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Victoria Azarenka models our professional printed bar aprons and embroidered sommelier aprons from Waiter’s Friend

The distinctive Sommelier Aprons and Waiter’s Aprons worn by the hospitality trades of today have their origins in protective working wear that can be traced back as far as the 12th Century, when they were worn, initially only by men. Traditionally always made from white linen, the word “apron” is a corruption of the French “naperon” the same word used today to describe a small tablecloth or napkin.

However it wasn’t until the 16th and 17th Century that distinctive coloured aprons began to be worn by tradesmen, denoting their occupations. Masons stuck to white, while butchers and porters wore green. Barber Surgeons opted for a still more distinctive checked pattern similar to the blue checked pattern popular for chef’s trousers today.

Chaucer’s saucy Miller’s Tale gives us possibly the earliest full description of the apron as an item of work wear, but it fell to Charles Dickens to establish the apron as de rigour for wine trade professionals with his wonderful description of the melancholic Cellarman Joey Ladle:

Head Cellarman of the cellars of Wilding and Co., Wine Merchants, and erst Head Cellarman of the cellars of Pebbleson Nephew.  The Joey Ladle in question.  A slow and ponderous man, of the drayman order of human architecture, dressed in a corrugated suit and bibbed apron, apparently a composite of door-mat and rhinoceros-hide”

Joey’s dour disposition he attributes to his occupation. For , as he explains:

“ it is all wery well for you that has been accustomed to take your wine into your systems by the conwivial channel of your throttles, to put a lively face upon it; but,’ I says, ’I have been accustomed to take my wine in at the pores of the skin, and, took that way, it acts different.  It acts depressing”

Thankfully with today’s wine service aprons we’ve moved on a tad from matted rhino hide, though the wine service apron is still seen as a badge of office and rite of passage, as well as offering practical protection in the workplace. In fact the variety in styles from knee length bistro aprons, to three quarter length bar aprons and the traditional full length Sommelier’s apron, covers a diversity of needs from within the modern hospitality industry. Contemporary materials too offer hard wearing easy-care solutions and a variety of cuts and colours, designed to compliment house liveries and corporate branding aspirations.

But whether your customers “takes their wine through their pores” or perhaps more conventionally via “conwivial channels”  wine still has to be cellared, stored and served as well as promoted. So what better place to create awareness for your brand than with an embroidered or customised presence on today’s work wear for wine service professionals. Waiter’s Friend sommelier aprons use the best quality materials with the least laundering hassle. From easy-iron mixed polycotton to 100% cotton materials, our wine aprons are custom-made to suit your style, allowing you to choose from printed aprons, embroidered aprons or full cover patterned aprons to promote your brand.

And a last thought, Waiter’s Friend professionally embroidered sommelier aprons can seriously enhance your winning prospects, as this video of Victoria Azarenka testifies. Sporting a Waiter’s Friend customised bartenders apron, Victoria shakes things up in the world of mock-tails and certainly knows how to mix-up her game as her recent win in the Olympics and Australian Open show. Now you know where she learnt those mixing skill…