Ins & Outs of the KLM Uniform

What inspired the current KLM female flight attendant attire? Who designed it? How do you wear it? And more importantly, what’s so special about it? I was fervent to find out the answers to these questions, so I investigated.

When I was just a little girl (ok, maybe I was 17) I had dreams of being a flight attendant one day. Now that didn’t exactly work out. I ended up being scared of even the idea of getting on a plane.  Still, the fascination with the profession never left me. And the outfits, oh the outfits. Having been in love with fashion from a young age the uniforms were part of the greatness, to me.

So, with this in mind, I dove into the world of the newest KLM stewardess ensemble.

martvisser_klm_uniforms_2014

The design

The oh-so-recognizable KLM cabin attendant uniform was designed by famous Dutch couturier Mart Visser. He received the daunting task to think up a design both wearable and classy. “I was very proud to receive this request” Mart says in the Cabin Attendant Magazine. “The new uniform is feminine, very versatile and timelessly elegant”. Old uniforms are recycled and used for things like carpets in KLM aircraft.

A-line or pencil?

Depending on your body type and/or preference, you can choose the style of your uniform. There are two types of skirts, an A-line and a pencil skirt. For the first time in KLM uniform history, you can get a pair of pants, which are also very classy. Besides two skirts or two pairs of pants (or one skirt and one pair of pants, mix it up!) you get a white blouse, a jacket, a long shawl and a short shawl, (which can be worn 9 different ways!) a vest and an overcoat.

Because cabin attendants are the faces of KLM, it is important they always look their best. Therefore, a list of strict uniform guidelines must be followed. To give you an idea: the white blouse needs to be worn with the vest, a shawl must be worn at all times and longer hair must be put up in a bun or ponytail.

UniformEsmee1

Trial Runs

The uniform is tested by the crew before it is presented to the world. They test it on wearability and comfort. Of course looking spotless and presentable is a must, but you can’t work a 12 hour flight in an uncomfortable uniform. For example, the cabin crew was presented with a few types of lining for the jackets. The one that’s used now was voted best.

99 Sizes

After the trial run, it’s time for every cabin attendant to come in to Sodexo Corporate Wear for their final fitting. When I heard there was such a thing, I almost jumped out of my seat with excitement. Would I? Could I? Try on such a uniform? And so I did. (I’d say pics or it didn’t happen, but you’ve probably already seen those). At the fitting, I got measured and assigned properly fitting items that come out of a range of 99 different width and length sizes. This way you get the best fit possible.

UniformEsmee4

Who’s who

If you’re ever not sure who to ask for help on travel matters when you’re flying KLM, here’s a tip to recognize the different types of stewards and stewardesses. The ground staff has a thin gold stripe on their jacket sleeves. Pilots have a wide gold stripe, but also a completely different uniform and of course the famous pilot hat. And last but not least, cabin crew members are sporting a silver stripe (or multiple) on their sleeves. Of course you can always ask them anything, even if it’s outside their ‘work field’. They will direct you to another staff member that can help you further, or take on the matter themselves if they can.

Uniformstyles

Ready for take-off

On March 29th 2010 all of the KLM cabin and ground staff were sporting the new uniform at precisely 00:00. Since this day, the royal blue outfit makes an impression everywhere it goes.

Posted by:   Esmee Droog  | 
Join the conversation Show comments

Wout

Interesting report, does it make you want to work in the blue uniform as well now? ;)

Esmee Droog

Very much so, Wout! I’m considering a career change ;)!

Roseli Aparecida Wostog

Bom dia a todos. Com certeza as meninas ficarao, + elegante e charmosas, amigas .
Voceis sao tudo de bom, para companhia KLM. Abraços para todos. Boa Viagem.

Esmee Droog

I don’t speak portuguese, but fortunately Google translate does. Thank you for your kind words, Roseli!

Walter Bakker

Hi Estee.
I have always been fa sciatic by anything to do with airlines and what the crew wear has been a part of that since the early seventies when I joined South African Airways as a cabin crew member. After 2 years I moved on to a private airline and in the late seventies had an interview with KLM but unfortunately did not “make it”(just passed the then age limit) otherwise I would have lived my life in Holland and retired recently.
Interesting how one decision changed my life.
I love KLM (a legacy from my immigrant parents who always flew KLM – my first time was in 1957 from AMS via Reykjavik to Toronto and my second time was in 1967 (on the fabulous DC8-63) from Johannesburg to Rome.
Oh, and sô my tale can go on for anther 30 years of always travelling on the fabulous blue birds.
Sadly no more visits to gorgeous Holland though… pension no to big and the world has now just become too pricey to travel…
However, your blog now and other KLM pages and sites keep me abreast of, what I have considered the greatest airline in the sky, all news and interesting “stuff”.
Thanks for the well written article.
best regards
Walter

Esmee Droog

Ah, that’s a wonderful story, Walter! You have done a lot of amazing things in your lifetime, I see. Thank you for your kind words about KLM and we hope that we can welcome you in Holland again some day!

Rashheed

Look imporesive

Mike de Souza

I see that the first picture in this blog is a mirror image. But very interesting and keep up the wonderful blogs.

Esmee Droog

Do you mean the one with me on it? The scarf is inside out, she was still working on it haha :) Thank you for your message and reading our blogs, Mike!

Mike de Souza

Just look good at the picture and you will see that it is a mirror image. Look at the lady her sleeve and at your scarf. This definitely tells you that it is a mirror image. Or is her sleeve also inside out?

Esmee Droog

Mike, her sleeve is ‘upside-down’ because thats just the way the logo is sewn on. Turn your screen upside down and you can read the “sodexo” perfectly. Thanks for your eye for detail though.

Mike de Souza

You are correct, thanks for the explanation and the beautiful blogs. Keep up the good work.

Esmee Droog

No problem! Thanks for your messages :)!

Dane

Nice report! I wish to be a flight attendant at KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

Esmee Droog

Thank you, Dane! You and me both!

Sergei

Hello, why there is no name badge anymore?
Helaas voor mij…Maar ik hoop dat mijn Keerst 2015 momentje zal uitcomen :)

Leah

is it a requirement to speak dutch if you apply for a klm cabin crew position?

Katiebb

Hi esmee are the skirts knee length and do they rise if so would they allow my to wear trousers as I have a thigh tattoo and it wouldn’t be visible in trousers

Bob

what brand of pantyhose do the KLM ladies war, so shiney and pretty

Funbus2018

What’s the hosiery requirement lest going away from black barely black etc ?

Cheers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading