Many of us cook, bake, and barbecue in our everyday clothes, without giving much thought to what we’re wearing. Rather than subject our blouses, shirts, and T-shirts to food and grease stains, let’s consider some ideas for kitchen apparel that combines fashion and fun with hands-on food preparation.
With the rise of the women’s movement in the 1960’s, aprons fell out of favor. In recent years they’ve made a comeback, due in part to the rise of cooking shows, and the demand for wholesome meals made from scratch.
Younger women are taking an interest in vintage-style, and many fashionable boutiques are featuring aprons with colorful, curvy designs, sophisticated prints, and combinations of materials with unusual decorations. Some are actually fitted dresses worn over regular dresses, and others are made with vintage linens, frilly chiffon, and delicate crinoline. Definitely not your grandmother’s apron!
There are fashionable aprons for every occasion. The more sophisticated and elegant aprons are usually worn when hosting a party and serving cocktails that you would never want to use for wiping your buttery hands. Then there are the more functional aprons you’d wear in the kitchen for hand wiping.
When it comes to styles for the home kitchen, good choices are the bib, waist, and bistro aprons.
Bib aprons (also called chefs’ aprons) cover the chest, with some ending near the knee. They also have the following options:
- Lengths — full, three-quarter, half
- Straps — shoulder, cross-back with suspenders, or clasp
- Neck — straight, scoop, or V-neck
- Ties — regular, or extra-long to allow securing at the front
- Pockets — 0-3, different configurations
- Skirts — straight, full, or ruffled
- Colors — wide selection of solid, patterns, stripes, or polka dots
- Materials — cotton, poly/cotton blend, denim, heavy cotton twill, linen, linen/cotton blend, 100% spun polyester, or poly/cotton twill blend
The bib aprons encompass ultrafeminine, feminine, and practical modern and vintage styles that would look great in any kitchen. The longer, straight styles are also appropriate for men, and many wear a cross-back bib apron with suspenders. The longer bib apron is ideal for barbecuing, protecting the chest and legs from any splashes and spatters.
Historically, these aprons were worn by French bistro waiters, and today are popular with wait staff in the hospitality industry. They’re also appropriate for the home kitchen, the style being suitable for both men and women. Bistro aprons do not provide upper body coverage against food stains, but they do protect the legs, and are available in full, three-quarter, and half lengths. The bistro apron is preferred by those who feel restricted by the neck or shoulder straps on the bib aprons.
Bistro apron options are similar to those of bib aprons. They’re often a cotton or polyester and cotton blend, with different pocket configurations and pocket numbers (0-3). Some have longer ties for wrapping around and securing at the front. There are a variety of colors to choose from, including two-colored aprons, striped, and aprons with colored ties that add some pop. The styles are usually straight, split leg, reversible, and 4-way (a 4-way design enables you to refold the apron several times, each time creating a new place to wipe your hands).
Waist aprons are shorter and more lightweight. They don’t protect as much of your clothing, but some people prefer their greater freedom of movement. As with the other types of aprons, they’re usually available in cotton, denim, and polyester/cotton blends in a wide range of colors. There’s a choice of long or regular length ties and pocket numbers (some even have 6). A few of the styles include square waist, rounded waist, scalloped waist, and V-line. There are some styles and colors also suitable for men.
Accessorize and Customize
Some apron designs are more conservative than others, and you may want to accessorize to make a bolder statement, especially when entertaining. Adding a chef’s hat is one way to complement your apron and show who’s in charge of the kitchen or barbecue (barbecues really start in the kitchen).
You have a choice of everything from both traditional and modern chef hats to beanies, driver caps, baseball hats, chef wraps, chef berets and skull caps. While traditional chef hats come in black or white, the modern ones come in such colors as khaki, burgundy, and Kelly green. The nontraditional chef hats are available in elite styles with different colors and patterns. All hats are suitable for both men and women.
For extra fun, you could add a chef shirt. There are styles for men and women that don’t look like a chef work shirt and are quite fashionable. You could also add a chef coat. These come in long and short sleeves with different color choices beyond black and white, such as pink, gray, purple, different shades of blue, red, lime green, and khaki. The women’s chef coats are slimmed down for a sophisticated, feminine look.
To add a touch of elegance, complete your kitchen outfit with a chef’s neckerchief. Choose either a vibrant color, or the classic black or white.
You can also make your apron unique by customizing it with an embroidered design, phrase, logo, or your name. Other items such as hats, chef shirts, coats, and neckerchiefs can be monogrammed. Many stores and Internet sites offer this service when your order the item. Some sites even offer handmade customized kitchen apparel.
Another way to accessorize is to find stylish oven mitts, pot holders, and dish towels that complement your apron in color and design. Pot holders or oven mitts can be stored in pockets so they’re partially displayed while you’re cooking. And a dish towel can hang from a pocket or be draped over a shoulder for easy access when you’re busy in the kitchen. Your family and guests will be impressed with your kitchen fashion sense.
Make Your Own
Perhaps you can’t find the apron you want — you want a specific material, color design, length, waistband, or pocket configuration. Plus, you want a detachable dish towel or pot holder on the side. The solution: make your own apron. There are many apron patterns available online — some are even free and come with tutorials.
The most important part of cooking is your stove or barbeque. For the very best in repair and maintenance service, call C&W Appliance Service at (855) 358-1496 or (214) 358-1496.