Turning through the pages of a magazine the other day, I spotted an ad for an apron. The illustration showed a nice bib with a catchy message embroidered across in attractive colors. The lower part was generously cut to protect the front of one's clothes. Nice. Price: $95. NINETY-FIVE dollars!!!??

How unreasonable can you get? That's more than I pay for a garment for special occasions that has years of wearing expectancy.

After I simmered a little bit, I questioned: Has it maybe been so long since the apron was a part of daily dress around the house that the modern shopper looks at it as a luxury item?

Aprons we wore were made of feed sacks, leftover material from a quilt lining, or the full skirt of a dress that had worn out at the top.

They were made for usefulness, not looks. They caught the spills from cooking and cleaning and saved us from having to wash an entire soiled dress on the washboard. If I wore an apron with that sort of price tag, I would be protecting IT!

I would have trouble using the corner of such an expensive apron to grab a greasy handle of a pot about to boil over, or to swipe a dusty tabletop as I passed by; or to wipe a dripping nose if a box of tissues wasn't within reach.

I would think twice about gathering the bottom into a pouch to carry juicy tomatoes from the patch and instead go back to the house for a bucket. Its pretty color might fade if I used it to shade my head in the hot sun for any length of time.

I realize that as money and materials became more abundant, aprons did take on an additional role as an accessory. Light and somewhat delicate fabric was used to make tea aprons or custom models for certain occasions such as holidays. Ruffles might be added, or scallops encased in color-coordinated bias tape.

The pocket on these updated versions was often not practical. It was not big enough to collect items picked up around the house that needed to be returned to their normal storage place or to hold small tools that I was using for a task.

But these later fancy aprons were in addition to the regular, functional aprons, and certainly did not cost much to make (not buy).

Ninety-five dollars? What would my mother say? I'm out of words myself.