Aprons are an incredibly important and useful work tool that can be used in many different industries.
When selecting the perfect apron for yourself or your staff, there are many unique styles, each with its own benefits. The style and design of an apron can vary drastically depending on its specific purpose, making it easy to find an apron that fits your exact needs.
In this article, we will discuss 15 styles of aprons and how to wear them.
1. Server Apron or Waist Apron
A server apron is a style of apron used most commonly by waitstaff at restaurants.
Waist aprons serve the dual purpose of protecting the server’s uniform from spills and providing quick access to work tools like a notepad and pen for writing down orders in one pocket and extra straws in another pocket. An apron is often used to tie an outfit together, providing a pop of color and another opportunity to have a “brand moment”.
Typically, server aprons include straps that loop around your waist and tie in the back, though some server aprons also extend over the upper body and include a neck strap.
This style of apron is easy to adjust according to the individual’s size. As a result, many server apron brands opt for universal sizing, making it easy to find an apron that will fit properly.
2. Bistro Aprons
Bistro aprons are a long style of apron that, similar to the aprons we have already discussed, do not include upper body coverage.
Instead, these aprons extend downwards to be roughly ankle-length, providing better coverage and protection for a staff’s pants. This type of apron also tends to include one or multiple pockets, as it is primarily used by front-of-house staff.
Bistro aprons also commonly come in a wider range of colors, allowing business owners to select an apron that matches the establishment’s overall color scheme or theme.
Although this style of apron is often used by front-of-house staff, it can also work well for back-of-house staff as it provides more thorough clothing protection while also giving an overall more professional, uniform look.
3. Bib Apron
Bib aprons are often considered a more traditional style of apron, as they provide coverage for both the upper and lower body.
The lower half of the apron generally features the same elements as a server or half-bistro apron, as it extends down to right above the knee and provides several useful pockets. What sets a bib apron apart, however, is the upper half that covers a worker’s shirt We manufacture two styles of bib aprons: a traditional bib apron which loops over the head and a more contemporary crossback style bib apron.
A bib apron is a good option for both front and back-of-house staff. Although, front-of-house staff must be more conscious about keeping their bib apron clean and tidy, especially on the upper half as it is more visible to customers.
4. Denim Apron
When it comes to heavy-duty aprons, denim aprons certainly have a lot to offer.
Made from denim fabric, this style of apron is often crafted in a similar form to bib aprons, including both upper and lower body coverage. These aprons are easy to maintain as denim does not require gentle washing techniques — though you should be wary of color bleeding on your first wash.
Denim aprons are a popular choice amongst themed restaurants or businesses going for a clean and aesthetically pleasing look for their staff. This style of apron is also widely used in other industries as well, including woodworking and hair styling.
5. Designer Apron
Designer aprons are exactly what they sound like — aprons made by designer brands.
These aprons tend to be made from longer-lasting and higher-quality materials, especially when it comes to the neck and waist straps. Designer aprons are also more likely to have a wide range of colors, patterns, and materials to choose from.
A designer apron is a great choice for people who are going for a professional look that still gives a sense of their personality, such as private chefs who work from clients’ homes or hair stylists at a boutique salon.
6. Tuxedo Aprons
For a more upscale look, a tuxedo apron is the ideal choice.
Tuxedo aprons have a similar structural design to bib aprons but are made to imitate the look of a tuxedo vest. The upper half of a tuxedo apron typically has a v-shaped neckline to enhance this upscale appearance further. Moreover, tuxedo aprons are almost always black and may feature additional details like white pinstripes or a bowtie.
In terms of who should wear a tuxedo apron, these aprons are almost exclusively used by servers in fine-dining restaurants or at large catering events, like a banquet or wedding reception. The appearance of these aprons makes for a fantastic uniform that portrays elegance and sophistication.
7. Cobbler Aprons
A cobbler apron is designed similarly to a smock, providing full coverage of the front and back of a person’s upper body. These aprons have a t-shirt-like appearance, as they have sleeves that begin just past the shoulder.
Unlike most of the aprons we have discussed thus far, a cobbler apron is not designed exclusively for use in a restaurant setting. While some food-related businesses like bakeries and cafes may use these aprons, they’re more commonly seen on cleaning or healthcare workers (school nurses, hotel housekeepers, etc.).
For storage and easy access to work tools, cobbler aprons will typically include a large pocket on the front-facing side of the apron. These aprons are also adjustable using side ties on either side of the garment.
