‘Apron Strings’ is a lovely song. It paints a vivid picture of the sentimental scene of mother and child happily interacting in presumably a kitchen. Aprons are a huge symbol in American history. Why they made a severe disappearance after the late 1960’s is also pretty symbolic. Somehow in the context of modern, politically correct society, the apron was barred from mundane life. Apparently aprons and their legacy did not stand a chance against the postmodern counterargument to gender roles, which suggested women’s place was the kitchen and the kitchen alone. Women can take the compliment; we’re pretty whoop-ass chefs. The kitchen is not our only place of expertise, however. This is where the apron is stuck in its controversy. What entertains me here is that in this millenium, we are encouraged (and hopefully we are, in practice) accepting and tolerant of the LGBTQ community, of races, religions, and anything else one may think to categorize. We openly discuss drugs, sex, intoxication, and other things that would be considerably ‘lewd’, and yet the apron is practically taboo. How incredible is it that today’s culture botches this meaning? We have attached a negative, sexist stereotype of the woman to the innocent apron. This archetypal symbol is just a mere creation of an ever-increasingly politically correct society.
Let’s explore mass media for some apron realities to get our minds back on track. In the infamous “A Christmas Story”, presumably set in the early 1940’s, Ralphie’s mom isn’t seen without an apron while she’s not in her pajamas. That apron of hers knows no boundaries either! It, just as much as she, is not limited to the kitchen. They’re versatile pieces, truly. To confront the false sexist facets of this innocent garment, how about we try to Google Search the word ‘aprons’. Ironic! In the shopping section of Google’s magnificent search, the first three aprons for sale use male models. Aprons must be rather snazzily sexless to be breaking these subtle boundaries.
What’s more important to the vintage consumer in 2015 is what the significance of an apron is. These garments are both an amenity and a convenience. Everything we purchase today requires a purpose. The apron is now stylish, and protects your equally stylish wardrobe, for one. Any stains that are otherwise cause a total wreck no longer warrant fear. So ladies, wear that dress that makes you feel radiant just because! Handsome gentlemen, indulge yourself in that classy sweater or those contouring cotton shirts with buttons intentionally missing! The apron will forever protect you. Aside from the culinary implications, aprons are also one of the very few garments I’ve found whose pockets are large enough for the smartphones not to fall out of. Girl jeans suck at this in comparison (I’ve heard boy pockets aren’t nearly as phone prejudiced). The authentic vintage ones are exceptionally roomy for whatever other treasures you need to hold close.
The history context of aprons has a vastly different intention than the political correctness we have now. While in hindsight we consider the apron a symbol of housewivery, it is so much more. It’s a symbol of the world’s best cookies, smudges of home-cooked meals, the gentle caring for scrapes and bruises, and a mother, grandmother, or aunt’s warm hugs. These perfect little at-home outfit-completing garments are not longer subject to stereotypes. From this year forward, the apron should be a symbol only of hardworking people of genuine intention. Such is, after all, the most authentic and transparent retro lifestyle.