Uniforms flying economy class

June 17th, 2011 by Felicity Hughes

The news that the uniform for budget airline Peach will be trousers for both women and men must have struck fear into the hearts of uniform fetishists and aficionados across Japan. While stewardess uniforms continue to play a big role in the realm of fantasy, the era of daring designs could be said to be in decline.

For our money the heyday of the flight attendant uniform was in the ’60s and ’70s when hemlines were high and designs were wild. Check out these galleries of ANA and JAL uniforms to see what we mean.  Those companies’ current designs now reflect little of their former pizzazz. The only real flair on either of these outfits is the rather ridiculous bow that staff wear around their necks, while the rest consists of a figure-hugging, but ultimately rather frumpy, dark ladies’ business suit. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that the “Illustrated Book of Stewardess Uniforms,” showing airline hostess uniforms from around the world, is now out of print.

Despite the frumpy designs, fetishists are still hot for these uniforms as evinced when JAL declared bankruptcy last year and news outlets reported that uniforms were being sold on the black market to sex clubs, such as Osaka’s Air Touch, at high prices. Not wanting to sully the reputation of their uniform, JAL tried their best to prevent them from reaching such establishments.

Books aimed at the “air hostess” fetish (often incorporating the elevator girl uniform fetish) are popular, but the  sexed-up uniforms they feature are strictly fictional. Fictional too are the uniforms worn by pop princesses Perfume in the ad campaign they did for Pino ice cream a couple of years ago.

Maybe Peach is flying in the right direction, but fans of retro chic are most likely hoping that Japan’s airlines will follow the lead of  Korean Air, who once employed Italian designer Gianfranco Ferre to create this spiffy number, which has an incredible sky blue scarf that resembles a plane’s propeller.

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