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Style in the skies

Flight attendant fashion over the years, from hot pants and go-go boots to more sophisticated and glamorous looks.

Designed by Fiolel Colangelo, this is the second generation of the early Boeing/United Air Lines uniforms circa 1933-1936. In the years 1935 and 1936, a “United Air Lines” armband was worn by cabin attendants on the left arm to celebrate the birth of the airline from the union of four smaller carriers. The photo is part of the temporary "Style in the Aisle" exhibit at The Museum of Flight in Seattle, Wash., which runs through May 30, 2011.

Museum of Flight Collection/PM N

Delta flight attendants model the 1940-42 summer uniform, left, and winter uniform as they pose with a DC-3 plane in September 1941.

A group of flight attendants model the Delta winter uniform worn between 1965 and 1968.

Fashion designer Oleg Cassini created a futuristic look for Air West flight attendants during the carrier's brief existence prior to its purchase by Howard Hughes. The basic uniform, worn 1968-1971, consisted of a textured polyester dress and a jacket with an unconventional side-buttoning configuration. The pieces came in a selection of bright, solid colors inspired by the natural colors found at Air West's destinations, including fern green, Pacific blue and canyon red.

In this United Airlines publicity shot, a stewardess serves a passenger. The photo is believed to have been taken during the 1970s on a Hawaii flight, given the clothing.

Peggy Verger/ original returned

Flight attendants for Qantas Airways wear uniforms designed by Emil Pucci between 1974 and 1985. In 1974, Qantas made history by evacuating 673 passengers from Darwin, Australia, in the aftermath of Cyclone Tracy, setting a world record for the most passengers on one flight.

A Delta flight attendant, wearing the 1968-1970 uniform, serves alcohol to passengers.

Leonard Fisher sought to invoke a pioneering spirit with his “American Field Flowers Collection” for American Airlines circa 1971-74. The uniform consisted of a solid-color dress with either short sleeves or a shoulder-covering yoke across the top. The dress came in a choice of red, white or blue with contrasting colors along the border. A matching jacket could also be worn over the dress. Perhaps the most memorable component of this uniform was a flower-print smock worn over the dress during in-flight meal service. The frilly, white garment was decorated with prints of poppies, cornflowers, daisies and sprigs of wheat. The apron's design evoked the image of resilient frontier women carving a life for themselves in the American West.

This 1971 photo shows almost all the Southwest Airlines flight attendants at the time. The airline's uniforms for its first air hostesses, as flight attendants were called at the time, included hot pants and were introduced on June 18, 1971.

Southwest Airlines / Southwest Airlines

A flight attendant models a Pacific Southwest Airlines uniform circa 1973. The discount airline, also known as PSA, was known for the iconic smile painted on the nose of its airplanes and operated from 1949 to 1988.

A United Airlines stewardess is seen in the early 1970s in this Boeing 747 publicity shot. In 2010, United and Continental decided to join forces in a deal that will give the new airline United's name with Continental's logo.

Museum Of Flight Archives

In the early 1970s, American artist and designer Mario Armond Zamparelli was contracted by Howard Hughes to create a new corporate image, as well as flight attendant uniforms, for Hughes’ recently acquired airline, Hughes Airwest.

A Delta flight attendant uniform, circa 1979-1983.

Qantas Airways flight attendants model uniforms designed by Emil Pucci. The crew wore the uniforms between 1974 and 1985.

A Southwest Airlines flight attendant takes beverage orders from passengers circa 2000. In 1999, Southwest flight attendants were named the most helpful, according to a J.D. Power and Associates report.

Delta Air Lines flight attendants pose in the Richard Tyler-designed uniforms. The uniforms, inaugurated in 2006 and still in use today, include a signature red wrap dress.

Delta flight attendant Faye Brown wears a Richard Tyler-designed uniform. The uniforms are meant to evoke a time when air travel was "glamorous and sophisticated," according to Tyler.