Are you behind the eight ball on creating your Pan Am stewardess costume? Fear not! Here’s a step-by-step guide to recreating the original Pan Am stewardess uniform from the late 60s/early70s.This sexy, stylish (yet, family friendly) recreation is as close as possible to the original, using everyday items sourced from Halloween shops, clothing retailers and craft stores.
With a little imagination and time you should have a very close re-creation of one of the most stylish uniforms to ever grace the skies. In fact, this costume just might fool the pros…even that pesky uniform inspector!
Here’s what you’ll need to complete the look:
1. Pan Am derby in powder blue
2. Pan Am derby pin in gold
3. White short cap-sleeve collared shirt
4. Powder blue panel skirt – knee length (Skin might be in, but stick to knee length!)
5. Closed-toe black pumps with a 2” heel or less
6. Revlon “Fire and Ice” or “Persian Melon” lipstick
7. Nude stockings (2 pairs – always be prepared!)
8. White ascot or scarf
9. White, wrist-length gloves
10. Pan Am handbag (Ideally the Explorer or Orion bag)
For your convenience, we’ve included retailer suggestions and approximate costs. Depending on where you live and your taste, you’ll have to give or take a little on the costs.
- Derby hat in white - buy black if it is the only hope (Retailer: Costume shop or party store; Cost: $15)
- An 8.5”x11” sheet of metallic gold craft paper for printing (Retailer: Craft or fabric store; Cost: $1+)
- White short cap-sleeve, button-down collared shirt (Retailer: Ann Taylor, style #252744, in color #9000; Cost: $58.99)
- Powder blue, knee-length skirt or fabric/pattern – see instruction below (Retailer: Clothing/department store; Cost: $25+ -or- fabric store; Cost: $25+)
- White gloves (Retailer: Clothing/department store; Cost: $10)
- Simple white ascot or scarf (Retailer: Clothing/department store; Cost: $5)
- Simple black pumps with 2” or less heel (Retailer: Clothing/department/shoe store; Cost: $25+)
- Nude stockings (Retailer: Clothing/department stores; Cost: $5)
- Revlon “Fire and Ice” or “Persian Mellon” lipstick (Retailer: Drug store; Cost: $8.00)
- Rust-Oleum Fresh Blue spray paint (Retailer: Hardware store; Cost: $6)
- Hot glue gun (Retailer: Hardware/craft store; Cost: $10)
- Spool of 1” wide Offray ribbon (Retailer: Fabric store # 5808555 in matching blue; Cost $4)
- Can of clear spray fixative (Retailer: Craft store; Cost: $8)
- Pan Am Explorer, Mini-Explorer or Orion bag (Retailer: Find a local store on Panam.com)
Here are step-by-step instructions on making the hat. A word of caution before we start. Take care to provide ample ventilation when using spray paint and wear a mask and gloves.
1. Paint exterior: Apply an even, light coat of spray paint to the outside of the hat. Don’t spray the underside of the brim or interior of the hat. Let the outside dry and we’ll move to the interior.
2. Paint interior: Tape off the inner brim with painter’s tape and paper towels. This will prevent the blue wearing off on your head when worn. Now spray the underside of the hat to ensure there is even coverage. Let dry.
3. Apply ribbon: Measure and cut ribbon to cover the circumference of the hat with an inch overlap. Warm up the hot glue gun and make sure it is super hot before using. Now glue the ribbon to the dry hat. Apply the glue around the perimeter, using as little as possible.
4. Curl the brim: The original Pan Am stewardess hat included a curled brim. To make it happen, apply glue to side temple area of the hat and bend the side brim upward to meet the body of the hat. Pinch the hat together until the glue is dry. You may want to add a stitch to make sure this holds depending on the hat. Repeat for the other side.
5. Make/apply the hat pin: Start by loading the gold paper into your printer and print out the Official Pan Am logo (click to download). Let the logo dry completely before applying to the hat. You can also use clear spray fixative to avoid the logo smudging on the paper. Cut out the logo and glue to the center of the hat approximately ¼” above the top of the ribbon. Only use a small amount of glue.
The original is an 8-panel skirt with a simple waist. This skirt should hit at the knee. You can try to find the skirt at a local clothing retailer or make your own. The closest patterns we could find was McCall’s M6361 using pattern D, and Simplicity 2449 A/B. We suggest making the hat first and then matching the skirt fabric to the hat.
Neat is the name of the game. Pan Am stewardesses where always carefully put together. Make sure your hair is above shoulder length. If you have long hair, you could put it back in a neat bun or twist. The shirt is tucked in, the skirt is pressed, and the shoes are polished. Grab your bag and go – and don’t forget your lipstick!