Year of Issuance

Jean Louis, who was the first top name designer used by United for stewardess uniforms.   It was supplied by the Fashionaire Division of Hart, Schaffner & Marx of Chicago.

Season Worn
Summer and Winter


Uniform Garments

The winter greatcoat had a military look and was pure wool in the Hawaiian Sunset color.  Snappy double buttoning was in silver, and was emblazoned with a United insignia.  Shoulder epaulettes buttoned to hold the navy blue handbag when it was worn over-the-shoulder style.

Referred to as skimmers by the designer, the modified A line slightly fitted dress had no collar and little cropped sleeves that were set-in rather than raglan. This created ease of movement and achieved the narrow shoulder or “small-top” look that was currently in fashion.  Behind the fly-front closing was an almost full-length zipper that made it easier to slip on and off inflight when the stewardess changed into the inflight skimmer dress. A stripe ran around the neck in a different color that the dress, and then continued down the front.   All stewardesses were issued the Hawaiian Sunset and Maliblue skimmers with the Miami Sands stripe.  They also had a choice of a Miami Sands garment, with either the Hawaiian Sunset or Maliblue stripe.  It was up to the stewardess which one she chose to wear.  The dress was designed as a year round uniform.  They were double knit to resist wrinkling, and had a breathing quality for year round comfort.  To further keep its shape and brand new look, the dresses were fully lined and were designed to be dry-cleaned.  Length was optional, from the top of the knee to three inches above the knee. 

Serving Garment
Inflight, the stewardess changed into a separate dress called  “jet-a-long” skimmer.  It had a modified A line, with Hawaiian Sunset, Miami Sands and Maliblue on the front, and Hawaiian Sunset and Maliblue panels on the back.    The skimmer was made with a blend of Dacron for dependability, avril for no shrinking or wrinkling, and flax to give it a linen look.  There was a convenient patch pocket on the lower right side in the front.  The inflight garment was washable and had a zipper concealed on the left front.  The stewardess had to go into the bathroom inflight to change from the street dress to the inflight skimmer.  It had little cropped sleeves that were set in rather than raglan.

The summer coat was in Miami Sands trimmed in Maliblue and was made with a fabric combining the then latest techniques in water repellency and permanent press finishing to avoid the rumpled look of many raincoats.  The shape was true A-line, closing high with a zipper.  At the front and back of the coat is a yoke giving a little extra ease across the shoulders.

Uniform Accessories

White shortie gloves

Mae Hanauer, Inc. of New York City was the manufacturer of both the summer and winter hats. 
A large silver wing with the United logo was worn on the front of both hats.  The kepi styled hat was worn at all times in public view except inflight.  This hat was patterned after the kepi, which was a French military cap that had a flat circular top and a visor. 

The winter hat came in the same material and color as the Hawaiian Sunset coat, and was finished with multiple sets of stitching.

The summer hat was made of soft leather like vinyl in the Miami Sands color to match the summer coat.  The flap across the top of the summer hat permitted a long white chiffon scarf to be pulled through in case of windy weather.   (This scarf could also be worn ascot fashion with the winter coat).

The official leg covering was Finesse Hip-Lets by Stevens, in off white

Jewelry (uniform issue)
Newly designed silver stewardess wings with a United logo on it, was worn on the front of the hat.  A large faced watch, with a wide white band was optional.

Navy blue and supplied by Terner’s of Miami, Inc.  The handbag, had rounded, streamlined corners, a silver closure, and a strap that could be converted for hand or over-the-shoulder carrying. 

A white chiffon scarf was worn with the summer hat, or ascot fashion with the winter greatcoat.

A choice of navy stretch matte finish vinyl knee high boots, or navy calfskin shoes complimented the outfit.  Depending on the weather or their mood, stewardesses had their choice to wear the boots with either the winter or summer coat.  The boots were only to be worn to and from the airport, and had a chunky heel.

Every stewardess was initially required to wear the same shoe, designed by David Evans.  The shoe had a modified square toe and a fashionable one and one quarter inch heel.  It had a little tongue with a strap across it, with a silver buckle on the strap.

The special stewardess luggage, was manufactured by Skyway Luggage Company of Seattle, and was a 21-inch soft-sided blue vinyl suitcase.  There was also an optional 16-inch matching suitcase that could be purchased for $16.50

Jean Louis called the 1968 uniform the “star wardrobe”.   With this uniform the traditional skywear was gone.  Now for the first time, the uniform look had completely disappeared in favor of a more feminine wardrobe.  Jean Louis put it this way, “There is no reason in the world why stewardesses have to look like tank commanders.”

At 3 million dollars, the uniform was the largest contract ever awarded in the airline industry.  Initially about 4,500 girls received the new wardrobe.  At any one time there were from 75 to 1,000 Hart Schaffner and Marx employees involved in outfitting United’s stewardess corps with their new wardrobe.Jean Louis recommended the contemporary look of a close-cropped coiffure since it was “in” with the look of the small shoulder, and in perfect proportion to the shorter skirt and wider hemline.   For makeup, Jean Louis recommended a natural as possible look.