The Hardmill Apron is, as far as aprons go, unbelievably rugged. Cut from durable duck-waxed cotton canvas, held together with copper rivets and hung via thick leather belts, this apron is ready for anything that can happen in a kitchen – from hot oil spills to paring knife attacks. Also, it looks great.
Good looks are just a small part of what allows this apron to make the transition out of the kitchen and into the garage, workshop, or barbecue competition. With its double pockets and utility ring, the Hardmill can hold lawn tools as well as tongs or rib rub. Just remember to leave your socket wrench in the garage or it might end up in the dishwasher.
Predictably enough, the apron takes a little while to soften up. The waxing on the canvas begins to bend and fold where you do after several weeks, making wearing the apron like wearing a second skin – a highly protective, hydrophobic, extremely thick second skin. And the utility ring on the right side is the perfect place to hang a hand or grease towel for easy access. The apron is adjustable via the leather belt and snap hook from 30 inches to a more seasoned 40 inches.
Brothers Ryan and Michael Barrie, chef and craftsman respectively, founded Seattle-based Hardmill to create kitchen goods that could withstand the test of time. After making a custom apron for 2004 World Barista Champion Bronwen Serna, they found themselves in demand. Next up is a custom bartender's apron, a butcher's block, a canvas grocery bag, and leather oven mitts. The stuff is so durable you could probably play catcher in it.
And you'll feel more comfortable inviting people into your home or backyard knowing that you don't have to wear a stained T-shirt while you work. You can look and feel like more than a man – a man who cooks. [$235; Hardmill.com]