Wednesday, May 22, 2013

This Charming Dame Lesson 5 - Wear an Apron

Kitchen aprons.  Very June Cleaver, I know.

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For the past few decades kitchen aprons have been symbolic of old fashioned patriarchal values and feminists have railed against these ideological symbols of women being confined to the kitchen.  The idea that a woman is only capable of contributing within the home is something that feminists started fighting against in the 1970's, and not surprisingly the kitchen apron fell out of vogue.  It was vilified.  It was the perfect symbol for the role that many men were trying to keep women in.  And the ideal that so many women were fighting against.

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So, what originated as a functional article of clothing turned into a feminist symbol of oppression, of making a woman's role (and subsequent contribution) very clearly defined.  Up until I did some research for this post, I had always referred to myself as a 'soft core feminist', but I hereby reclassify myself.  I realize that what I truly am is a Third-wave feminist.  I do not feel the need to burn my bra since I have a penchant for feminine undergarments.  I do not feel the need to buck old societal conventions of the woman's main contribution being that of a homemaker by not setting foot inside the kitchen since I enjoy cooking and entertaining.  In my mind, reveling in my femininity does not strip away my ability to be a strong, independent woman.  And it does not change my expectation that a woman's body be her own business and that she should be treated (and compensated) as a man would be in the workplace.

Third-wave feminists 'embrace contradictions and conflict, and accommodate diversity and change.'  To me, this means we've finally found a way to have our cake and eat it too.  As women, we have the option to do things that fall within traditional gender roles because they are our choice - not because they are being forced upon us.  So, I chose to wear a fucking apron.  Because A - I feel like it.  And B - it will keep my clothes clean.  Really, what's the dilemma?

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I found a fantastic Huffington Post article that encapsulates the apron issue perfectly - I suggest you take a gander.

So, without the pressure of an apron representing anything sinister, we can now embrace them as a chic, retro way to glam up our time in the kitchen and we can allow ourselves to have fun with them.  And there is definitely no shortage of sites to procure incredibly fashionable, cute, and even sexy kitchen aprons.

Stephanie and I prepping for her 30th Birthday.  How fab are we in our aprons?
The word 'apron' comes from the old French word 'naperon' which meant 'little tablecloth'.  The existence of the kitchen apron can be credited to the fact that women typically did not own many pieces of clothing and laundering these items was incredibly time consuming.  Rather than soil the few articles that you had while cooking or cleaning, it made much more sense to cover them with a large piece of fabric that was cheap, easy to construct, and easier to clean.  Because I am not typically wearing fancy ensembles to make dinner, I tend to forget that I have a few aprons hanging in my hall closet, though I will be making it a point to start  pulling them out on a regular basis.  In case you were curious, these are a few of the aprons I have been neglecting. 

I believe this was the first apron I received as an adult.  This fantastic wine apron was a gift from my mother and I think it's fabulous!
This is the first apron I purchased for myself - Cost Plus World Market always has some fabulous aprons.   They even have matching towels and potholders!

Last, but certainly not least, is this super fancy apron that I received from Stephanie for Christmas two years ago.  Most fabulous apron I've ever seen...have you ever spied one with a broach?  Didn't think so.

The resurgence of the apron in the last few years focuses more on the apron as a fashion statement rather than focusing solely on its functionality.  There is just something special about wearing an apron - you feel more pulled together and like a more legitimate cook (or at least I do).  Because I've found some adorable aprons online, I think I might be ordering a few more - you know, in case I ever have 14 people cooking in my kitchen at the same time.  It could happen!

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Aside from big retailers like Anthropologie, Cost Plus World Market, and Pier 1 Imports, there are many apron retailers that you can find online.  The two aprons below are from Rain Collection and Flirty Aprons respectively.  Click on the photo captions to visit these sites.

buy it here
buy it here
If you want to go a little more retro and purchase hand made aprons, Etsy is overflowing with some amazing aprons right now.  Below are some fabulous ones that I found during a quick peruse.  Click on the photo captions to visit the Etsy shops.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
buy it here
buy it here

buy it here

What do you think Ladies?  Have you jumped onto the Apron Bandwagon?  Do you find that they class up your cooking a bit or are you of the opinion that they emphasize negative gender roles?

Have a lovely evening, I have a pie in the oven that requires my attention!  
(Alright, there's no pie.  But there IS a bottle of wine that isn't going to open itself!)


  1. Perfect post! I love fancy aprons, especially while entertaining. If you are preparing food you might as well look cute! Also for the record, my mom got Avabella the cutest little apron.

    1. Can't wait to see her little apron!