Picks and Pans Review: Aprons: Icons of the American Home

updated 05/08/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/08/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Joyce Cheney

Aprons as art? Only in the minds of some male chauvinist pighead, right? Not according to writer and avid apron collector Joyce Cheney, who celebrates the June Cleaver-esque kitchenwear as a form of female expression and even empowerment. In this photo-packed coffee-table album, Cheney traces trends in the styles of aprons as women's roles in American society changed. In the Depression-strapped 1930s, aprons were utilitarian, often made from old flour sacks. In the 1950s, they got frillier as washers and dryers began easing the housework burden. And in the 1960s and '70s, ruffles and rickrack were replaced with jokes and double entendres. Cheney admits that many young women today may never have actually put on an apron. No matter. Thanks to this nostalgic effort, any one of us can try on the ties that bound our mothers and grandmothers. (Running Press, $24.95)

Bottom Line: Frilly folk art

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