It is a sleeveless garment worn over a dress, open in the back, and was typically made from white linen or cotton. Pinafores were worn as a protective apron, but also as a decorative garment. A pinafore is a full apron with two holes for the arms that is tied or buttoned in the back, usually just below the neck. The name reflects that the pinafore was formerly pinned (pin) to the front (afore) of a dress.
Girls wore pinafores at school and for play. The pinafore kept the dress clean and was easily changed when it got dirty, and was made of a material that tolerated being laundered often. It was much easier and preferred to launder a pinafore instead of a dress. Pinafores were worn by girls of all classes. Children had often only two suits of clothing, one for Sundays and one for the rest of the week. If a girl had only one dress, she covered it with a clean pinafore on Sundays.
Pinafore dress and smock
A pinafore dress (British English) is a sleeveless dress to be worn over a top or blouse, and is known in American English as a jumper or jumper dress. While a pinafore is open at the back, a pinafore dress is not. In informal British usage however, a pinafore dress is sometimes referred to as simply a pinafore, which can lead to confusion.
Pinafores are also often confused with smocks. Some languages do not differentiate between these different garments. The pinafore differs from a smock in that it does not have sleeves and there is no back to the bodice. Smocks have both sleeves and a full bodice, both front and back.
The sleeveless pinafore dress has remained a common component of the schoolgirl uniform in Western-based religious and secular schools since the late 19th century. An earlier example of this style of dress can be seen in Cracks (UK, 2009), a film set in an elite British boarding school in the 1930s.
Famous characters wearing pinafores
Alice, the heroine of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, wore a pinafore over her blue dress in John Tenniel's illustrations, and has been portrayed wearing this garment, almost like her trademark, by many other artists since.
Pinafores in lolita fashion
A pinafore worn over a dress is a specifically "girlish" garment with a great nostalgia and cuteness factor, and as such is popular in lolita fashion, as a garment for dolls and also in female ageplay.
"Pinafore eroticism" is another word for petticoat punishment or forced feminization, a fantasy or play that revolves around the practice of dressing a boy in girls' clothing for punishment.
- Gymslip (a tunic-style pinafore dress as part of a girl's school uniform)
- Maid, French maid
- Pinafore on Wikipedia
- Jumper dress on Wikipedia
- Pinafore eroticism on Wikipedia
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