While an apron-like garment can be traced back to ancient Egypt, aprons, as we know them, evolved from the middle ages and their use by tradesmen – blacksmiths, cobblers, butchers, etc as protective gear. As other trades began to adopt the apron in their practice, they began to be made from cloth (versus leather for the rougher trades such as blacksmithing). And, as cloth began to establish itself as the material of choice, colors began to appear, denoting specific skills – barbers wore a checked pattern; butchers and porters, green; masons, white. The word “apron,” in fact , is a more modern word coming from the French word “naperon," meaning napkin or small tablecloth.
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