when I wear an apron (I usually sport one that covers me from the neck down to just above my knees- like a chef's apron) When we go to Joann's for me to indulge in my pattern fetish, he looks through the pattern books for apron patterns. Mr. B considers aprons to be a very potent simble of femininity, or as he puts it "My wife is wearing her apron"

He will even remind me to put one on, even if for doing dishes!

elena maria vidal said...

I have to wear one in the kitchen because of the messes that I make.

Julygirl said...

In the past people did not launder their clothes as often as we do so it was necessary. It bothers me on the TV cooking shows when the cooking host does not wear an apron. On the cooking shows that feature a professional chef, they always wear an apron.

tubbs said...

LOL, ---flashbacks of the 50's! Holiday family dinners, and the womenfolk in those frilly aprons with theme prints (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter)

Unknown said...

When we were in Italy a few years ago, I bought a manly apron for myself -- a neck-down picture of the Statue of David complete with fig leaf. It's actually kind of fun putting it on, pulling out the copper pots and pans and whipping up a meal.

dontstopvintage said...

I love aprons! One of the few cute kitchen fashion accessories around and mandatory for serious cooks.

I came across 3 super cute vintage aprons recently- although the 3rd- a pink & gray pocketed plaid one, I am keeping for myself! ;)


DontStopVintage on Etsy