The Best Aprons for Men, Women, Chefs and BBQ
Aprons have been around for centuries, protecting clothing underneath from dirt, debris, food, liquids, excessive heat, and more. From European blacksmiths, armor and weapon makers, carvers, fishmongers, and masons during the Middle Ages to current day homemakers, foodies, professional chefs, restaurant and backyard barbeque cooks, workers, and artists, all have worn and depended on the ever-important tie-on protection garment as it offers the sense of preparing them mentally and physically for the task at hand.
Dating back to examples of ancient ceremonial aprons of the gods, the durable fabric cover was functional for those in the Victorian age to Native Indians and Pilgrims, morphing into loose, long garments for home use to protective smocks with hefty pockets for workmen. After the postwar archetypal housewife made aprons out of remnants, extra kitchen curtains, dish towels, or used flour sacks, they now have become statements of creativity and beauty adorned with fanciful applications, themed-designs, and female and masculine focuses.
Today, the plethora uses of the everyday apron has become common yet personified at home, in the workplace, and at restaurants. Both men and women ceremonially hang their beloved strapped cloth around their neck, tie the back securely, and approach their tasks effortlessly, knowing they and their underclothing are well protected.
The best application for this garment is no longer simply wearing it to keep clean white clothes from being splattered by spaghetti sauce while slaving over a hot pot on the stove, but it can be used by the professional chef at a high-end dining establishment, a line-cook flipping burgers at a fast food chain, or a competitor in a neighborhood chili cook-out contest. Also, it still is widely used by the woodworker, mechanic, welder, gardener, artist, and lineman, demanding it to be complete with deep pockets to hold the tools of their trade.
Types of Aprons
With so many options of apron styles, here are several different forms depending on the desired purpose used by men and women:
Standard Apron: This practical garment is usually held in place by two ribbon-like strips of cloth that are tied at the back. Using a minimal amount of fabric, they are the easiest to wear since there is little obstruction and ease of movement as they usually cover the front waist to knee area only.
Bib Apron: Also known as the French chef’s apron or BBQ apron, this common design has a bib-like covering over the chest area with a loop or ties that slip over the neck and dual straps to secure at the back. It was especially popular in old times for tradesmen and people in low-economic classes. These now are easily available in a multitude of colors, patterns, and fabrications and ardently favored by both sexes.
Pinafore: Worn mainly by women and girls, this is a full apron with two holes for the arms with ties or buttons in the back. With a complete front for total protection, they are making a come-back today for young children during arts and crafts, school projects, and learning-to-cook time.
Tabard: Also known as a cobbler apron, this type covers the front and back of the body and is fastened by side ties or waistband straps. Nowadays they are used in bakeries, hospitals, and some large retail stores. Originally, they were typically made of leather. The vest-like design was commonly sold for domestic, not occupational, use.
Bungalow Apron: Worn mainly for women’s at-home clothing, these are extremely simple garments, often with kimono sleeves. Popular in the early 1900s, they were also known as patio dresses or loungers. Unlike the other types, they are meant to be worn as stand-alone clothing.
Ancient Ceremonial Apron: Rarely used anymore, these were designed specifically for a religious sect for wearing during ceremonies. Usually black in color, they were more symbolic than practical.
The Many Uses of Apron
Current trends have turn handmade and sports-themed aprons to eclectic one-of-a-kind fashion items that are demanded at high premiums. Stylish aprons are worn, shown off, and envied at cooking and art classes, special events, and family get-togethers, and casual engagements. Personalized aprons for the favorite cook, best mom or dad, or greatest chef are often deeply cherished by the owner.
Here is a great example of one:
- Built with solid brass rivets and grommets. Double stitched pockets for high functionality and durability. Highly stylish with a high end look that will make you feel like one of the pros. the apron has two large pockets in the front bottom with “Kangaroo” style hand pockets just above. A strategically placed towel loop is available on the right hip side. Chest pocket big enough to hold your Cell phone.
- The extra long straps along with a buckle for quick release allows for a wide range of sizing. The apron measures at 27 inches wide x 34 inches tall, covering size adjustments of up to Men’s XXL. Will accommodate up to a 50 inch waist, recommended height is 5′ 2″ or taller.
