The other night while watching the television premiere of Pam Am, I thought about my mother’s big trip to Europe in 1964. Unlike today, traveling then was a rare treat and something to appreciate. If you traveled, you did so in style. Mom carried custom-made luggage by Hartmann with her monogram, of course. She sported a black dress suit from Saks Fifth Avenue paired with black pumps (can you imagine?). Accessories included a racy fedora-style hat and black gloves. On board she brought only her cosmetic case and a small handbag. Once she arrived, not to worry, there were porters everywhere to help with the luggage and taxicabs were not prohibitively expensive. How lovely that must have been.
Pam Am takes us on a journey back to those days when flying was glamorous. Set in 1963, the series follows four young women who have chosen (for the time being) the less traveled road of work rather than marriage. But being an airline stewardess, especially a Pan Am stewardess, was not just any job.
According to former Pam Am stewardesses interviewed for the show’s website, they were treated like movie stars. The airline provided limos, upscale hotels, and plenty of time off. They also insisted on girdles and weight check-ins. Break any of the uniform rules and risk getting grounded.
What caught my eye as far as fashions was the ladies’ uniform, which includes a matching jaunty hat with white piping and the Pam Am flight pin. And … white gloves. Gloves for style have been trying to make a comeback for at least six years. Every fall we see gloves featured in magazines, but not on the street. If this series catches on, gloves just might enjoy a revival.
The uniform itself is a well-tailored suit. I love the powder blue color and short nipped waist jacket. The skirt hem is straight and ladylike below the knee, just what we’re seeing today. Can’t go wrong with a smooth fitting short sleeve white Oxford shirt. Nice detailing includes a back belt and BTW, the shirt remains untucked. The whole ensemble is simple yet chic.
Another attention getter is the iconic Pam Am flight bag. They all have one and it’s good-looking. I kind of suspect it’s more stylish than the original, but in any case I predict we will soon see the silhouette coming and going.
(A little side note: The show bought use rights of the Pam Am logo from current owner Pan Am Systems Rail Road Company. Bet that cost some bucks.)
There’s something very appealing about the consistency of everyone dressed stylishly the same. In addition to the principal characters, costumer Ane Crabtree dressed the extras, most of whom were passengers. Ane chose for the ladies high collar coats, fur stoles, and hats. To my eye they were kind of matronly looking, creating a nice contrast to our adventurous heroines.