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Saint Nicholas coming to children, the girls wearing aprons/pinafores over their dresses (Germany, 1881).
Alice in Wonderland, wearing a pinafore over her blue dress.

A pinafore (colloquially pinny in chiefly British English) is a kind of full apron and consists of a sleeveless garment typically worn over a dress. Pinafores may be worn for protection, but also as a decorative garments. The name reflects that the pinafore was originally pinned (pin) to the front (afore) of a dress.

Slightly different designs of full aprons may be considered pinafore aprons. One main variant is an apron with two holes for the arms that is tied or buttoned in the back, usually just below the neck. However, a bib apron with broad or ruffled shoulder straps that criss-cross in the back is often also considered a pinafore apron.

Roughly from the mid 19th century to the 1920s, girls in the West often wore a dress and pinafore. The pinafore was typically plain white and made from linen or cotton. 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. As a decorative garment, a pinafore would be made of more delicate materials and often laced or embroidered.

Pinafore dress and smock[edit]

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[edit]

Alice shrunk to doll size and being spanked by her rag-doll. Here the ties of the pinafore can be clearly seen.

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.

Swedish author Astrid Lindgren, known for the Pippi Longstocking series, created a character, Madicken, who is often portrayed as wearing a pinafore.

Pinafores in lolita fashion[edit]

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[edit]

"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.


See also[edit]


Smallwikipedialogo.png This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Pinafore. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Spanking Art, the text of Wikipedia is available under a copyleft license, the Creative Commons Attribution Sharealike license.