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Gifts for the Mother in your Life

Don’t Cut Those Apron Strings

Housework can be sexy. Yes, you read that correctly. Recall, if you will, the scene from Anchorman when Ron Burgundy fantasizes about coming home to his lovely Veronica clad in nothing but an apron after a “hard day’s work” of keeping house? As the countdown to Mother’s Day continues, consider gifting the ladies in your life with a sassy apron or two.

Some women may consider such a gift a misogynistic message that they are expected to toil and slave in the kitchen. I am not of that school. The stylish bent of aprons from Jessie Steele and Carolyn’s Kitchen bring so much more enjoyment to cooking, washing dishes, scrubbing and crafting. Both lines feature feminine, vintage-inspired designs and come in “bib” or half apron styles flattering to any figure.

Jessie Steele is the brainchild of mother-daughter team Helena and Claire Steele. Combining Helena’s penchant for 20th century vintage aprons and Claire’s style expertise as well as experiences as a fashion model, this line of aprons seeks to capture the nostalgia and romance of a bygone era with modern fit and appeal. The results are enchanting.

Available in an assortment of brilliant colors and fun prints, Jessie Steele aprons have been featured on the likes of Oprah and Desperate Housewives. For the minimalist or classy, no-frills lady in your life, opt for the Carmen Bib apron in black with white trim. A front right pocket at the hip is accented with a black and white striped ribbon. The Carmen cut also comes in a red rosebud pattern with red accents and a solid brown incarnation with pink trim. The Ava Bib features two pockets and come in fun patterns including retro cherries, red peonies on a black and white vertical striped background, and Eiffel Towers on pink for the Pink Paris model. For those mad about the resurgent but timeless trend of black and white, there are the ornate Onyx, reminiscent of a rich flocked tapestry, or Café Toile, a flirty number with solid black straps and ribbon at the hip. These will all set you back $40.

Half aprons are perfect for the hostess with the mostest. These come in the same patterns as their bib sisters and retail at approximately $35. For mothers’ helpers, Jessie Steele also offers aprons in a smaller version. Rounding out their line are a series of tea towels and pot mitts to match the aprons. These can be picked up for approximately $18 and $15, approximately, from www.thedashingdiva.com.

With the tagline “There are no desperate housewives in Carolyn’s Kitchen”, the wares of Carolyn West are no less than glamorous. According to her web site, the “vintage-inspired aprons and dish gloves enhance the merriment of playing whimsical dress-up combined with the indulgent delights of naughty pin-ups.” Her designs also hold true to rendering updated classic designs of past decades with the aesthetics and demands of modern times. West, of Los Angeles, drew her inspiration from 1940s patterns and a Parisian apron and glove set.

Carolyn’s Kitchen designs are not for the timid; they are loud and flashy, in a good way. The Sweetheart and Dorothy aprons ($38 each) are the tamest of the bib bunch. The Sweetheart apron comes in red, navy, orange, yellow or fuschia with white polka dots, white lace trim and heart shaped pockets. Meanwhile, the Dorothy apron is more of a pinafore style blending stripes and polka dots. It comes in black/white/red or orange, yellow, or fuschia. The Marilyn Apron is my pick of the litter for the half aprons, with contrasting polka dot/stripe combinations and a charming lace-trimmed heart sewn on. With a truly unique twist, also available is a matching bandeau to match these half aprons for an undoubtedly pinup feel.

In addition to aprons, Carolyn’s Kitchen also serves up decadent dishwashing gloves. Those trimmed in faux fur may not seem the most practical, but there is no denying their glam appeal. These range in price from $18-22 and are available in white, black and hot pink with a variety of trimmings not limited to yellow or orange monster fur and faux cheetah fur.

With imaginative yet functional designs in a smattering of flavors, you should have no difficulty finding a gift worthy of giving the special lady in your life from Jessie Steele or Carolyn’s Kitchen. The only problem might be picking just one.