Differences Between Aprons and Smocks

When you think of a smock you probably think of the garment you wore in art class to protect your clothing.  It pulls over your head, covers the front and back top half of your body, has pockets and ties at the side.  This design is actually a “cobbler apron”.   Smocks are quite different than aprons and to ensure you are buying the proper apparel for your needs, we are going to provide you with everything you need to know about smocks.

Smock Characteristics (not for Cobbler aprons)

  • Loose fitting and have sleeves which may be short or long in length, whereas aprons are sleeveless.
  • Buttons, snaps or zippers down the front to keep the garment closed, whereas aprons tie in the back.
  • A V-neck opening at the top with a collar which provides a professional look.
  • Available in a variety of colors and styles with white being the most popular color for medical professionals.
  • Pockets on a smock are deeper than an apron and protect all of your upper body.
  • Also known as “lab coats, counter coats or server coats”.
  • Two main styles of smocks:  jackets or coats.
  • Many are made from a comfortable, lightweight 65/35 4.5 ounce poly-cotton poplin material which is lighter than the typical 7.5 ounce fabric found in aprons.
  • Typically have 3 pockets – two on the bottom and one in the upper left side of the garment, whereas aprons usually have 2 pockets on the bottom.
  • May also have a built-in-belt in the back and usually have a straight bottom hem.  Aprons usually don’t have the built-in-belt and may have a straight or rounded hem.

 Smock Jacket or Shirt

A smock jacket (sometimes called a smock shirt) is shorter than the smock coat by at least six inches.  You can find three different tailored styles:  Men, women and unisex.  Smock jackets are designed in a figure-flattering style for women.  In contrast, men’s smock jackets have straight sides with a shorter length than the female jacket by several inches.   Unisex style jackets fall in between the men’s and women’s.  Smock jackets are available in many colors and sizes.

Smock Coat or Dress

The smock coat is a longer version of the smock jacket (6-12 inches) and is also known as a lab coat.

 What occupations use smocks?

Smocks are frequently worn by medical professionals such as doctors and pharmacists, but are also worn by teachers, beauticians, artists, counter and shop workers and even Welsh shepherds and soldiers overseas.

Cobbler Aprons or Artist’s Smock

Cobbler aprons are sleeveless and slip over your head.  In common usage, they’re often called smocks although technically they are aprons. It covers more area on the top half of the body than a bib apron and also covers your back.  The bottom of this apron ends around or below the thighs and multiple pockets are fairly standard.  The cobbler apron ties on the side and the material around the shoulders range from 2-4 inches wide to provide a comfortable fit.  These types of aprons can be found in both crew (round) neck and V-neck styles and with straight or rounded bottoms.  They are available in both adult and children’s sizes.

As you can see, smocks are made for a variety of jobs and professions to meet your needs.  You can select from many styles, colors and lengths.

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Aprons – Smocks – Chefwear