The most iconic thing about the SQ girl, besides their impeccable service onboard the Singapore Airlines flight, is their sarong kebaya. It’s so popular that souvenir stores even sell replicas of the uniform. But it’s not just about the print – there’s so much more to the sarong kebaya than you probably know. Here are 10 facts you probably didn’t know about.
Images: Ashleigh Sim, Desmond Wee. Desmond Foo, Jeremy Long, Kua Chee Siong / ST Photo, 123RF.com
Text: Arissa Ha / The Singapore Women’s Weekly / March 2017
For similar stories, read womensweekly.com.sg.
For more stories on SQ girls, read 10 Beauty Tips SQ Girls Swear By and 10 Beauty Habits That SQ Girls Swear By For Good Skin.
The uniform is designer wear
The iconic SQ girl uniform is designed by Pierre Balmain, a notable haute couture fashion designer in 1972. The design has remained the same since its introduction and is one of the most recognisable uniforms in the airline industry.
There is more than one colour
While most of us are familiar with the signature blue of the sarong kebaya, but there are actually four different colours – blue for flight stewardesses, green for leading stewardesses, red for chief stewardesses and purple for in-flight supervisors.
Makeup that matches
While we’re on the topic of different uniform colours, the makeup for each colour actually complements the uniform. Stewardesses can be assigned blue or brown palettes, leading stewardesses can be spotted with olive green, plum or brown eye shadow, chief stewardesses are allowed plum or brown, while in-flight supervisors wear blue, plum or brown eye makeup.
There are safety features you never knew about
The body-hugging sarong kebaya might look uncomfortable, but in times of emergency when mobility is a concern, you can actually tie up the skirt to allow ease of movement. There is a slit in the front of the skirt, and stewardesses can hold the two corners of the fabric, bring it up to their waist and tie it so that the skirt is shorter.
There are no standard sizes
The reason why SQ girls look so good in their uniform is because each one is tailor made. There are no standard sizing for the sarong kebaya as designer Pierre Balmain had insisted on a tailored fit to suit the feminine form.
The neckline holds a secret
The neckline of the sarong kebaya is actually made out of a straight piece of cloth, and takes meticulous skills to craft a beautiful-looking curve which makes up the neckline. There are more than 20 darts on each neckline, and although they look uniform, each curvature is custom for each stewardess.
One uniform for all flights
You might’ve noticed that other airlines have different variation of uniforms, with options of skirts or pants for the female cabin crew. That is because some Middle eastern countries require female cabin crew to cover their legs, but as the sarong kebaya features long skirts, there is no need for a variation of the uniform.
The uniform extends far beyond the sarong kebaya
Although you might think that the sarong kebaya is all that makes an SQ girl, an SQ girl, that’s far from the truth. Grooming is a huge part of the uniform, and that means having the similar makeup and hair. There is also a strict guideline on the watches, earrings, bracelets and rings that can be worn, their permitted colours and also size.
Baby, it's cold outside
When landing in countries with cold weather, stewardesses are required to put on a scarf, gloves and winter topcoat to stay warm. The scarf features the batik print on the sarong kebaya while the topcoat is dark blue in colour.
Stewardesses carry more than one pair of shoes
Most of us spot stewardesses with sandals but since the SQ006 crash in 2000, there had been questions raised regarding protective footwear. Covered shoes were then implemented which are worn by stewardesses during take-off and landing.