- Flight-attendant uniforms have evolved alongside fashion trends.
- In the ’50s, for example, most cabin-crew members wore fitted blazers and modest, knee-length skirts.
- By the late 1960s, airline uniforms looked like stylish mod designs.
- Since the early 2000s, many airlines have made their uniforms more simple and streamlined.
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Today, flight attendants often wear business-casual designs in classic colour combinations of navy blue, red, black, and white.
But over the past century, uniforms for cabin-crew members have evolved alongside fashion trends. In the ’60s, for example, many airlines rolled out garments inspired by stylish mod designs, like sheath minidresses with stand-away collars and go-go boots.
By the 2000s, flight-attendant uniforms were more simple and streamlined, with some airlines prioritising comfort over flair.
In the 1950s, flight attendants for American Airlines wore crisp navy-blue blazers and skirts.
The uniform featured a single-breasted jacket with three buttons and a tapered waist, worn over a white shirt with notch lapels and a knee-length skirt.
The airline’s uniform got a trendy update in the late ’60s.
The uniforms incorporated the colours of the American flag in several ways. The outfit itself – a mod-style sheath dress with a thick stand-away collar – came in red, white, and blue. It could be worn with or without a red, white, and blue belt.
In a 1967 campaign for the new uniforms, models accessorized the ensemble with white low-heeled pumps and red, white, and blue hair bows.
Currently, American Airlines flight attendants wear simple black dresses or suits with red and blue accents.
The menswear option for cabin-crew members is comprised of a black blazer, black pants, light-blue button-up, and blue tie.
The womeswear option is a black short-sleeved dress with buttons down the front and a fitted silhouette, paired with a red-and-blue scarf tied around the neck.
In 1959, Qantas flight attendants wore belted short-sleeved dresses.
The midi dress featured three buttons in the front and shawl lapels. Qantas crew members wore the outfit with a matching pillbox-like hat, as well as dark-coloured heels and gloves.
From 1971 to 1974, the airline’s uniforms were bright blue.
Crew members wore blue shift dresses over white short-sleeved turtlenecks or button-up shirts. The uniform also came with a matching blue jacket and blue hat with a red stripe in the middle.
Today, Qantas flight attendants wear belted navy-blue dresses with ruby-red and fuchsia stripes.
In the late 1950s, Delta flight attendants wore fitted navy-blue blazers with large round buttons.
The jacket was worn over a collared white shirt and paired with a navy-blue skirt, heels, and pillbox hat.
According to Delta, this particular uniform was worn by flight attendants in the winter from 1957 to 1959.
The airline debuted a new uniform collection designed by Richard Tyler in 2006.
From 2006 to 2018, Delta cabin-crew members wore either a red wrap dress with a cinched waist or a midnight-blue suit with a white button-up and red tie.
Delta rolled out new uniforms, and a new colour scheme, in May 2018.
Designed by Zac Posen, the uniforms feature a bright-purple colour called Passport Plum, as well as five other “wholly reimagined hues” including Cruising Cardinal, Groundspeed Graphite, Travelling Thistle, and Skyline Slate.
Posen’s collection includes a short-sleeved purple sheath dress with a glossy winged collar and a three-piece grey suit with a plum-coloured tie and pocket square.
From 1967 to 1970, the uniform for Japan Airlines flight attendants included sky-blue blazers and matching knee-length skirts.
The uniform was designed by Hanae Mori and came with white gloves, black low-heeled pumps, and a rounded sky-blue hat.
Then, for most of the ’70s, cabin-crew members sported dark-blue minidresses.
Also designed by Hanae Mori, the uniform was worn with a glossy red belt and dark-blue shoes – both of which featured large red discs reminiscent of Japan’s flag.
Flight attendants accessorized the ensemble with white gloves, black tights, a blue and red scarf, and a wide, rounded hat.
Since 2013, Japan Airlines flight attendants have worn crisp uniforms designed by Keita Maruyama.
The collection includes a classic black suit, a tailored jacket with gold buttons, an A-line skirt, and a belted short-sleeved dress.
United’s first uniform for flight attendants was forest-green and grey.
According to The United Airlines Historical Foundation, the ensemble consisted of a pale-grey blouse, double-breasted wool blazer, and pleated calf-length skirt – all worn under a matching cape with a collar.
Flight attendants accessorized the uniform with a forest-green beret.
From 1968 to 1970, United flight attendants wore a collection of mod-style minidresses designed by Jean Louis.
Made of double-knit wool, the shift dress featured short sleeves and a thick white stripe around the neckline and down the front. The item came in four combinations of the colours “Hawaiian Sunset” (coral red), “Maliblue” (navy blue), and “Miami Sands” (off-white), according to SFO Museum.
Attendants wore the dress with a structured military-style hat, according to The United Airlines Historical Foundation.
Currently, the airline’s uniforms are contemporary and business casual.
Introduced in 2013, the collection includes black trousers, skirts, sweaters, vests, and blazers with two silver lines on the sleeves.
Womenswear options include two styles of dresses: a black sheath dress and a royal-blue sheath dress with black stripe detailing.
The airline will roll out new garments for flight attendants in late 2020.
Designed by Tracy Reese, and made in partnership with Brooks Brothers and Carhartt, the modern collection features new colours like Pacific Blue (bright teal), Premium Purple (plum), and Atlantic Amethyst (bright purple).
In the late ’50s, flight attendants for Scandinavian Airlines wore classic navy-blue uniforms.
The ensemble included a collared off-white shirt, fitted jacket with four large gold buttons, calf-length pleated skirt, and structured baker boy-style cap.
The airline released a new summer uniform in 1967.
According to Scandinavian Traveller, Scandinavian Airlines’ online magazine, the uniform was designed by French couture house Carven, which was acquired by China’s Icicle Fashion Group in October 2018.
Today, Scandinavian Airlines flight attendants wear navy-blue outfits with royal-blue accents.
The collection was designed by Ted Bernhardtz and includes colourful patterned scarves, which Amandah Andersson made exclusively for the airline.
Southwest Airlines had trendy mod-style uniforms in the late ’60s.
Flight attendants wore orange T-shirts and red short shorts or orange minidresses, accessorized with thick white belts and matching go-go-style boots.
In 2017, the airline rolled out its first new uniforms in 20 years.
Womenswear options include a black shift dress with blue and red stripes and a grey shift dress with black and red stripes. The menswear option includes a black blazer, grey vest, grey trousers, and red tie.
In the late ’60s, Aeroflot uniforms included eye-catching hats.
The tall, structured cap was rounded on the top, forming a distinct, crescent-like shape. Cabin-crew members wore the hat with fitted blazers and skirts.
Two decades later, the airline’s flight attendants wore classic navy-blue ensembles.
In the mid-’80s, Aeroflot’s uniforms still included a unique hat with a rounded top.
Today, Aeroflot flight attendants can be easily recognised, thanks to their vintage-inspired, bright-red outfits.
- Read more:
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- 10 flight attendants reveal what they always have in their carry-ons
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