We’ve come a long way since the early days of flying, from the rough-ride commercial airliners in the early 1900s to the glamorous, smoke-fogged flights of the 1960s. Now, flying has lost some its sparkle. Whether traveling for work or vacation, we no longer see it quite like the special treat it was for those before us. But in the past, flying was a full experience—and was treated as such. Travelers wore their Sunday best on flights, with cabin bars full of tailored suits and cigarette smoke. Stewardesses were globe-trotting modern women who always looked professional, capable, and enthused. The uniforms of stewardesses, now mainly referred to less glamorously as flight attendants, evolved with the times. Sometimes for better, and sometimes for worse. (We’re looking at you, 1980s shoulder pads.)
The first in-flight hostesses during the 1930s and 1940s wore military-inspired skirt suits in bland hues with white gloves and matching hats. Femininity and glamor took reigns in the 1950s and 1960s, with bouffants, pillbox hats, and funky mod looks making waves. The 1970s welcomed bright colors, psychedelic patterns, and a time when short skirts and Go-go boots were not uncommon to see walking the aisle with refreshments. The 1980s and 1990s were not kind in terms of flattering silhouettes, with oversized ties and shoulder pads being go-to accouterments. But flight attendant uniforms started hitting the fashion scene in a new way in the 2000s, as couture designers collaborated on fashion-forward uniform collections for major airlines. From Christian Lacroix to Emilio Pucci, these designers now create flight attendant uniforms you’d be tempted to wear. From the 1930s to modern day, here are some memorable flight attendant styles throughout history.