- This kitchen apron offers a one of a kind feature; equipped with a unique headphones loop. Combine your passion for cooking (or make cooking more tolerable) along with your love for music and books. This special loop prevents your headphones from getting in the way of your cooking by preventing any possible interference and makes it so much more FUN to cook.
While most aprons are made of one-hundred percent cotton, a cotton blend, or classic blue denim for home and cooking uses, some are made of vinyl and insulated to protect from liquids, chemical spills, or heat when working. Others that are made of heavy-duty waterproof canvas or leather are for durable work or play use. Some feminine aprons may include lace, cording, or embroidered appliques, yet manly ones may have added grommets, clasps, or vintage brass metal hardware. Patterns can vary from solids, stripes, and gingham to floral, fantasy, and fun designs. Fashions may have sewn-in single, double, or extra pockets, hanging loops, snap-on straps, and vertical/horizontal midsections with split leg seams for greater movability.
Here is a great example of one:
- Hand made and crafted from 16 oz waxed canvas. Cross back padded shoulder straps will end neck pains. Built with solid brass rivets and grommets. Double stitched pockets for high functionality and durability. Highly durable and will endure a lot of abuse. Whether its cooking in your kitchen or wood working, it’s built to last.
- The apron has two large pockets in the front bottom with “Kangaroo” style hand pockets just above. A strategically placed tool loop is available on the right and left hip side. Perfect for tools like hammers, measuring tape, etc. Chest pocket big enough to hold your Cell phone plus a pencil pocket.
- Tired of clenching your nails and screws between your teeth while working? with the magnetic pocket you won’t need to; a carefully sewn magnet inside the chest pocket will enable you to simply attach them to your pocket hassle free.
- Built to withstand the toughest workshops, kitchens and manual labor. Hand made from 16 oz waxed canvas, which is strong and flexible.
How to Clean and Care for Your Apron
Care and cleaning of aprons made of the thinner fabrics are generally carefree, usually by machine washing and putting in the dryer, yet the wax cotton or burlap canvas and leather type aprons may need professional attention so they last longer as they wear and tear, becoming an integral comfortable part of the wearer.
Taking Care of and Maintaining Your Waxed Canvas Apron
Regular cleaning will make your apron look top notch and will also remove any materials that can cause premature wear. Keep stains away by properly caring for your garment.
Here is what you SHOULDN’T do:
- DO NOT machine wash.
- DO NOT machine dry or tumble dry.
- DO NOT clean with warm or hot water/detergents/solvents or bleach.
- DO NOT dry clean.
- DO NOT scrub aggressively.
Here is what you SHOULD do:
- First, remove any dirt, saw dust, grit or any other material by brushing or shaking it away.
- Apply COLD water ONLY using a hose or a sponge.
- Soak the apron using cold water and castile soap and gently rub any tough spots.
- Make sure to rinse out any remaining soap.
- HAND DRY in a warm room for 24 hours. Best to avoid direct sunlight.
It is not necessary to rewax but it is highly recommended when you see that the wax finish coating has been damaged. The areas where the wax has been worn out will appear lighter than the rest of the apron. Rewaxing can also be called refinishing:
- Apron should be clean and dry.
- Lay apron on a table or any other smooth straight surface.
- Use fabric wax.
- Use a brush to apply the wax. Apply it sparingly and evenly for a uniform appearance.
- Use circular motions.
- Heat the applied wax with a hair dryer.
- Apply more wax on tough areas (like seams and pockets).
- Dry in a well ventilated area and wipe off any excess wax.
In today’s society, aprons can be practical, fashionable, and sentimental, or all three. No longer are they akin to a feminine garment to wear while cleaning or cooking in the home or to wear while cutting, curling, and styling hair or putting on makeup, but now men also can freely bake, grill, or barbeque to their hearts content without being self-conscious or looking out of style.
Whether you are a casual kitchen cook who is wearing your favorite dress, shirt, or pair of business slacks to prepare a meal, a pit master in a barbeque or chili contest, a retired woodcarver designing a rocking chair for an upcoming grandchild, or an auto mechanic that needs handy pockets nearby for nuts and bolts, once you put on your preferred apron, you have the satisfaction and gratification that you and your clothing underneath will be protected.