Uniforms were previously made by tailors until Finnair's flight attendant staff reached 500. Ease of care and potential for combination are some of the key modern requirements.
By the way, do you know how to tell apart the flight crew from other uniformed Finnair personnel? Flight crew members wear a pair of platinum wings on their suit lapels.
Uniforms reflect the trends of their time
During the post-war period, the first Aero uniforms included stockings made of artificial wool. The ingenious flight attendants are said to have acquired nylon stockings from the black market or all the way from Sweden.
The hat of the uniform was called a side cap. When no longer needed, they were given to dockworkers to use.
The uniform adopted in 1969 reflected the optimism of the space era. It came with a mink hat that was later reintroduced with the following uniform, after receiving a new colour.
The gloves were designed by Sakari Sauso and shoes by Pertti Palmroth, representing the very best of Finnish design.
It’s a pity that the silver blouses were soon abandoned because they proved to be impossibly hot to wear. Even stewards used to wear silvery Lurex turtleneck shirts.
Accessories – traditional key elements of flight attendant outfits
No flight attendant uniform is complete without a quality silk scarf. Finnair personnel have worn scarves by big names such as Dior, Hermès, and Marja Kurki.
Flight crew members have to follow a strict dress code that even covers accessories. Scarves, bags, gloves, and shoes are part of the uniform, and the members of personnel are not allowed to use their own accessories. Even umbrellas are included.
There are also rules on how much jewellery and which colours are allowed. The new uniforms adopted in 2002 were a significant departure from the previous ones, as the traditional gold-coloured buttons gave way to platinum ones. As a result of this, many flight attendants made the same switch from gold to platinum jewellery.
In a way, the development has come full circle: the current uniform incorporates a similar side cap to the one in the first flight attendant outfit. Many passengers think it’s the icing on the cake.
If you want to know more about flight attendant uniforms, visit the Blue Wings of Time photographic exhibition.
Photos: Visuaaliviestinnän Instituutti VVI Oy