I recently asked Curtise about her new job, whether she would have to wear a uniform etc. and this got me thinking about all the uniforms I have worn over the past ...ahem, thirty years. Regular readers may know that I've worked at Gatwick Airport doing one thing or another, nearly all of my working life...would you like to see what I was wearing?
If so, please sit back,relax and enjoy the picture heavy ride.
My first uniform was Air Europe's where I worked as a 'Cabin Attendant'. Here I am as green as they come in 1984, aged 21.
This was a high quality uniform - Aquascutum no less! And after take-off we wore a grey pinny to ensure it stayed clean... disposing of sick bags was a regular chore.
Make up regs were very strict - foundation, blusher and toning lipstick were the order of the day. At Air Europe all cabin crew were made to retire at the ripe old age of 36 as they were considered too long in the tooth to continue! WTF?
A year later I found myself working for a smaller airline - British Island Airways and compared to Air Europe their uniform felt very drab indeed.
Hostie or Private Eye ?
Brown shoes were virtually impossible to find in the 80's (apart from Van Dal!) and almost always I had to buy a different colour and dye them.
After a couple of years we got a new uniform which was very of it's day. In summer, a shirtwaister dress with shoulder pads and detachable neck bow and in winter a skirt and boxy jacket.I was glad to see the back of that Stetson when a new style hat was issued too.
"...your lifejacket is equipped with a light and a whistle"
I had a lot of fun at BIA where I learnt to schmooze with the Flight Deck crew....
and post flight, drink copious amounts of alcohol whilst counting the bar takings.....hic.
By 1989 things were looking dodgy at BIA so I jumped ship to Caledonian Airways.
Here I am (front row) after receiving my 'wings'
The tartan uniform was very recognizable after a certain TV advert and was made by Kinloch Anderson; kiltmakers to Her Maj and the royal family. Being 100% wool it wasn't half sweaty arriving in Barbados!
'Cally' was a much larger airline and for the first time I was flying on wide-bodied aircraft to long haul destinations. Uniform regs were exceedingly stringent.
'Short hair must not touch the collar, ponytails must be no longer than 10" and tied back with a black velvet ribbon 1" wide. Earrings must be gold or pearl studs only'
At our initial interview we were weighed and once 'on the line', monitored. Anyone seen to have put on weight was called into the office, put on the 'fat list', grounded and instructed to diet.... it seems utterly unbelievable nowadays. The largest sized uniform was a 16, I wore a size 10 but was still told by the old bat who ran uniform stores " you can't afford to put any weight on those thighs"
After a long haul flight we let off steam at room parties in the crew hotel and many a drunken shenanigan took place.
I could tell you lots of stories about what happened to rude passengers....but I don't want to put you off your tea!
Over the years I worked my way up through the ranks from
No.2 (not the most pleasant job title) responsible for the on-board bars...
to Cabin Service Co-ordinator, leading a crew of eleven on an aircraft configured to seat 393 passengers. After promotion to the most senior rank I had the dubious honour of wearing a plain navy jacket and my jabot was now edged with lace!
The millenium was a milestone in more ways than one, it marked the end of my flying career. In Sept 1999 I was informed that my rank was being discontinued and that I could continue with the company as a Purser or take voluntary redundancy, I chose the latter.
Fast forward 14 years and in that time I have held positions as a check-in agent,
Flight Despatcher - the most unglamorous uniform of all
(hi viz, ear defenders and hobnail boots!)
and . Here's my latest uniform,
Have you worn a uniform? Would you like to wear a uniform to be rid of those "what shall I wear" hassles or do you hate to be indistinguishable from the rest?
See you soon.