8. Dishwasher Apron
Dishwashers have messy jobs, requiring them to wear a heavy-duty style apron that can weather any cleaning storm that may sweep through the dish pit.
A dishwasher apron is often made out of rubber or vinyl, making it easy to clean and durable against moisture and debris. Additionally, these materials make this style of apron water-resistant, heat-resistant, and cut-resistant, providing more intense protection for the person wearing it.
As the name suggests, this style of apron is designed almost exclusively for dishwashers. Since dishwashers deal with a high volume of dishes and have to work with a sink constantly,. Dishwasher aprons help ensure they stay dry and comfortable while they work.
9. Disposable Aprons
Certain types of work require stricter safety protocols, such as working with raw meats or harsh chemicals. In these instances, a disposable apron is the best choice for providing temporary protection that can then be disposed of to prevent any cross-contamination in the workspace.
A disposable apron is often made from a polyethylene material, and many nowadays are also made to be biodegradable to be more environmentally friendly.
The design of a disposable apron is fairly similar to a bib apron, generally extending down to above the knee and providing upper body coverage and a neck loop as well. These aprons can also be useful for new staff members waiting for a reusable apron to arrive in the mail.
10. Woodworking Apron
Woodworkers work with many different tools, machines, and materials to craft a wide range of products — from furniture and musical instruments to construction lumber. Since woodworkers require access to many different tools simultaneously, woodworking aprons are designed for that very purpose.
These aprons are crafted from heavy-duty cotton or polyester. Along with a waist strap, these aprons also often have criss crossed straps in the back for a more secure fit. Additionally, these aprons offer both upper and lower body coverage.
In terms of pockets, woodworking aprons will almost always have three or more pockets, including a higher-place segmented pocket designed for holding a variety of woodworking tools.
11. Pinafore Apron
Pinafore aprons are a unique style that has extended beyond use as a work tool — although many restaurants and cafes do still use these types of aprons.
A pinafore apron typically includes an upper body bib as well as decorative sleeves. This style of apron is commonly seen in the fashion world as a type of over garment to be worn on top of a long sleeve shirt or dress. Traditionally, this style of apron is used amongst estate staff, such as housekeepers or private chefs.
In general, pinafore aprons are regarded as offering a more decorative appearance, hence their rise to popularity in casual fashion.
12. Half-Bistro Aprons
Half-bistro aprons are essentially waist aprons but are a bit longer than a standard waist apron.
While a regular bistro apron extends to the ankles, most half-bistro aprons will only extend above the knee. This shorter style gives a more casual look and is also easier to move around in, making it a good choice for fast-paced environments when staff members need to move quickly.
Like regular bistro aprons, half-bistro aprons usually feature different pockets for holding work supplies, such as guest checks and pens. Half-bistro aprons will also offer a wider variety of color options in general, just like regular bistro aprons.
13. 4-Way Aprons
A 4-way apron is a type of apron that is layered, allowing the person wearing it to switch between layers if one becomes too dirty. Generally, a 4-way apron is made to be worn around the waist and does not include any upper body coverage.
This type of apron is most commonly used by back-of-house staff who are responsible for prepping ingredients and cooking guests’ orders.
Additionally, the layered design of 4-way aprons makes it easy to change on the fly while at work. This is especially important in restaurants where the watchful eyes of guests may be taking note of dirty aprons or uniforms. By always having a clean side, 4-way aprons help staff members to look consistently presentable.
What is the Purpose of an Apron?
Aprons can serve many purposes, from protection to utility.
For example, aprons used in restaurants — such as server aprons and dishwasher aprons — are often designed primarily to provide clothing protection and pocket space that helps the waitstaff while working.
Comparatively, fancier aprons like the tuxedo or designer aprons may serve as a work tool and a way to achieve a uniform look that fits the business’s overall aesthetic and enhances the guest experience.
How to Tie an Apron
The way you tie an apron largely depends on what style of apron you have chosen.
In general, an apron will feature two waist straps that can either be tied in a bow in the back or wrapped around your waist and tied in the front to be more form-fitting. If your apron includes a neck strap, you should place the neck strap over your neck before tying off the waist straps.
Finding the right apron for the job is essential — and with this vast selection to choose from, it’s easy to find the perfect apron for the job at hand.
When shopping for an apron, always pay attention to sizing and materials. Though many aprons come in a universal size, some of the fancier ones made from sturdier or designer materials may offer more specific sizing. Thus, always check the product details for sizing charts before purchasing.