The most iconic and recognizable piece of apparel that Masons wear is the Apron. Some are very basic, white aprons, others are hand-painted ornamented ones. Officers have special aprons with symbols that indicate the office that they hold. Every mason cherishes their apron and remembers fondly the day they received their first apron.
The white leather apron represents the purity and innocence that the Mason is expected to pursue throughout his life.
The Masonic apron is perhaps the greatest symbol of Masonic tradition and history, serving as a reminder to every Mason their commitment to uphold the values of the Craft. When the fraternity was established in the 1700s, the founders adopted the tools and traditions of stonemasons, among them the protective aprons they wore as they worked. Masonic aprons have been based on these utilitarian aprons, over time coming to symbolize a Freemason’s labor of building their lives at spiritual temples.
According to one researcher, the original aprons worn by operative masons were made of leather and large enough to cover the wearer from chest to ankles. It wasn’t until the 18th century that the modern, smaller textile aprons came into use. As Freemasonry grew, individuals began to adorn their aprons with symbols of the Craft and ornate ribbons. Over time, the apron evolved from the utilitarian garment of the stonemasons to the symbolic garment worn by Freemasons.