This piece was originally published in 2018.
I’m not a butcher, and I’m tired of wearing aprons that make me look like one. For years it felt like every “cool” apron was made with thick fabric and leather straps and cut with a linebacker’s proportions in mind. But now, designers are crafting a cross-back apron style that’s almost more dress than apron, and as someone who spends her days working in a test kitchen, I am all in.
Sometimes called Japanese-style, my preferred cross-back aprons are made of a soft, flowy fabric (typically linen) and allow for freedom of movement. The cut is so much more comfortable than aprons with shoulder straps—they don’t pinch you and there are no ties to get tangled or bunched up. Lest you think that a cross-back apron is the kitchen equivalent of a Snuggie, know that it’s clean and stylish enough that people may think it’s actually part of your outfit (really, it happens to me all the time). Consider them the cook’s version of a Nap Dress.
If you need more convincing, I’m not the only staffer devoted to cross-back aprons. “If there’s not some barrier between my clothing and cooking, I’m having a crisis,” says senior associate food editor Molly Baz, who can often be seen in this $20 pink-toned Japanese linen apron. “I wear jumpsuits all day long, and this is an extension of my normal everyday wear. Aesthetically and comfort-wise, it’s my go-to.” Plus, after a long day of recipe testing chia tapioca pudding and chaider, they can go straight into the washing machine—no leather straps or loose ties to worry about. Don’t even think about ironing them. That rumpled linen look screams “My layer cakes are flawless, but I’m still approachable and down-to-earth.” Here are five of our favorite cross-back aprons.
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