I was in my kitchen last night, cooking the seventeen millionth dinner of this quarantine (actual number), and it hit me: I could really use a fresh apron. What with all this bread baking and cookie decorating and did I mention bread making? I realized that mine is covered with chocolate stains and grease splatters that won’t come out. And hey, I’m not buying cute new spring clothes right now, so why not aprons?
So I did some looking around online and found four cool minimalist, modern aprons that feel less Donna Reed and more Nigella Lawson. (I can dream, at least.) They have pockets to hold our cell phones and durable fabrics to last for years. Bonus: they’ll keep our nice new sweatpants—the official uniform of quarantine in our house—from getting stained and splattered too.
This week I have the perfect excuse to splurge on a new one with some Mother’s Day gift cards in my pocket. Plus, it will probably motivate me to get back in the kitchen and cook some more instead of just ordering in pizza, right?
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I’ve seen tons of Japanese style crossover aprons on chefs and home cooks all over Instagram, like this one from Anthropologie. My sister, who used to run a catering business, swears by this style — it’s comfortable, has pockets on the side for utensils (or your phone, more likely), and doesn’t pull on your neck. If you have little kids who are no stranger to putting a batter-covered hand firmly on your butt while cooking, this gives you full coverage. Plus, an all-white canvas apron lets you easily toss it in the washer with bleach.
For a top quality apron that’s affordable, a fresh apron from Williams-Sonoma is a fantastic choice. They’re just $30, and one will literally last you 20 years. I know, because that’s how long I’ve had mine. Everything about it has held up perfectly. They offer solids, but I think that these days, I’d go for the black with white pinstripes. Basically, it’s the closest I’ll get to a little black dress.
I like the flexibility of having a bistro-style apron in my kitchen — just something I can throw on to wipe my hands besides my leggings. This one from Reluctant Trading on Etsy is handmade from all-natural cotton, woven by hand on a 100-year-old Indian loom. It sounds like a beautifully made modern apron, and has the 5-star reviews to back that up — all at a price I can afford. Plus, I’m down for another reason to support a small business these days.
I love the denim look as a modern spring option, and this chambray denim apron at Sur la Table is an under-$50 option that’s pro quality and made to last. In fact, this modern apron was actually designed by chefs to handle life in a restaurant kitchen, so you know it can withstand the spills and catches that happen in your home kitchen too. And I love that they show how it can be worn folded in half as a bistro apron too. Yay for versatility.
If you want something that the pros are using — say, you’re the type who works all four burners, the stove, and the grill at the same time — definitely check out the aprons from Hedley & Bennett. They’re expensive, but they’re also the go-to modern apron for basically every chef in a craft restaurant here in Nashville where I live, so you know the construction is solid. I’m partial to this soft, washed 1972 denim apron, a medium-weight apron designed in homage to your favorite pair of vintage Levi’s. Those deep pockets can come in handy too.
While you’re there, consider buying a Hedley & Bennet face mask. For every one you buy, they’ll donate one to people in food service, hospitals, and other front-line workers.