I have always loved antique and vintage clothing, so it has been very easy for me to collect a few aprons.
But I want to know the history behind an apron, when it was created, what it was worn for, what the world was like then. Online there isn't much research on aprons, just a fact here and there. So I am trying to compile it all in one place. I am not going to go in depth, mainly just an overview and what characterizes each time frame. A guide to aprons and what was worn when. With, of course lots of pictures for Inspiration!

To Anna
my great-grandmother,
whose apron started it all 

Aprons are essentially a practical item, used to protect ones clothing from daily chores. In years past it was especially important as clothing was not as plentiful and washing was a chore. Over the years women have embellished them, making them both practical and beautiful. Lace, trim, rick-rack, ruffles, bows, pockets, and ribbon have been added.

No one knows when aprons were "invented". I am sure they just came to "be" when someone wrapped a square of cloth around their waist to protect their clothing. From there aprons have evolved into a dozen different shapes and styles. 
Aprons in the last two centuries have come to be associated with women and "woman's work", but aprons are not exclusively woman's wear. Many men have worn aprons in years past as they too needed to protect their clothing from the grime of work.



Originally a "bib" style apron that covered the chest and fastened with pins, hence it's name. Commonly associated with a ruffled apron in the 1900s that little girls wore. It was also popular in the 1940s.

British slang for pinafore or apron.

~Hostess Apron~

A 1950s term for a half apron. Usually of a daintier fabric, i. e. organdy, lace, satin, silk, cotton lawn. Also a term for an apron that was make for "show" and not for actually work. Also called a Cocktail Apron or Party Apron.

 ~Bib ~

The top portion of an apron that covers the chest, usually a simple square.

~Half Apron~

An apron that ties around the waist with no bib. Usually gathered or pleated into a waistband.

~Full Apron~

Used to describe an apron that covers the whole front, not a half apron.
~Princess Apron~

A full apron with bib and skirt cut in one with no waist seam. Very popular in the 1920s and 1930s.


More like a dress, than an apron. Can have sleeves. Popular in the 1930s for painting and gardening.

~Cobbler Apron~

An apron that covers the front and the back, usually straight with ties or buttons at the sides. Popular in the late 1950s and 1960s.

~Chef's Apron~

A traditional apron made in one piece with a straight "skirt" and bib. Goes over the head and ties in back with ties. Also called a Butcher apron.


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