A Scrapbook of American Life & Vintage Aprons

13 Jul

Like home-made apple pies and summer baseball games, the apron goes hand-in-hand with the nostalgia of Americana. Here’s what I learned in my search for these vintage treasures.

Being chief, cook and bottle wash means a lot of juggling that sometimes results in dropping a few of the balls.

{A Scrapbook of American Life & Vintage Aprons}
It’s a regular ole circus act between juggling roles and balancing life, but thrilling things are in the near and not-so-distant future which keeps me from totally becoming irate at myself for not posting in a week’s time.

However, I recognize that I have a responsibility to you, my loyal subscribers, readers and followers. I absolutely appreciate your generosity of time spent with me here, and on Facebook or YouTube; and, I ask for your patience, support and understanding as I take on a larger game plan for is brand.

The biggest objective is to provide more quality content while making money doing so — I love what I do in creating this vintage, savvy, innovative and style-conscious space, but my son needs his Cheerios, and my cat her kibbles.

With my neighbor's dog, Bella, on the front stoop tending to growing zinnia seedlings. But this is also a small peak into the coming series on vintage aprons!

And as a lot of hard work and fate would have it, part of my business plan now involves eBay. To celebrate, this week kicks off a series of posts focused on aprons. Initially, it started as an idea for one blog post but then as I began looking for cool vintage aprons on eBay to coincide with my top picks for e-mail subscribers (if you’re not on the list, sign up now! —-> ), I discovered a whole world ideas.

So, this kick-off blog post dives into the life behind the vintage apron. This is a small collection of photos telling the story of the apron in America since the late 1800s until the 1960s. I’ve place the photos in what I believe is a pretty accurate representation of chronological order by decade.

Please enjoy this virtual scrapbook, because I had so much fun finding and studying these images! But, if you happen to fall in love with an image, you might meet me in a bidding war on eBay to bring home a nice touch of vintage wall decor! (good luck!)

How rich is this photo! Is the younger girl (shorter hemline & white apron) about to be courted by the gentleman, who arrived by buckboard carriage? And who is the shadowed photographer?
(circa. 1900s)


You can see the “old world” influence on this couple’s style, presumably recent immigrants.
(circa. late 1800s to early 1900s)
Antique Couple with apron

A portrait in an apron and visor, tells me this man likely was a clerk.

Antique Portrait Apron Man

I love their nonchalance and with the full white aprons, I would say they are merchants. The photo is sourced from Middletown, NY.

Antique Middletown Men in Aprons

This photo makes me smile and wish I was sitting right next to her. I can only imagine the amazing conversation and the out-of-this world strawberry rhubarb pie we would share!
(circa. 1920s)
1920s Porch Swing

With freshly bobbed hairstyles, these gals are hep with their “it” girl Clara Bow! What were they gossiping about, right before this photo?

1920s Fence Girls

This photo didn’t strike me as altogether interesting, until I saw the seller’s next image (further below) and compared it to this one for the emergence of a story.

1920s Fur & Apron Friends

With the art-deco detailing on the cape shown above and her cloche in this image, it is clearly the 1920s. The three women look to be contemporaries — not mother and daughters. Perhaps, sisters? Aunt and nieces? Former classmates? While their relationships are murky, it is clear the city mice came to visit the country mouse.
1920s Cloche & Apron Friends

The hairstyles and clothing suggest we are now in the 1930s. Although it is possible they could be country gals in the late 1920s.

1930s Apron Sisters

Children often wore cropped hair, so it is kind of hard to say what era this hails from. The little girl’s bobbed socks say it could be the 1940s or 1950s, yet the quality of the photo and the background lead me to guess the early 1930s.
Vintage Little Girl in apron

aw, now this image — this is the cat’s meow! Aren’t they just adorable! The soft waves of her hair and the gentle scallop of her apron, say to me, it’s the late 1930s and quite possibly the early 1940s in rural America.
Flirty 1940s couple

Clearly this is a fun couple — the life of the party! And with the apron styles, her hair and make-up, it appears that we’re up to early 1950s.
1950s Couple Drying Dishes

Isn’t he just dreamy! His hair style, pants and cuffed shirt — as well as stance, suggest this is a man freshly back from WW2. His printed novelty apron suggests the late 1940s and early 1950s. (stay tuned for a blog post on cool men’s aprons like this one!)
1950s Man in Novelty apron

hmm, this dish-washing couple isn’t as lively as the other two, but at least they are sharing in the domestic workload! From her hair and the organza-edged apron, this is the early 1950s.
1940s Dishes & Apron

I wonder who was on the other side of the room that had all three of these folks so captivated! Love their natural postures and expressions! And, check out those curtains! (photo stamped: OCT 65)
1965 Vintage Apron Scene

Why, hello, Lucy! So classic is this image, even her surprised expression! (Photo stamped: Mar 1963)
Vintage Woman in Kitchen

Best friends or lovers? Nevertheless, her crocheted top and high-waisted short shorts, say it’s the late 1960. Did you note the awesome lawn chairs?
1960s Couple Outdoor Grilling Apron

This presumed “mother and child” are also from the 1960s, but the early side of the decade, and from a very domestic as well as suburban side of American life.
1960s Mother & Child

Did you enjoy my Scrapbook on American Life & Vintage Aprons?

If so, please let me know in comments below, that way I will be sure to keep the scrapbook posts coming!

And remember, if you want any of the photos for your own vintage collection, just click on that image to be connected to its eBay listing.


5 Responses to “A Scrapbook of American Life & Vintage Aprons”

  1. Dawn July 13, 2011 at 5:08 PM #

    Happy belated Birthday, Robin, from your N0. #1 Fan and fellow Cancerian. Hope you had a wonderful day; Best Wishes for (another) successful year and many, many more!

    Love your vitural Apron Tour. That pic of you is STUNNING! The colors are powerful; it really does look as though it could be the 40s. Gee, but I love your HAIR, lol. And you look so graceful! Couldn’t you just see this photo in an edition of a 40s _Vogue_ or _Bazaar_? Edited by the great Carmel Snow or Diana Vreeland, of course 🙂

    All the photos are terrific; the one that has *great* personal resonance for me is “I Love Lucy”, lol. I swear, my parents had that fridge! And I do remember (as a very wee one, of course, wink-wink) women actually looking and dressing like that, lol.


  2. Laurie July 13, 2011 at 7:05 PM #

    Simply marvelous! I love the photos and all the variety of styles of aprons! My grandparents also used to do the dishes together every night. This brought back some memories!


  3. Christine July 14, 2011 at 7:00 AM #

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post (my favorite was the 1920s country mouse/city mouse). I love vintage “Fashion” but I think its also just as fascinating to see what real people wore!

    Please keep the scrapbook posts coming!


  4. hailey shaw July 14, 2011 at 9:58 AM #

    I loved these photos! I recently found my grandmother’s photo album with all her photos with my grandfather. She was a mode for Macy’s as the Sleeping Girl for their window displays. You would love her outfits! Ill have to make copies and send them to you!


    • Thrifty Vintage Chic July 17, 2011 at 11:14 AM #

      ooo!! Hailey! I would love to see her grandmother’s Macy’s advert!! That would be amazing!!!


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