Casual versus formal uniforms: Flight attendants' self-perceptions and perceived appraisals by others

Alyssa Dana Adomaitis, Kim K.P. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Flight attendants were required to wear a casual uniform consisting of khakis and t-shirts in place of a formal one consisting of a suit. Within a year, management eliminated the casual uniform and returned to the formal uniform. The purpose of our research was to investigate whether type of uniform (formal versus casual) worn influenced flight attendants' role enactment and self-perceptions at work and in what ways, if any, the change to a casual uniform affected employee relationships with peers and passengers. Interview data were gathered from 37 flight attendants who experienced the switch from a formal to a casual uniform and then back again. Participants were asked to reflect on their experiences with co-workers and customers, as well as to reflect on their own perceptions and behaviors while wearing the formal and casual uniforms. Data were analyzed using the line-by-line approach (Van Manen, 1990). Flight attendants' behavior, self-perceptions, and feelings about their ability to carry out their role as flight attendants, as well as their perceived treatment by others were altered when wearing a casual uniform as compared to wearing a formal uniform.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)88-101
Number of pages14
JournalClothing and Textiles Research Journal
Volume23
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005

Keywords

  • Behavior
  • Casual dress
  • Self-perceptions
  • Uniforms

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