With the economy still lurching along and the holidays coming up, I predict a lot of people’s thoughts are going to be about home – that is, not losing it – and shopping for gifts online, rather than enduring the crush and myriad temptations of the malls.
For those with a newfound or longtime love of domesticity – and especially retro lovers – Carolyn West of Carolyn’s Kitchen in Beverly Hills offers an online selection of awfully nice aprons and other kitchen apparel modeled on what Grandma and Mom wore back in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s.
“I wanted to bring back the glamour, sexiness, and cuteness of a bygone innocent era,” Carolyn writes on her Web site. “The gloves and fabrics are new and nicer – it’s a new and improved version of the ’40’s.
“I let my imagination run, and originated the embodiment of that ’40’s girl in the apron and gloves, living in our ultra modern age,” she adds. “Suzy Homemaker slaves over a hot microwave for minutes at a time, constant hostess to all, in and around her kitchen, (while being) enticing temptress to you know who, you know where.”
Of course, I picked up on the implications long before I read the above quote, just on seeing the aprons themselves. I mean, forget Martha Stewart, forget Betty Crocker – forget even Victoria’s Secret – these aprons are HOT. While the colors and patterns of some models arguably clash – polka dots and stripes, for example, or black and yellow – there’s certainly a wide enough variety to offer something for everyone. Indeed, Carolyn’s not-so-subtly-provocative kitchen wear (cupcakes, anyone?) seems to be getting lots of good press: Her aprons have been featured in the Washington Post’s Styles magazine and in Cooking Light, Accessories and Paula Deen’s Holiday Baking magazines.
When I explained to Carolyn that AmeriCollector.com is a collector’s site for all ages and, uh, mainstream sensibilities and that, in general, we try to draw a distinction between wholesome retro and risqué retro, she acknowledged that it’s hard for her to stay G-rated: “I’m wanting to go more edgy and sexy, yet not in the XX zone. It’s tricky!”
Carolyn’s aprons are all made in the U.S.A. and “carefully constructed with the highest quality 100% cotton fabric and eyelet lace trim.” They generally run between $30 and $42. Dishwashing gloves – some of which even have faux fur (talk about kitchen vixens!) – range from $22 to $24. The white gloves are hypoallergenic vinyl with a soft flock lining, the black and pink ones are made of natural rubber latex, but the thought of any of them gives me goose bumps.
View the goods – some modeled by Kinsey-era desperate housewives – at www.CarolynsKitchenOnline.com. (Free shipping on domestic orders over $100.)
Images courtesy of Carolyn’s Kitchen