How flight staff attire has changed over the years
Air Canada uniforms of years past were shown as a retrospective fashion show in Toronto on March 2 as part of the carrier's 75th Anniversary Year celebrations. This black military inspired belted pilot's uniform was worn at the airline's launch in 1937.
Purchased off the rack at The Bay, this first in-flight uniform set the style standard for the cabin crews' appearance. The two-button beige gabardine business suit was worn by the first two flight attendants on Trans-Canada Airlines.Peter Power/The Globe and Mail
Designed and manufactured by Tip Top Tailors, this uniform was worn by the women-only cabin personnel of Trans-Canada Airlines until 1947. It included a blouse, jacket, skirt, cap, gloves and regulation shoes. The uniform underwent some minor changes during the 1940s with alternate shoes and buttons, and colours changed with the seasons: navy in winter, grey in summer. During war time, stewardesses (as they were called then) went without stockings as the limited nylon available was needed by the war effort to make parachutes.Peter Power/The Globe and Mail
This belted navy style pilot's uniform was worn into the late 1940s, its sober military style ubiquitous throughout the era. Ramp agents' white cotton coveralls had the Trans-Canada Airlines logo on the back.Peter Power/The Globe and Mail
In the 1950s, a more fashionable look began to appear with a knee-length sleeveless dress, boxy jacket and matching high crown pill box hat.Peter Power/The Globe and Mail
In the mid-1950s, cabin crew served dinner to passengers on real porcelain wearing a dressier Christian Dior-influenced pale blue fitted collarless suit, complete with a pencil skirt and shorter jacket.Peter Power/The Globe and Mail
A three-button boxy wool suit and a white felt hat were the basis for the flight attendant's wardrobe in the mid- to late-1960s. Accessories included gloves, black calf shoes and a handbag adorned with a lightning-design Air Canada badge on hat and pocket.Peter Power/The Globe and Mail
In the mid- to late-1960s, pilot uniforms changed to a more comfortable single-breasted style, worn with a white shirt and narrower tie.Peter Power/The Globe and Mail
Replacing the coveralls for ground agents were beige cotton pants with a tucked-in beige shirt with a red embroidered Air Canada logo. They were well dressed to load cargo into the DC-8F Jet Trader that entered the fleet in 1963, when Air Canada became the first airline in the world to operate an all-cargo jet freighter.Peter Power/The Globe and Mail
In the late 1960s, the fourth uniform was transformed from a formal look to young and modern. Flight attendants wore a short A-line dress with a Peter Pan collar and could choose to wear flared trousers, box jackets or coats. The hat was optional.Peter Power/The Globe and Mail
Pop culture also influenced the Wardair uniforms during the late 1960s to mid-70s. The bright blue, above-the-knee pleated skirt and boxy jacket were worn with a high top hat and white gloves.Peter Power/The Globe and Mail
In the early 1970s, flight attendants' uniforms look took another radical turn to a mix-and-match style designed by Canadian couturier Leo Chevalier. Attendants could create their own look from 51 items, including blouses, sweaters, skirts, trousers and shirts. Pants were introduced for the first time, as was plaid.Peter Power/The Globe and Mail
The 1970s' mix-and-match uniforms were accessorised with matching shoes, scarves, belt and even a hat, an umbrella and an elegant trench coat.
In 1996, the uniform blue made way for a deep forest green, highlighted with red Air Canada maple leaf crests on the breast pocket of the suit jacket. Pilots' suits were tailored and simple. Scarves and ties, as well as vests for flight attendants boasted a vivid pattern. There were red highlights on the suit dress and belt, and all buttons were made of brass.Peter Power/The Globe and Mail
Air Canada's most recent uniform was launched as part of the company's rebranding in 2004. Celine Dion wore the flight attendants' elegant tailored blue uniform during her performance for employees in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver. The retro-look uniforms were designed by Debbie Schuchat.Peter Power/The Globe and Mail