The Apron, Then and Now

The Apron Then and Now

by guest blogger Toni Becker, member of the Rodale’s editorial team

A good apron is like a best friend—it offers comfort, support, and covers you in a pinch. That’s why people have been relying on both for centuries.

The Early Days

Some trace the apron back to Adam and Eve, while others point to Egyptian paintings, which depict a triangular-style covering over clothing. Regardless of interpretation, it’s clear from medieval and Renaissance-era paintings that the apron we all know has been around for a long time. Aprons were born out of necessity—wardrobes were scant and washing laborious—and made of leftover fabric. They were popular in Europe for laborers, artisans, and tradespeople, and eventually became more decorative. Little girls wore pinafores to preserve their dresses.

Though Native Americans used aprons, when you think of early American versions you likely envision Puritan women in long stark-white styles. These too evolved as the U.S. did, turning into full/bib styles during Revolutionary times and becoming more decorative with delicate stitching during Victorian days.

In the 20th century, in post-war America, the apron became a symbol of the happy home. It got shorter and was adorned with frills and lace and fun sayings. For many of us, the apron conjures wonderful memories of our mothers and grandmothers in the kitchen.

Modern Use

In today’s world, the apron is just as relevant—perhaps even more so than in past decades. We cook, bake, craft, garden, and on some days, do all of the above. We do and want it all. Our aprons should be practical, comfortable, and sustainable.

At Rodale’s, we have aprons to meet all your needs:

– If you’re planning a day in the kitchen, this traditional Mennonite apron is the perfect helping hand. Honoring centuries of experience and passed-down Mennonite tradition, Ida hand-sews each organic-cotton apron at her home on an organic dairy farm in Eastern Pennsylvania. It rests on the shoulders, has two large pockets, and includes an adjustable-tie waist. Her traditional design has been tested by generations and has all the features found to work best in the kitchen and around the farm.

– The classic linen half apron, with its two handy front pockets and an adjustable tie, or the linen full apron, which slips over the head and features a front pocket, also make great kitchen companions.

– When you need a lot of coverage—crafting, painting, or serious baking—this linen pinafore apron offers a roomy, comfortable fit and two deep pockets. Based on a Japanese style, it rests on the shoulders and crosses at the back. It also looks great!

– For ample coverage in a half apron, the linen garçon apron is 35.4″ x 31.9″, has deep pockets, and can be tied in front, making it easy to get on and off.

– Gardeners will have plenty of room to stow tools, veggies, fruits, or herbs in the large pocket foraging apron, made of hemp and organic cotton.

– The 8-pocket linen apron is the perfect Santa’s helper: Stash scissors, bows, gift labels, and more in one of its many pockets.

– If versatility is what you’re looking for, the no-tie modern apron is the right choice. Similar in style to Japanese aprons, this one’s organic cotton and hemp and is meant to rest on the shoulders. It’s string free and easy to slide on and off, and it’s colored with low-impact dyes. To avoid wasting fabric, the arm cutouts have been used to make the pockets.

– The linen daily apron offers a whole lot of style as you zip around the kitchen. Made with 100% linen in a classic bib style, it features a large roomy pocket and gently slips on over your head (no ties).

There’s no telling what the next generation of the apron will be, but you can be sure that when it comes to the best in style, fabrics, smart construction, and usability, we will bring it to you!

Becker-HeadshotToni Becker is a part-time content creator at Rodale’s. She is also the personal chef, event planner, chauffeur, and best of all playmate to her young daughter. Her family of three lives in the woods where she finds time to write, cook anything she can from scratch, garden, and build her case of why she needs goats.




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2 Responses to The Apron, Then and Now

  1. Alice Green November 14, 2015 at 7:16 pm #

    Thank you for this article. It made me remember my favorite Grandmother who with my Grandfather ran an old fashioned General Store up in the mountains in Buffao Creek, CO. We only got to visit with them once or twice a year, but I spent every minute of the visit with her. She wore two different aprons. One was a heavy duty type that covered her whole body – to keep her clothes clean while working in the store, of course, and the other was a more flowered one for home when she cooked. But other then at Church, I can’t remember her ever not wearing an apron. I keep old pictures of her and my other Grandparents (including my Great Grandparents) out in my living room, so that I can look at them each day and let them know that I won’t ever forget them. And when I look out at the snow covered Colorado Rocky Mountains, I hope they are still enjoying the view the same as I am.

  2. Velmrugan June 21, 2021 at 11:30 am #

    I am home texteils iaden

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