History of Apron Styles

Ensemble of materials to make shop aprons

Aprons have been a part of human history dating back to cooks depicted wearing half aprons. Along with dutches wearing aprons to display their status, continuing to the great depression workers wearing printed flour and feed sacks to show hope and individuality. The apron has taken on many new shapes in the past 3,622 years. Apron styles have evolved over the centuries displaying the wearer's profession, status, or individualism.

Aprons are still a much-needed article of clothing when doing a big project no matter the decade. Aprons have lasted this long and are not going anyway anytime soon. 

History of Aprons

Aprons first appeared in the form of half aprons in 1600 BCE. First viewed as a symbol of the lower working class. It wasn’t until the 1800s that aprons became a part of high society as a way to silently express one’s views. The apron's popularity only soared when the 1900s rolled around, entering the home of everyday housewives. Today aprons are still in homes and workshops providing clothes protection for over 3,000 years.

Type of Aprons Historically Symbolism within Professions






Bib Apron 

Gardeners, Spinner, and Weavers


Bib Apron 


Blue Striped Aprons 

Bib Apron 



Tabard Aprons 

Cooks/Chefs & Stonemasons


Half/Waist Aprons 

English Barbers 

Checkered Pattern

Bib Apron 

Hospitality Workers 

(No specific color mentioned) 

Half/Waist Apron 


(no Specific color mentioned)

Bib Style 


(no Specific color mentioned)

Bungalow Aprons

1600 BCE Aprons 

Aprons first appeared in the form of half aprons in 1600 BCE. At this time aprons were made using linen, wool, or hemp. Oftentimes these materials were already white or would be bleached white as depicted in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. The illustration in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales of a cook is depicted as wearing a half apron, which at the time was the standard kitchen apron. The bib-style apron, which covers almost the entire body from chest to mid-thigh, was present at this time as well though was worn less often. 

Aprons allowed for clothing to be protected and prevent excess wear from washing. Every day workers in 1600 BCE such as blacksmiths, clockmakers, cobbers, tailors, masons, and gardeners benefited from aprons to ensure their clothes stayed clean a few more days in between washes. 

14th Century AD - 17th Century AD

Half aprons continued into medieval times, generally created/sewn/crafted from white linen or the fabric would be bleached. Depictions of housewives wearing an apron while hanging laundry, with their feet bare do not dirty their shoes, socks, and other clothes unnecessarily.

The 1800s 

In the 18th century, Catherine Douglas, the Duchess of Queensberry who broke many of society's rules at that time, went to a ball wearing a white apron. The Duchess' attire was met with strong disapproval from Beau Nash who was known as the Master of Ceremonies at Bath. Nash removed the Duchess’ white apron, throwing the garment towards a group of ladies’ maids. A lecture on displaying one’s self in a lower class commenced. The Duchess' response to the Master of Ceremonies' views was one recounted with grace and good humor. 

After that day, aprons began appearing within the upper class of society. The Duchess of Queensberry’s actions before and after this particular ball were ones of silent protest. Proclaiming a new precedent that despite one’s dress that individuals could still have the grace and poise befitting of the upper class. 

The 1900’s

During the Great Depression from 1920-1940 resources were limited. Laborers of the time sought anything to use, aprons continuing to be a must in keeping the little clothing individuals had clean while preventing minor injuries that could lead to death. Traditional aprons made using linen, wool, leather, denim, and cotton were not on the list of necessities when the price of bread could change within the hour. Workers turned to the only viable material for crafting aprons, such as flour or feed sacks. The news of flour and feed sack aprons quickly spread. Once the feed and flour companies realized workers were wearing their products. The manufacturers started printing floral, doll and toy patterns along with bordered designs. 

The 1940-1950’s introduced baked goods and large family dinners, the housewife preparing in the kitchen with her apron on to protect her dinner party dress. Aprons have always been a necessity, though during the 40-50s their popularity and unique designs skyrocketed to become an essential part of every housewives daily ensemble. Styles of the time were waist, bib and bungalow style aprons. Bungalow style aprons were the favorite for the time due to fully covering the wearer’s clothing minus the sleeves. 

Aprons in the 21st Century 

After three millennia, the main concept of the apron, keeping wearer’s clothes clean and protected from spills, cuts or scrapes, has remained strong and necessary for everyday workers. 

Society today recognizes the apron as a symbol of pride. Showcasing an individual's pride towards their hard work and dedication to their chosen job, craft or hobby. 

Individuals still use aprons almost four thousand years after their creation to keep their clothes clean. Aprons continue to provide wearers with peace of mind while at the grill before their big dinner party or during a day in the workshop. 

Texas Canvas Wares 

Texas Canvas Wares has been manufacturing since 2017. Handmade in Sherman, Texas, their aprons offer the highest quality for any project. Heavy duty shop aprons ensure the utmost safety and cleanliness while working with wood, metal, paint, soil, clay, or sparks. Texas Canvas Wares also offers professional grade aprons that are perfect for any cook or culinary adventurer. Texas Canvas Wares ensures 21st century quality while displaying the workmanship worthy of today’s world.

The apron has been a symbol of class, industry and individualism since first depicted in 1600 BCE. Aprons then became a symbol of silent protest to a virtually voiceless cause in the 1800’s before becoming a symbol of individuality and hope in the 20th century. The versatility and usefulness of aprons has only grown. Aprons continue to guarantee craftsmen’s peace of mind with safety and cleanliness while conquering the skills of their craft.