I was interested in the "ancient history" of the apron and did some research through antiquity. I found an interesting article featuring an Apron Goddess, Judy Vetrovec, from Fairview district in Oakland, California, which I have provided below. I found a few representative pictures to accompany the text!
Here's a brief rundown of the "Age of Aprons," as compiled by Vetrovec.
The English word "apron" came from "naperon," the old French word for napkin or small tablecloth.
Guess who wore aprons first? Men, as hygienic, protective wear.
Dark-colored aprons started to be worn tied at the waist.
Sixteenth and seventeenth centuries:
Colors denoted the trade of the wearer. English barbers wore a checked pattern; butchers and porters, green; and masons, white.
Romantic notions began to blossom. Your beau is thinking of you if the apron becomes untied and drops off.
The pinafore apron was "pinned" to clothing.
Nineteenth century: Cooks began turning the apron only once before washing. Any more, and the stains aren't hidden.
Long aprons cover and protect clothing.
Straight-line aprons are the style.
Beautiful prints with bright sashes, along with crocheted aprons, make an appearance.
Printed half-aprons tied around the waist, and aprons made of handkerchiefs, are popular. Picture credit to The Apron Queen.
Full-skirted plastic aprons, and ones with cross-stitch designs, gain U.S. popularity.
Half-aprons with attached hand towels are sure-fire hits, along with aprons sewn with plastic hoops or valance material. Picture from Fabrics.net
1970 to present:
Barbecue, anyone? Grilling is a popular design or theme for modern-day aprons.
For Fairview's Judy Vetrovec, the history of aprons is as important as their beauty and practicality.
Article courtesy of c2007 ANG Newspapers.