Celebrating vintage flight attendant fashion

Mar 12 2012 by
Categories : Fashion

An Air Canada flight attendant uniform from the mid to late 1960s.

Admit it—at one point or another, you dreamed of becoming a flight attendant. Imagine a day’s work consisting of
jet-setting to Fiji, your commute thousands of feet above sea level, and your ride… Then, of course, there’s the fashion. The outfits that adorn the glamorous cabin crew have long been of interest to passengers. Last fall, armchair travellers indulged their airborne fascination admiring the pillbox hats, gloves and slim-fitting blue suits on the ABC series 
Pan Am. Last week, Air Canada celebrated its 75th anniversary with a retrospective fashion show in Toronto displaying every flight attendant uniform since the company’s inception in 1937. (Back then, of course, the term "stewardess" was in full force. Times certainly have changed.) The Air Canada show displayed a selection of looks spanning seven decades, starting with the first in-flight uniform that was purchased off the rack at The Bay. At a time when only nurses could work as cabin crew, Air Canada employed two flight attendants who developed the look: a two-buttoned beige gabardine suit. A brick red handkerchief was tucked into the breast pocket, and matched the red blouse, along with brown shoes and tie. A brown wedge cap topped off the look.
Click through to check out the look!

The first Air Canada flight attendant uniform from 1937.

One telltale sign that the golden age of flying was taking off in the mid-1950s? Passengers were served piping hot meals on porcelain dishes. Fashion kept pace, with figure-hugging uniforms inspired by Christian Dior. The pale blue collarless suit—consisting of a pencil skirt and shorter jacket—accentuated the waist and represented the old-school, first-class glamour that
Fergie sang about years later. So what do our national flight attendants look like today when globetrotting from Toronto, to
Vancouver to
Sydney? (Sorry hopeful Fiji fliers, that’s the closest to the South Pacific Air Canada flies.) Since 2000, the entire crew has been outfitted in colours that match the company’s fleet of air crafts—think reds and maple leaf insignia—designed by Debbie Shuchat. Perhaps there will be a uni overhaul in 2014, when Air Canada expects to welcome its newest jet, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner—which flew in for the birthday celebration—to its fleet. May we suggest a
Jetsons‘-style, space age outfit to match the futuristic vibe of the plane?

Something old, new and blue: The Air Canada team models the company's uniform throughout the decades infront of the new Boeing 747 Dreamliner plane.

Categories: Fashion