These Boots Are Made For Flyin’!

THESE BOOTS ARE MADE FOR FLYIN'!

Pacific Southwest Airlines, Flightime Magazine

FLIGHT ATTENDANTS IN GO GO BOOTS

Go Go dancers weren’t the only babes sporting go go boots in the mid-60s to early-70s. Flight attendants began wearing uniforms paired with go go boots during what is widely considered the last few years of the nostalgic “Golden Age of Flying” as the industry moved towards a groovier, trendy phase. After the Golden Age of Flying is what one might call, “The Groovy Age” of flying during the 1960s and 1970s.

American Airlines flight attendant Tina Anderson wearing the new uniform paired with boots, 1968

If the 50s to early-60s is the Golden Age of Flying, the end of that era saw the initial stages of airline travel expanding from a pleasurable, exclusive event into a mode of travel that was gradually becoming (relatively) more ordinary and accessible.

FLIGHT ATTENDANTS AND GO GO FASHION

In the mid-60s, while the go go boot turned into a fashion statement, flight attendant uniforms evolved into eye-catching, high fashion looks such as the collection for Braniff International designed by Pucci in 1966. 

Pucci for Braniff International, 1966
Braniff International embraces high fashion with designs by Emilio Pucci, 1966-1968.
Also designed by Pucci, the bright green go go boot with orange trim is heavily inspired by André Courrèges influence as the silhouette is reminiscent of the earliest go go boot (calf-height with low heel).

The Air Strip, One of six Braniff International uniform collections designed by Pucci (featured orange go go boots with bright green trim). Pucci designed for Braniff during the “groovy” era of flying, 1965-74.

With the rise in popularity and status of the go go boot and what we like to call “go go fashion,” eventually the go go boot made its way into and was embraced for nearly 10 years (from around 1965-1975) in airline industry uniform fashion.

PSA Airlines orange and pink mini-dresses paired with go go boots, 1970

As in so many of our favorite go go looks, flight attendants wearing go go boots captures the power-stance, freedom lovin’, move-makin, traveling babe attitude symbolized by the go go boot. And yet, pairing go go boots with miniskirts (PSA Airlines introduced their first flight attendant uniform miniskirt in 1965) or even something as kinky as hot pants gives the look a sexy edge.

Flight attendant, Sally Lee. One of then start-up airline, Southwest Airlines first flight attendants, 1971.

(Read about Sally Lee’s amazing career as flight attendant, consultant and executive, here). 

Flight attendants in go go boots is in many ways the inspiration for our “These Boots are Made for Flyin’ graphic tee, as well as where we derived the phrase “Go Go lifestyle” to describe the founding principles of our brand.

So, what did it mean to be a flight attendant during the era that we find so inspiring?

LIVIN' THE GO GO LIFESTYLE

Southwest Airlines flight attendants in hot pants and go go boots, 1971

One thing is for sure, you were having a whole helluva lotta fun on your layovers! (We’ve heard firsthand stories)…It was also during this time that the traditional stereotype of the stewardess as a server who married well, settled down, and retired early was exiting stage left for good. The job title received an upgrade, from stewardess to gender inclusive “flight attendant,” paving the way for flight attendants who were what one might call, “living the dream.” 

Southwest Airlines Go Go Crew, 1971

That’s not to say the airline industry was free from stringent, sexist, and discriminatory policies for flight attendants (such as forced early retirement based on age and marital status and weight restrictions with regular weigh-ins, a practice that continued into relatively recent times), or that all flight attendants were liberated by way of their chosen “Go Go lifestyle.” But it does mean that the role of flight attendant like so many things was rapidly changing. The flight attendant profession was evolving simultaneously with every facet of society. Some airlines played upon the concept of the evolving, modern woman through advertising campaign slogans such as, “Marriage is fine. But shouldn’t you see the World first?”

PSA Keeps The Hemline Up

In 1966, Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made For Walkin'” skyrocketed to success. In 1968, flight attendants fought wage and age discrimination and won. Is there a correlation? We think so… Here’s an example of some of the changes taking place while the go go boot was at peak popularity:

Excerpts from Feminist.org Feminist Chronicles — 1968, “The EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) finally ruled that sex was not a BFOQ (Bona fide Occupational Qualifications) for the job of airline flight attendant.” (02/03/68) Additionally, “Twelve Trans World Airlines flight attendants filed a complaint with the EEOC against the airline for sex discrimination. The complaint alleged that TWA maintained two classifications for flight cabin attendants: purser and hostess. Both had the same duties but men as pursers made from $2500 to $3500 more a year”. (04/68)

BABES TAKE FLIGHT

In many ways, the sex appeal of flight attendants was used as a marketing tool to draw in business. And yet, while the industry wasn’t free from sexist marketing schemes and discriminatory practices, simultaneously something larger was happening. Something along the lines of having more freedom to travel, to see the World, and to build a career out of it. To get a go-going. The message conveyed? YOU CAN BE BOTH! You can be a powerful world traveler, living a fast-paced Go Go lifestyle AND a flirty, fun, babe. That’s what we believe at Babes Rage. Your Go Go fashion and Go Go lifestyle is up to you!

In a certain sense, the 60s and the go go boot in particular symbolizes the beginning of people walking out of boxes they’re put in due to traditional societal expectations and limitations. 

We’re never done evolving. Babes Rage! These boots are also made for flyin’!

References:

Feminist Chronicles

From Stewardess To Flight Attendant: 80 Years Of Sophistication and Sexism

The Groovy Age of Flying: A Look At Stewardesses from the 1960s-70s

One Comment

  1. Top 10 U.S. Flight Attendant Uniforms From The Groovy Era (5-1)

    […] game changer. From their business launch featuring casual, cute hot pants paired with lace up go go boots, to the subsequent deregulation of ticket prices in the airline industry in the mid-70s, a new, […]

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: