Vivienne Westwood’s Virgin Atlantic Uniforms

Posted on July 02, 2014

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We’re going to let kindly ol’ Mr. Press Release have the floor, because we found ourselves re-reading this more than once to make sure we were getting it.


Leading British designer Vivienne Westwood officially launched her much anticipated red hot uniform collection for Virgin Atlantic.

Original design and sustainability are top of the priority list for Vivienne and Virgin in this long term partnership: upheld through intelligent cuts; beautiful tailoring; as well as polyester yarn made from recycled plastic bottles and a nano finish to extend the garments life and retain colour.

Vivienne Westwood has redesigned the iconic cabin crew look with an elegant, and feminine red jacket inspired by the “Bettina” jacket designed in the early 90’s with a matching red pencil skirt with a cheeky dart to the rear. The hand drawn wing designs are a recurring theme across all members of the team while a new addition of bags for ground staff has also been introduced by the Ethical Fashion Initiative in Nairobi in collaboration with the International Trade Centre, United Nations.

Vivienne Westwood’s design references her enduring interest in 40s French couture cutting, with a double breasted ‘drape coat’ for women, and updating the classic red shoe with Westwood’s iconic hourglass heel. Male crew will be provided with a sharp Saville Row inspired three piece suit with a contemporary twist in a deep burgundy Oxford weave wool.

Over 7,500 staff including cabin crew, pilots, Clubhouse staff and Virgin Holidays employees will receive the new uniform consisting of 22 pieces in total which has been trialled across airports and on board over the past year.



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Okay, first: these are really nice designs, every single one. We saw a few of them in person on a recent flight and they’re definitely eye-catching. But unfortunately, cheap fabric is cheap fabric, no matter how well it’s cut or how innovative it is. You can see that cheapness, even in heavily photoshopped pictures like these. The women’s tailored jackets don’t move well at all. You put a hand on your hip and the whole thing rides up. And all the pants have that “hanging off the waist” look of a lot of service uniforms.

Which brings us to our next point. We had to re-read that press release because we couldn’t quite believe that they’re expecting women to serve drinks in pencil skirts and heels. And since the height, weight and age requirements of flight attendants were long ago tossed away, we’re a little shocked that they’re expecting the range of women (and men, for that matter, because those tight vests and jackets don’t look conducive to stowing luggage) who make up modern flight attendants to wear such specific and restrictive styles. If you’re built exactly like the people in these pictures, then yeah; you’ll look great in tightly tailored jackets, pencil skirts, and ruffled blouses. Everyone else will just have to suck it up.

Also: women pilots with scarves tied around their necks, wearing heels? Seriously? Please tell us that’s optional.

Look, we are fully supportive of any attempt to make the world a more stylish place. And these are, as we said, some really sharp looks. But it’s not 1965 anymore. We’re long past the Glamour Age of Airline Travel. There’s something a little odd about the idea of service people getting all dressed up on an airplane full of cramped, annoyed people in flip-flops and shorts and trying to navigate an 18-inch wide aisle in 3-inch heels while handing out 4-dollar cans of Diet Coke.





[Photo Credit: Virgin Atlantic]

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  • GorgeousThings

    Whoever wrote the press release needs to take the “Apostrophes 101” class again.

    • smayper

      You said it before I could. Twitching!

      • 3boysful

        I’m with ya’ll. Couldn’t read past it.

    • barbarienne

      And the comma lab.

      I shouldn’t be surprised. A friend of mine proofreads ad copy as a freelancer and she tells me some horror stories.

    • KinoEye

      As someone who spends a good part of their working days with press releases from far lesser entities than Vivienne Westwood, I’m kind of appalled. My local garden club shouldn’t write better releases than someone from Westwood/Virgin’s PR/advertising firm.

      • mixedupfiles

        I wouldn’t defend that release, but isn’t it awfully provincial to assume that Brits should get with AP style? I don’t know which style book Virgin prefers, but Chicago, for one, doesn’t find the “over/more than” distinction entirely necessary.

        • KinoEye

          Ah! I wasn’t thinking of that — not a provincial thing, just a knee-jerk reaction from years of having it drilled into my brain. Could very well be that it came from a British firm, especially considering the “cheeky” bit.

          • kerryev

            I though AP recently dropped the over/more than business? They dropped one of their silly zombie rules, and people freaked the eff out.

          • KinoEye

            Sigh… you’re right. I didn’t realize I was defending a rule that no longer existed! And I can now breathe a sigh of relief and begin to recover from my copyediting teacher automatically deducting 50 points for AP errors — that one, specifically. Let the healing begin.

    • My eyes crossed over one too many times trying to read that press release.

    • SugarSnap108

      Or “English Composition 101.”

    • shirab

      Also, should have his/her pay docked for the invented verb “trialled.” Ick

      ETA: On the other hand, “a cheeky dart to the rear” made my morning.

      • GorgeousThings

        Mine too – but I want to see the cheeky dart!

        • decormaven

          Maybe Mr/Ms. Press Flack needs a cheeky dart for such a cheesy PR.

        • kimmeister

          I scrolled down to look specifically for said dart!

      • Carleenml

        apparently we’re not as far removed from 1965 as TLo thought.

      • Fanny_Trollope

        Straight out of the Daily Mail. A high level of journalism to aim at, indeed.

      • formerlyAnon

        I assumed “trialled” was UK business jargon – and common enough to be, if not correct, acceptable. No?

        • Skippymom1

          I thought this too – ::off to check with my Brit friends::

        • shirab

          I swear I posted a reply to this. Not sure what happened to it. Anyhoo, in the interests of accuracy I went and looked up trialled. Merriam-Webster does not list trial as a verb, but Oxford dictionaries online does, so I guess it is permissible even if I don’t like it. Like so many PR-isms.

          • formerlyAnon

            It got held because of the link. I think posts with links have to be individually approved to post by our ever-slaving blog hosts, in order to keep out the spam.

          • shirab

            Good to know. Thanks!

    • anneshirley

      Punctuation too.

    • MoHub

      Hypenation 101 as well. Actually, the writer needs full-tilt grammar tutelage. My editorial eyes were twitching as I read the press release.

    • FrigidDiva

      I LOVE coming to the comments section and reading all the BKs that are grammar Nazis like mysel. No one else that I work with ever gets up in arms about grammar or spelling. People act like since we’re in the internet age that everyone just writes quick blogs and that grammar, spelling, and syntax doesn’t matter anymore. Also, does it bug anyone else when you get an email or inter-office email from a supervisor and it’s full of errors? People that make more money than I do should be just as educated in basic writing.

      • GorgeousThings

        ITA!! Sr. Celia and Sr. Jacqueline would have flunked me for the kinds of mistakes I see on communications that cross my email.

      • marlie

        I recently got an invitation to a coworker’s retirement party that said “Your Invited…”. It hurt my soul.

        • FrigidDiva

          My supervisor sent out an email yesterday about it being the hump day of the year, however, she put HUMP DAT instead of DAY. I don’t even know where to start with that one.

          • decormaven

            Get down on it!

          • demidaemon

            I wouldn’t be able to look at her with a straight face for years. It reminds me of when ta secretary sent out a school-wide e-mail about a misdelivered pizza that no one wanted to claim or pay for. It was so bizarre and odd that all you could think about was how hilariouys and weird it was.

          • FrigidDiva

            Let’s just say that this is the latest in a long line of gaffes she’s made. It’s beyong frustrating to have her as a boss.

        • decormaven

          It’s time to retire when “Your Invited” is invoked.

          • marlie

            It wasn’t the retiree who sent out the invitation, but I’m sure that she would have been mortified had she seen it.

          • decormaven

            Yes. Not meaning to be ageist, but those who were schooled prior to computers and auto-correct do tend to proof written items a bit more closely than those who have followed. I used to telephone the newspaper when I saw printed gaffes; I’ve given up now because there are so many. Knowing the slashed state of current newsrooms, there’s no use to flog a beaten horse.

          • lundibleu

            Argh, yes. I had a conversation about this with my daughters teacher at school – daughter is getting a computer to use for writing etc. and I wanted to make sure that auto-correct was disabled as standard on the build for it, precisely so that she didn’t get into the habit of having everything auto-corrected.

        • bitchybitchybitchy

          My soul is hurting along with yours….

        • Danielle

          I’m on a parenting forum and a TON of women spell mommies as “mommy’s” and I want to go weep in a corner every time it happens.

          • demidaemon


          • Alloy Jane

            Social media comments: They make me despair for humanity.

      • shirab

        Oh, I feel your pain. At the beginning of every school year when we get letters of introduction from various teachers, I hold my breath reading them in the hopes that nothing will make my eyes bleed. There have been a few howlers over the years, I’m afraid, though I try to console myself that the errors are due to sloppy (or nonexistent) proofing more often than actual lack of skills.

        And don’t even get me started on tattoos with spelling/grammar/punctuation errors.

        • makeityourself

          I just yesterday mailed a copy of a university brochure back to the admissions office with a note attached stating : Please do not use the expression “less students” in your marketing materials. It should be “fewer students” in every case. Grammatical errors on your brochures create a negative impression of your institution.

          • shirab

            This is my favorite online community ever. Makeityourself, you will appreciate that after seeing one too many yard signs from a local “masonary” company, I finally called and spoke to someone in their marketing office and said you know, your profession/area of expertise is actually “masonry.” She sounded surprised.

          • decormaven

            Oh, glory. That is just sad.

          • SierraDelta

            I LOVE LANGUAGE PURISTS! When our children were in grade school, a friend and I had a weekly wine-and-weeping session as we perused the contents of the school’s Thursday folder, which included samples of our darlings’ work. The principal penned a cheery letter updating us on school events, and Barbara and I played a game where we’d take a sip of wine each time we encountered a typo, an orphan comma, a confused apostrophe, a wandering phrase, a misplaced modifier — anything that would have made Sister Jeremy (PhD, Yale, 1941) weep. Many Thursday nights we were not to be trusted around sharp knives and gas ovens, so our sympathetic spouses brought dinner home. Our now-adult offspring still laugh about it and fondly recall the Pizza and Parsing Nights of their childhood.

      • TropiCarla

        Your last two lines caused me to purr in solidarity. It chaps my ass when I see the errors in emails from superiors within my own group — worse still when they are from big-wigs at the publisher.

        • FrigidDiva

          My coworkers think I’m incredibly snobby, but I can’t help it. My aunt was an English teacher and I was an English major in college. I’ve been sorely tempted a few times to send the email back with corrections.

          • marlie

            My mom was a high school English teacher for 30 years, so I think I am genetically predisposed to be a grammar snob. My mom also firmly believes that all forms of written communication, including texts and emails, should always adhere to grammar standards. It’s rubbed off, and therefore seeing things like “r u l8” in a text make me want to cry.

          • Lower L

            Back when I was doing online dating, I included a statement in my profile that e-mail messages with text-speak such as “u” “r” or (God help us) “ur” would make me set a land-speed record for hitting the “delete” button. Perhaps not surprisingly, I was unsuccessful.

          • Jackie4g

            Yes. In real life, you can’t correct anybody, ever, unless they are your offspring. It’s very tempting. I understand!

          • SierraDelta

            I have a t-shirt that says “I’m silently correcting your grammar.” An adult bagger at the grocery store said that because the company had misspelled “your,” I should ask for my money back. . .

          • Jackie4g

            Yes, but that person is bagging groceries, not defining the architecture of a software project. Somehow, it’s not the same transgression with a person doing a (shitty) job like that. It’s much more difficult when the English language is mangled by the highly paid individuals who never should have passed 11th grade English, let alone have been graduated with degrees from prestigious universities. Do the technical departments just close their eyes? I’m in the dark!

          • SierraDelta

            The bagger had actually lost his job with a pharmaceutical company (messy takeover, forced layoffs, widespread pain and misery) , which is why he was a 61-year old grocery store flunky. He had, in his former life, edited an industry journal for international distribution, so I was disheartened by his remark. He was disheartened because his perception and his experience job hunting are combining to make him feel that his age makes him unemployable in his field ever again, and he has four years of living on the edge until Social Security provides some relief.

            My husband occasionally had to write his boss’s memos for the CEO, and it made him want to stab someone with his Montblanc fountain pen when the boss always changed “sponsored by the CIO and me” to “sponsored by the CIO and myself.”

            Maybe there’s a different set of language rules in the upper echelons that we’re not privy to.

      • Jackie4g

        Everybody made more money than I did, and that’s why they had me writing their stuff.

      • Skippymom1

        My biggest problem is proofreading my own writing. Oh, and here’s a “f” to add to your “mysel”. I do that ALL the time. As one grammar fiend to another, hope you don’t mind. 🙂

      • demidaemon

        What’s really sad, for me, is now that I have spent the last five years of my life correcting horrible grammar and seeing it everywhere, now I have osmosed those mistakes and catch myself making them all the time. of course, i correct them before they are publicized, but still, I am having deep self-loathing about it.

        • formerlyAnon

          Oh lord. That really is awful. I mean, all silly we’re-all-entertaining-each-other-online hyperbole aside, that would be awful. Betrayed by one’s own inner copy editor.

          • demidaemon

            I know. And there was even a mistake it that last comment. I’m doomed I tell you, doomed.

    • demidaemon

      I had to recheck it, because it was so pretentious I missed the punctuation fail on the first pass. But, yes, indeed, apostrophe fail.

  • gabbilevy

    Yeah, but I WANT that red coat.

    • M_E_S

      Both the coats are pretty damn fabulous. And I like the bag, but these women are criss-crossing the globe. They need something a little bigger, don’t you think?

    • jilly_d

      Right? I always had a bit of a desire to become a flight attendant, but I’m considering making the career change right now just for that coat.

    • Pretty. Much.

    • bitchybitchybitchy

      Love the coat-it needs to be in my closet NOW. As for pencil skirts and 3 inch heels for a transatlantic flight? Not practical, but as another BK commented, the attendants must swap the flashy shoes for more practical and comfortable ones once they are in flight.

    • 3boysful

      Same here, but as I look at it, it looks great open, but is kinda making that model look bulky when the coat it buttoned.

    • decormaven

      I lurve that coat, but being a flight attendant now is pretty much confined to sweeping up after the elephants. At least they can look swank strolling through the airport.

    • J.W.

      ME, TOO!

    • CT14

      I want that red coat, too. Lovely.

    • redhead with tattoos


  • M_E_S

    This reminds me of one of the early Project Runway challenges, like the one where they redesigned the mail service uniform. There’d always be that one contestant who would refuse to take into account what the people were doing and what most of them looked like and just make them look more fashionable.

    Except here, that person already won.

    • Angela_the_Librarian

      Yes, in that challenge it was Austin Scarlett’s outfit complete with cape that was too over the top and ridiculous for the challenge. Wendy Pepper’s was probably the most practical, but it was also the ugliest. I think Kara Saun won that challenge. Sorry to be off-topic, just waxing nostalgic for the golden days of PR.

      • decormaven

        I loved Jay’s design! Miss those days…

      • bitchybitchybitchy

        As I recall Austin also did a pinch-hit modelling turn in that challenge when one of the models( it might have been the ditzy Morgan) didn’t show.

      • Jackie4g

        You go right ahead.

  • I had the thought about heels too – although I have never seen a female flight attendant in anything but, I’d like to think there were other options.

    • MilaXX

      I’ve been on a few flights where they have heels for boarding and swap to flats for the actual journey. I could cosign that.

      • That makes sense.

        You can’t use the emergency evacuation slides with heels on…

        • Grumpy Girl

          I thought you have to take off all shoes? (I dunno about flip flops–those are borderline “shoes”.) I remember hearing about one of my neighbors German relatives being on a flight where they had to use the evacuation slides, and the man arguing about why should he remove his practical shoes, as they were not pointy heels. (Cause, yeah, that’s what I worry about during an evacuation . . . )

          • My memory of the emergency procedure cards was just heels, but I could be wrong!

            I also worry about being stranded in foreign waters without a passport having obediently left my handbag on the flight.

          • Sophie

            I worry about being stranded in foreign waters. Or not being able to send a last message before a crash because I don’t have a cell phone with me. Really, shoes and a passport don’t really matter all that much when you’re going to die of thirst. (I’m a very worried/paranoid passenger, but I try to keep it all in until the plane has landed.)

    • zuzu

      The women in pants on the left and the woman standing next to the guy in the apron are wearing red flats.

  • Skippymom1

    Spot on. Especially the female pilot. Yeah,right. But I will take a purse and one of the coats [in a better fabric].

    • Terri Ellis

      I’m just happy to see them thinking of a female pilot! That statement in and of itself makes me sad (or sadder given Hobby Lobby). But the lack of a pants option for the female flight attendant is rather appalling.

  • stephkornblum

    I fly Virgin Atlantic frequently and ALL of the flight attendants look like this. I have never seen one female or male attendant over a US size 4-6. They must take it into account when hiring.

    • Sophie

      Up to now, the only airline I’ve travelled with whose flight attendants didn’t look as if they all came out of the same mold was Finnair. Even then, they mostly differed in age, not in size. The airlines definitely take your appearance into account.

      • BA has a variety of ages and a bit more variation in body types, but still not a lot of variation.

      • conniemd

        The smaller Airline puddle jumpers like United Express or Alaska Airlines have attendants of different body types and skin colors and even ones with gray hair.

        • bitchybitchybitchy

          Southwest flight attendants come in a a variety of ages and sizes, too.

        • Jackie4g

          Yes! Was about to say the same.

      • Legally, companies are allowed to take appearance into account for “image” as long as they don’t do it on legally suspect rationales like race, religion, age, etc. It’s why Abercrombie is allowed to hire “preppy” types, but why they were smacked with a lawsuit for equating “preppy” with “white.”

        • Skippymom1

          Please tell me they lost this suit. PLEASE. I have an irrational hate for that brand. And they deserve it. Channing Tatum being a model or not.

          • They settled, but the settlement involved paying out 40 mill, so they basically lost. You can read about it on their wikipedia page, under Legal Issues: Employment Practices.

          • formerlyAnon

            Darlin, that would be a RATIONAL hate.

      • Grumpy Girl

        Oh the smaller planes/less prestigious flights are full of the non-standard ages and sizes. As someone who flies out of a small airport, I rarely see these kinds of stereotypically-sized attendants.

        • Sienamystic

          I fly in and out on some of these milk run flights, and they’re definitely full of a wider range of people – younger and older, heavier, greyer. One recent flight had a very friendly flight attendant who asked me to hold her bag of soda cans for recycling so she could “go potty.” (I was in the back by said potty.)

        • Sophie

          I’ve mostly flown on very long distances, so I usually get the stereotypically-sized attendants, it mostly hit me with Malaysian Airlines.

    • kimmeister

      Fitness is an important part of their role. You can be heavy as long as you can swim in the ocean while pulling an incapacitated passenger.

    • demidaemon

      I’ve flown mostly AA and UA, and almost all the flight attendants I have seen have been universally fairly thin, although age varies widely.

  • barbarienne

    Right with you on the ridiculousness of getting the crew all gussied up to administer a sardine can. Even as recently as the late 1980s I can remember planes being marginally comfortable and civilized, but those days are long ago.

    OTOH, perhaps this is an attempt to cling to the last vestiges of civilization in air travel. They can take our legroom, but they will still make sure the crew looks like relics of a golden age? Though if that’s the aim, yeah, better fabric would be advised.

    Mostly I’m wondering if the guy in the gray suit (4th pic) is wearing a wig stolen from the set of Arrow.

  • Skippymom1

    Did anyone feel like you were watching a highlight reel from “Catch Me If You Can”? but super colorized?

    • Wink

      Yes, the designs would be great ‘costumes’ for a film. Not so great for real people working in those jobs.

  • As soon as the word polyester appeared in the press release I knew the end result would be a massive disappointment. What the hell’s wrong with cotton, anyway? Good cotton fabrics wear like iron and retain color well. Plus they are a damned sight more comfortable.

    • barbarienne

      Cotton takes too long to dry if you have to rinse it out in a hotel room sink. It’s more expensive than polyester. And it wrinkles.

      That said, 99% of clothing I own is cotton, and the 1% is silk, because artificial fibers suck.

      • Then do a 60/40 cotton poly blend, which requires no ironing, dries quicker, costs less, and retains a good deal of the breathability of cotton.

    • GorgeousThings

      Even adding rayon into the blend would make the fabric look and move better. I’m sorry, but the whole eco-sustainability thing goes out the window the minute you apply dyes to any fabric. I’ve never bought into it. And wearing 3 inch synthetic upper heels on a transatlantic flight is a one-way ticket to Bunionville.

      • MilaXX

        with a side trip to BadBackLand

        • decormaven

          I shudder, thinking of trying to pushing around overloaded onboard bags all day in heels. Back surgery is no fun, BKs.

      • And in consideration of the fact that the textile industry is responsible for more water borne pollution than any other industry, I’d say we have quite a ways to go yet. I admire anyone who is attempting to change the paradigm, but less polyester is going to be a good thing. And there’s nothing whatever wrong with flat shoes.

    • conniemd

      Even hearing the word polyester makes me think of the 50’s and 70’s leisure suits and women’s pants suits (shudder). I trust that they have all been consigned to burn in hell.

      • demidaemon

        Or something. I’m afraid of what the burning would do to the atmosphere. Though, if it is actually in hell, they might enjoy it.

    • kimmeister

      Plus, polyester’s not going to do very well should a fire break out in the cabin!

      • SierraDelta

        Polyester, combined with the chemicals in hair spray, would make a fire in the cabin a literal living hell. . .

    • zuzu

      I was annoyed that the women got polyester and the men got wool.

  • lundibleu

    I had that thought about heels. The only airlines I’ve seen where women have (or at least seem to have) had choice have been KLM, Air France and BA.

    Actually, I like the KLM uniforms – they’re smart and practical. And yes, they still look cheap because it’s cheap fabric, but they don’t have the look of “seriously? THIS is what I have to wear day in and day out?”

    These look good, but I found myself looking through the pictures and going “that’s … not practical. Nor is that. Or that. And that’ll crease like hell. Oh FFS airlines”

    • Jessica Freeman

      My bestie is a flight attendant for American. The kicker…they have to wear heels IN the terminal, not on the plane. So they have to traipse around the airport in heels until they get on the plane.

      • lundibleu

        That’s just daft. I mean, at least they get to not have to wear them on the plane, but why bother making them wear them at all? There’s usually some daft piece of uniform guidelines I never understand.

        • Jessica Freeman

          It’s all about presentation I suppose. I found it odd as well.

        • formerlyAnon

          Image, branding, what have you. I had a neighbor who worked behind a ticket counter for Delta & even though no-one could see their feet, the women had to wear a 2″ heel (and the men dress shoes or something that would pass for them.) I will know that the revolution is upon us when women’s business-appropriate/work-appropriate shoes are as back-sparing as men’s.

          • lundibleu

            I hope that it is soon. I remember the girls at my secondary school going on strike until they were allowed to wear trousers, and that was 20 odd years ago. Amazes me that image and branding require high heels – my sister had to point out that heels made bugger all difference and wouldn’t be seen behind the desk she sat at in a bank, and bosses agreed that plain black shoes would be acceptable.

  • smayper

    I had the exact same reaction to the pilot in heels.

  • Mary Carpenter

    Once again you’ve crystallized my thoughts eloquently.

  • NMMagpie

    I am all for recycling and sustainable technologies but fabric made out of recycled plastic bottles is never going to be the thing.

    • sienna elm

      Absolutely! and I used to work in a high-end camping/sporting goods store where they have been promoting that type of thing for over 15 years. The fleece jackets made from recycled bottles had an almost oily texture that I could never get my head around (or my hands – texture is important to me). As soon as they mentioned the origin of the fabric I just shuddered; it’s probably somewhat sweaty too. 🙁

      • decormaven

        Amen. It doesn’t breathe. Wearing those types of clothes on the hiking trail can lead to funky fabric that’s hard to clean- much less rinse out by hand.

  • James

    It’s too early to face that female pilot in heels. Nu huh. Practicality is obviously not the word of the day here.

  • Ellen O’Neill

    The press release misspelled Savile Row.

    • bitchybitchybitchy

      I weep for that

    • decormaven

      Another cheeky dart for Mr./Ms. Press Flack.

  • MilaXX

    The womens jackets are the worse offender here. That collar is too tricky for it’s own good. The jacket itself is going to look horrible on any woman with boobs.

    • lundibleu

      That’s true, which is strange ’cause normally Vivienne is good with boobs.

  • NeteH

    Can’t you fly a plane in heels?

    • SugarSnap108

      Well, they do a lot of walking in the airport, too. And I find it excruciating to sit for a long period in heels then walk around again — But I’m not much of a heel-wearer, either.

  • Jaeda Laurez

    I love the overcoat, but as has been expressed by others, anybody with boobs is going to look crazy in that suit jacket.

  • FibonacciSequins

    Same thoughts about the cheapness of the fabric, and how impractical some of these pieces are. The group photo shows some women in trousers and flats, so hopefully the skirt is optional for them. The heels look comfortable-for heels-and stylish, but women should be able to wear flats at work if they prefer.

    As for wearing polyester, all I can think of is my uniform from my high school job at Burger King. Yuk.

    I was hoping to see the ‘cheeky dart to the rear’!

    • Kelly

      I wore those polyester BK uniforms! Ugly red and yellow tunics that were hot and showed all the stains and smelled like pickles and grease no matter how often you washed them.

      • FibonacciSequins

        Yes! Even when they were clean, they didn’t really feel or look clean.

      • I read that as Bitter Kitten uniforms and thought *surely* T.Lo don’t issue polyester uniforms!

        • bitchybitchybitchy

          My first thought was Bitter Kitten uniforms, too-and then I remembered Burger King. I once worked for a local fast food chain, in polyester, of course.

          • Constant Reader

            I did too! It was a polyester double-knit dress under which a slip was required. I got a helluva rash on my tummy the first summer because that shit did not breathe. My mom made me some lightweight cotton slips to wear under the dress (impossible to find in those days — at least in a high school girl’s price range) and that helped a lot.

            The short-sleeved polyester dress also had the advantage of not only being hot in the summer, but freezing cold in the winter — no sweaters allowed. Ah, the 70s.

          • bitchybitchybitchy

            My fast food service stint was 1972/73, my first real job after graduating from college. Polyester uniforms and nurse shoes-which did come in handy, what with grease spills and condiment mishaps.

        • BuffaloBarbara

          But can you imagine if we did have uniforms? How fabulous would TLo uniforms have to be? I smell a real woman runway challenge!

          • Spun from the finest unicorn mane.

    • FrigidDiva

      Another former BK employee! I worked there during highschool during the early 2000’s and their unforms did not improve. I don’t know who designed their pants, but they certainly weren’t created for anyone over a size 2.

  • Sophie

    I want that red coat. I’d want that black coat too if it were tailored to fit a woman. As to the rest… well, I like tailored uniforms, so these are fine to look at, but I have no idea about practicality.

  • deelup

    I want to live in the world where flight attendants dress like this, the passengers dress like Victoria Beckham on a flight, and the planes never crash or disappear.

    • Constant Reader

      I’d join you there as long as we can add a lot more legroom, better food, and nobody searching my curly hair at security for God knows what.

  • Anna

    I was all excited from the thumbnail, but yeah, pretty much my thoughts regarding the cheapness and the impracticality.

    On the other hand: come fly with me, let’s fly, let’s fly away, red coats.

  • Jarethee

    Y’all need to take ANY flight in Asia with an Asian airline company. Korean/Japanese/Taiwanese airlines and others make a point of only hiring beautiful young shapely women who wear these kinds of clothes. I feel kinda bad for them on the twelve, thirteen hour flights, but they look flawless all throughout it.

    • Anna

      This is the truth. Albeit, the last time I flew Cathay Pacific or Japan Airlines was about 15 years ago, but those women are Fan Bingbig-level STUNNING.

      • Kimbolina

        I flew JAL recently and the women were ALWAYS impeccable. I can’t remember how long the flight was (JFK to Tokyo, probably something like 14 hours) but their makeup was perfect for the entire flight. It was ridiculous.

        • Anna

          It truly is ASTOUNDING. The next time I fly JAL, I am going to have them write down every single product they use so I can buy it all at the duty-free.

          • Kimbolina

            This is a brilliant idea!

          • Anna

            I really must know. No primer and/or setting spray I’ve ever tried has given my makeup that kind of lasting power.

    • lobsterlen

      I flew to Korea not that long ago. In addition to everything else you mentioned … all the flight attendants boarded the plane wearying HATS!

    • kimmeister

      The Malaysia Airlines uniforms are beautiful too!

    • gloriana232

      I need to take this flight so I can feel kinda grossed out that the airline thinks I care about looking at skinny pretty young women? Nah. No thanks.

  • Jaime

    I made the mistake of wearing heels on a flight once – I normally wear flip flops or laced shoes that are easily removable, but I didn’t feel like trying to fit the shoes in my luggage, so I decided I’d just wear them home. I’m well over 5’8, those heels put me at nearly six feet and I live in a city with a small airport that only takes those little jets with two seats on each side. Needless to say, I had to hunch over all the way to my seat.

    My great-aunt traveled regularly and – this was in the 80s – she always advised me to dress nicely for flights, I think because she spent so much time flying in the 60s and 70s when it was expected. She always showed up wearing sensible heels, a long calf-length skirt, a nice blouse, a nice jacket, and an expensive scarf (she lived in NYC most of her adult life and it showed). Screw appearances, let alone fashion, I’m gonna be comfortable. Not that I’m going to show up wearing fuzzy pink PJ pants and a ratty t-shirt, but on anything longer than 2-3 hours, especially on international flights, I WILL wear yoga pants and a hoodie. If I have to be cramped for ten hours, it won’t be with a nice pair of jeans pressing on my intestines and making me fart every twenty minutes!

    Of course, the last time I traveled internationally, I arrived at my hostel at 8:30am and the room wasn’t ready until noon, so I got to spend my first morning in Germany in… yoga pants and hoodie. Considering Europeans are generally much more well-dressed than Americans on average, I stood out like a sore thumb, which was a tiny bit embarrassing. But then I got my room, changed into black pants, nice shirt, threw on a pretty scarf, and all was well! (It’s amazing how much a scarf helps you blend in with the locals, too.)

    • Skippymom1

      I would like to meet you and your Aunt! And I hate those little planes. I don’t mind flying, but flying into/out of Myrtle Beach SC to visit my Mom – they are the only type of planes that make me air sick. And at 5’8 – I can feel your pain in HH. I always wear flats with jeans.

      • Grumpy Girl

        Sad to say, you get used to it. I was already excited at the idea of 2 seats on each side! (rather than 2 and 1). All my travel these days is business (because in Hell, they make you sit in an enclosed space with two hateful teens and a terminally high-anxiety Mr Grump) so I do wear heels, but not sky high ones; I have to walk in downtown Chicago with them, too. Of course, I walk out of flats regularly, so those just aren’t my jam.

        • Skippymom1

          I am only in my 40s but have advanced RA – but still will happily buy my girls all the high heels they want. I like heels – and I have a very tall husband – but even in college [Washington, DC] I was always a flats kind of girl. Now the sidewalks of Chicago? Now I REALLY want to meet you – that’s fierce. I have friends there, and well….makes DC look like a walk in the country.

        • formerlyAnon

          “because in Hell, they make you sit in an enclosed space with two hateful teens and a terminally high-anxiety Mr Grump”

          This made me laugh – not only is it a great description of air travel, it nails a friend of mine’s description of her last family vacation! (Her family can be lovely, though they weren’t in that circumstance.)

    • zuzu

      A soft jersey dress is as comfortable and practical as yoga pants and more stylish. I also try to avoid as much metal on my clothing as possible in case I encounter a metal detector. I even have a special wire-free travel bra because my underwires inevitably set the damn thing off.

      • Jaime

        I rarely wear skirts due to chub rub – I hate tights, etc.

        I haven’t had a problem with underwires (or rivets on my jeans) setting off airport security since the first couple years after 9/11 though – I never wear a belt and I dump all my jewelry into a side pocket in my carryon, and that’s it.

        • zuzu

          Jockey Skimmies are da bomb for chub rub.

          • Jaime

            I have a pair of light bike shorts that I use, but they don’t work with anything much shorter than above-the-knee length. I just hate the extra effort – it’s something else I have to fiddle with! (another reason I will never be a fashionista…)

  • conniemd

    I heard on TV this morning that Travel & Leisure picked Virgin Atlantic as the number one domestic airline simply because they have redesigned the interiors and strive to look different than traditional cramped airplanes. I guess this is a part of their “look”

  • PatAfan

    I won’t be excited about stewardess, excuse me, flight attendant uniforms until they bring back the bowler/safari/Shriner hats that Braniff used. The prints made me a little air sick, but even I know we must suffer for fashion.

  • Jessica Freeman

    Cheap or not, I need to get that red coat.

    • Skippymom1

      I’ll take the purse too. I just carry that while wearing my black wool vintage winter coat.

  • Garcia Loca

    I want that winter coat! Cheap fabric or no.

  • PatAfan

    A question: Since I’m limited on who I fly because of where I live, and the youngest flight attendant I’ve had on a flight in 3 years has been 50 or so, maybe 45, does VA really have flight crews who look like this? Not being ageist because remember, I flew Braniff, just curious.

    • Skippymom1

      I know of one very hot pilot for United Airlines – he was our neighbor for years [he made flying a plane sound like mowing the yard – he was amazing. And incredibly handsome]
      I do only fly United, because of him – and I find, for the most part they are younger and quite attractive. I don’t know if that is United’s hiring MO – and I do know pilots have a cut off retirement age – but yeah, there is some eye candy in the sky. 🙂

      • PatAfan

        My rx’s college roommate and qb of their football team became pilot for United. He was smokin’ hot and had some stories to tell. I think flying used to be Peyton Place, now more Hallmark movie of the week. Don’t know if that’s good or bad!

    • boweryboy

      I haven’t flown Virgin Atlantic but I have flown Virgin America and everytime I’ve flown the flight crew were young, attractive, and largely gay. So, in my limited experience, I would say yes.

      • PatAfan

        Interesting. My college roommate quit end of our soph year to fly for TWA when you had to be gorgeous to get the job. Two of my acquaintances are older, both fly for American, I think, but both are beautiful AND married to pilots for years. Times change.

  • MartyBellerMask

    But why the clashy reds??

    • Constant Reader

      I wondered about that, too.

      Edited because it’s too hot for me to use standard English. Apparently.

  • boweryboy

    I like the idea of polyester yarn made from recycled plastic bottles but polyester. I know they’re uniforms but it’s all so…costume-y.

  • KES4K

    I’m not sure ‘resist staining and ‘extraneous white shirt ruffles’ are compatible concepts.

  • Kate Andrews

    I’d say NO to any kind of heels. Seriously? It’s nuts.

  • crash1212

    I need that red coat. Under the category of Wishful Thinking: Maybe creating stylish uniforms will be the start of bringing civility back to air travel? I know… hahahahahahahahahahaha! Also, couldn’t agree more about the heels – I hope there’s an alternative for them.

  • Lisa Crocker

    On an overseas United flight yesterday, the female flight attendants all wore heels as the plane as boarding, then changed to flats after take-off. The glamour illusion seems kind of pointless.

  • Lizzyisi

    Hey, at least they showed the pilot uniform on a woman.

    • And she seems to be the senior of the two.

  • AnaRoW

    One of these days I’m going to fly Virgin just to check them out. I do like the fact that they strive to be different even if it doesn’t always work.

    • boweryboy

      The partner and I always fly Virgin when we head down to San Francisco. It’s actually kind of fun. When you enter the plane it’s cool and dimly lit with chill trip-hop playing as if you’re walking into a lounge. And everything is done by touch screen – whether you want coffee, a pillow, a cocktail, or a movie. You just punch in what you need an moments later the attendent appears.

  • lexilexi

    I have an outdoor rug made from recycled plastic bottles. In the summer it is hotter than hell.

  • Kelly

    They do look stylish, but not very comfortable or practical. Blouses that have to be tucked in are hellish if you’re in a job that requires much lifting or stretching. Ditto tight buttoned jackets. Plus, those high-necked ruffles would drive me mad. But I guess comfort and practicality for workers is probably not the airlines’ goal here.

    And what’s with all those punctuation errors in the press release? Virgin Atlantic and VW can’t afford to hire PR people with basic editing skills?

  • FoxInSocks

    Gorgeous designs but epically impractical. Form over function at its finest.

  • Courtney

    They seem awfully excited about the “cheeky dart across the rear.” A – that sounds like something entirely different from what they meant. B – what exactly makes a dart “cheeky?” Is there a line at which it stops being cheeky and becomes fresh or sassy, maybe?

  • Danielle

    Holy shit the COAT THOUGH

  • RescueMe23


  • paintedfish

    that red coat is super cute and i must have one, cheap or not.

  • marlie

    I *HAVE* to have that red outer coat.

    And re: TLo’s comments, I can’t remember the last time flight attendants were wearing anything close to this put-together.

  • Gatto Nero

    The red coat is gorgeous, and the men’s overcoat is fine. The rest looks dated to me — and impractical, as TLo have argued.
    There has to be a better way to do “sustainable” than to make these uniforms out of plastic. Can you imagine how uncomfortable/unbreathable these would feel on a long flight?

  • SophieCollier

    These uniforms have to last as long as possible, thus the industrial-grade fabric. It doesn’t move as well as a frailer, more nimble cloth, but that’s the tradeoff when you’re mass-producing uniforms for employees. These are very retro, and I hope the shoes are comfortable.

  • All the employees on the Deutsch Bahn wear vests with their uniforms, and over the range of male and female body types they all looked quite sharp to my eye. The female attendants on Swissair seemed to do all right in pencil skirts, since you don’t really need to sprint in a plane. My question would be can women choose to wear the uniform with pants, or are we going with mid-century gendered clothing, too? These uniforms look great here in this pictures, but the idea of working in head-to-toe polyester all day makes me itch. Here’s hoping that the three-inch heels are a styling choice and not a requirement!

  • Shawn EH

    The more casual looks on the far left seem like the best option to me.

  • MusiqueConcrete

    Westwood: From SEX to Virgin.

  • Bad Idea Jeans

    These look exactly like their old uniforms (the red jacket + pencil skirt combo). I haven’t seen any of these dude uniforms though.

  • Jennifer Bober

    I caught the apostrophe glitches too. I have to say though, the female flight attendant’s winter coat is pretty spectacular and I wouldn’t mind having a coat cut like that.

  • holla

    I am imagining that these people are on the flights where all passengers are as fabulous as Dita when they travel. I want to be on that flight. I am loving the red women’s coat

  • Emily

    Is it just me, do these look inspired by the Regency era? Esp. ladies collars & the hem on the pants in the last picture there. Too bad they don’t have the fabrics for it.

  • MannahattaMamma

    I’m quite curious about “a cheeky dart to the rear.” It sounds painful, frankly: darts to the rear cheeks and etc. It also sounds like something an irate passenger might do to pass the time.

  • BuffaloBarbara

    I just got back from a trip, and had… occasion to visit the back of the plane, near where the attendants’ seat is. It’s even narrower and more cramped than passenger seats, and a few inches lower. Getting down to it in a pencil skirt and heels, especially in fabric that moves badly? (BTW, thanks for the confirmation; it looks like it moves badly. Can we have a fashion trend toward fabric that moves delightfully with the body? kthnxbai) Yipes.

  • Black nail polish also seems to be required.

  • Cristian Roman Castro

    Hi ..

  • I was hoping to see a shot of the “cheeky” dart at the rear, myself. These look more like costumes than working uniforms.

  • christykins

    What positions with the airline do you think the two women at the far left (in the group shot) are supposed to have? I’m especially curious about the first woman, who looks like she’s wearing a cute but casual outfit (and flats!). Thoughts? I’ve never seen anyone working with an airline who is not wearing a blazer or vest of some sort.

  • Tracy_Flick

    I’m always amazed how many flight attendants wear REAL heels, the kind I have to pry of my feet with the jaws of life after date night. I wouldn’t be surprised to see half the female FAs on a flight wearing shoes just like the ones shown.

  • quiltrx

    Uncles, you nailed my gut reaction in a more tactful way. These are clothes for thin, pretty white people. Ladies with boobs or hips, and men with a belly, need not apply. These fabrics look like they would be hot and miserable to wear, too.
    I’ll give her an A+ for the coat porn, though. Those need to be mass produced in many colors.

    • kimmeister

      Why only white people? Several non-white people are shown here.

      • quiltrx

        I only see one woman who might be non-white, and two guys (though the guy with the longish hair could very well be olive-skinned Caucasian).
        No one here who would pass the “brown paper bag test” as my black co-workers call it.
        And I’m sure you can agree that everyone here is pretty stick-like in shape.

        • kimmeister

          Oh there’s no denying that everyone here is thin and pretty. I just think that plenty of non-white people are also thin, pretty and could look fine in gray or red.

          • demidaemon

            Perhaps even better. But I agree with quiltrx that these advertising photos are fairly uniform, racially.

  • cwade1211

    I’m with you all on the grammar. But the line in this PR that really got me was “polyester yarn made from recycled plastic bottles and a nano finish…” For garments to work in? Like, on my body? No, thank you!

  • LibKat

    One long wait on a hot runway in that heavy-looking, cheap material and they will be looking at stank suit.

  • Mothra

    I would absolutely wear that red coat. regarding the press release: tl;dr.

  • Paula Pertile

    I got stuck on “polyester”. ew

  • susan6

    I ignored the press release and just looked at the pretty pictures. The uniforms do look great from a distance, but the key thing about what to wear when handling an aircraft and passengers is FUNCTION. Function over form. Sorry, Vivienne. I pity the female captain who’s stuck piloting a transatlantic in 3-inch heels.

  • suzq

    What, exactly, is a nano finish? Is this the same as microfiber? Does this magically whisk all odor and perspiration away? Or is this some sort of nano technology that resists any kind of stain, from spilled food and drink to baby spit-up and god knows what else? Or is it “nano” because it is so imperceptibly small?

  • JauntyJohn

    I flew Virgin America from L.A. to Dallas recently, and was *stunned* to see the flight attendant gals in heels with some real height to them. They were to a woman quite young, and, from witnessing their personal interpretation of the crew uniforms, seemed very committed to a “look,” so this might fall under the umbrella of a corporate pride kind of thing.
    With that said I’m a fan of burgundy, but unless it’s a monitor issue I think this shade is too black to compliment the red.
    And I couldn’t agree more with the fabric concerns.

    Still, some sharp looks here, and all the coats are AWESOME.

  • that red overcoat is gorge. everything else is yawnsville.

  • Jackie4g

    The last real job I had was as a technical writer. Grammar is pretty bad out there, usage is regionally bad, and it’s universal, can’t just blame the undereducated. This whole publicity stunt reminds me of Braniff Airlines of TX, way back when, who thought that having their stewardesses (which is what flight attendants were called), change wardrobe during a flight would be a good idea. It was just silly. I like the retro designs, but as our Uncles have pointed out, they won’t be suited to all personnel, not will they be work worthy. It’s going to be very fragrant in the cabin with all that polyester.

  • snarkykitten

    is that Macklemore modeling the burgandy waistcoat thing??

  • PinkyK

    I agree 100% But love the red tote! I want one!

  • “…a cheeky dart to the rear.” Virgin, what are you thinking?

  • unbornfawn

    Those look so unpractical.

  • formerlyAnon

    I’m pleased to get the seen-it-in-person review. I thought these were sharp but had pulling and ripples (especially the women’s) that one doesn’t see in professionally photographed clothing and made me wonder how bad they might be in real life.

    I predict a lot of people getting stern memos about needing to keep their jackets buttoned – memos oft-ignored.

  • I think a lot of airlines require the pencil skirt and heel combo, at least on first class. I was surprised when we went to Paris that they had to do the long haul in that kind of getup.

  • lalahartma

    They need to wear some Fluevogs, like Air Canada!

    • kimmeister

      I don’t even know that those are. Sounds like a Volkswagen model!

      • Alloy Jane

        Or a Douglas Adams invention.

      • formerlyAnon

        Google ’em.. They are [mostly] clunky-cute shoes that I find quite appealing and have the rep for being wearable – though I’ve never owned a pair.

  • Ashleigh

    you better believe they kick off those heels and put on flats once everyone is seated

  • golden_valley

    Lots like old fashioned double knit. Would be difficult to move in.

  • e jerry powell

    I was a little surprised that VW didn’t go all Naomi Campbell and put the FAs in six-inch heels, frankly.

    The overall design is kind of okay, but if the materials, however green, are impractical, what good are they?

  • NinjaCate

    I really do like that red coat though. If it’s cheap it just means I can afford it. LET ME AT IT!

  • Cynica

    Yes, they’re attractive, but now the flight attendants will be even grumpier. I’d rather have the cheerful Southwest attendants in their shorts, khakis, and polo shirts, thankyouverymuch.

  • Judy_J

    “There’s something a little odd about the idea of service people getting all dressed up on an airplane full of cramped, annoyed people in flip-flops and shorts and trying to navigate an 18-inch wide aisle in 3-inch heels while handing out 4-dollar cans of Diet Coke.” Precisely. Well put, TLo.

  • Kate4queen

    Why no red lady pants? Not everyone looks great in a pencil skirt and heels. But then I have noticed that the average age of Virgin female flight attendants seems way lower than say United Airlines or American. They giggle more as well.

  • Those coats are stunning!

  • Judih1

    I like the red over coat. But other than that TLO is right, these outfits are not appropriate for today’s airline professionals. If this was 1965 yes, but not for 2014. On the other hand, their INFLIGHT video is the bomb!

  • demidaemon

    The number of books that are only full text going out with errors has increased in recent years. I’m thinking that the current crop of copy editors needs a refresh and some good old-fashioned grammar school hovering to get it right.

  • YourBaloneyDontGotNoSecondName

    The second from the right is The Crier.
    The one on the far right is The Ambitious Bitch.
    Fourth from left is The Sassy! Girl.
    Third from left is The Sassy! Black Gay.
    The second from the left is The Crazy.
    The one on the far left is the first one to go home.

    Oh wait, these aren’t the new PR contestants.

  • GorgeousThings

    Okay, can we talk fabulous flight attendant uniforms for a moment? I watched “The Fifth Element” last night. I had forgotten how amazing the costumes were (Merci, Jean Paul Gaultier!), and the flight attendants’ uniforms on the ship to Floston Paradise were amazing!

  • Shelby


    But for real, I want that red coat.

    • That coat is everything.

      • Shelby

        I’m imagining it in better fabric. Because it can’t be recycled polyester too, can it? That would be horror-inducing.

        • True. I’ll reimagine it in a nice wool or wool blend.

  • save_the_hobbit

    They look very nice, but wow…I really hope those heels are OPTIONAL. It’s a freaking plane for goodness sake. And while I personally would choose a skirt over pants, I certainly hope women aren’t forced to wear the outfit with the skirts. This is 2014 after all, I completely understand professionalism but making women wear high heels and a skirt is not professional, it’s just misogyny. Anyway, thus ends my lesbian-fueled rant. In short, I am super freaking girly and love skirts, but not every woman is.

  • myra

    Laugh at me if you must, but I really think that any designer attempting to create uniforms for flight attendants/pilots should take more cues from Star Trek than from the binding airline costumes of the 1960’s

    • sweetlilvoice

      So knee high boots and mini skirts it is then! I still cannot believe how short the skirts were on the original show.

      • myra

        They totally were haha, although I was thinking more Next Generation:)

  • Columbinia

    Well that last paragraph has ended all thoughts of air travel for me, at least on Virgin Atlantic with flight attendants made cranky by synthetic, non-functional uniforms.

    As to the uniforms, it doesn’t matter how you dress it up with fancy words and concepts, it’s polyester. I can’t see men taking to that school uniform jacket, and the fussy collars and ruffled blouses for the women make for a cluttered neckline and chest. Also, where’s that “cheeky dart”? Honestly, I doubt female flight attendants will accept the absence of a pantsuit option. Finally, I don’t think stewardesses wore uniforms this complicated back in the 1960s.

    On a positive note, I love the red overcoat.

  • FridaStaire

    It’s used a lot in science writing. Annoys me too.

  • Beth

    So are you guys suggesting that airline personnel wear shorts and flip-flops?? Or a happy medium?

  • Daktari100

    Press release aside, the uniforms are fab!

  • Hehe! I love how you guys write! <3

  • joything

    WANT the red coat. Agree with you about the heels. Whut? Ain’t no cabin attendant in the sky gonna wear those.

  • Phyllis Craine

    Guys any opinions on the Air Canada uniforms that have John Fluevog shoes?

    • crashtestbonnie

      OMG! I just totally Googled that and LOVE. 🙂

  • Toby Wollin

    “You put your hand on your hip and the whole thing rides up.” What this means (and you are right – it is a sign of cheap goods in the sense that the design of the armscye is off) is that the armscye is too low. This is a problem of women’s ready to wear all the time (which is why it’s so easy to find sleeveless stuff and so difficult to find dresses and blouses with sleeves). It is not an easy item to fit and can only really be done well in custom work because you have to get right up there in the armpit.

  • Bless you guys for that commentary.

  • Sara Brams-Miller

    The last time I flew the flight attendants were all wearing heels. I always thought that was a requirement, regardless of the airline. Although typically they’re 1.5 in. heels, not 3 inches . . .

  • I worked for Virgin Atlantic about 10 years ago and the pencil skirts were part of the uniform then too. We were even encouraged to wear red lipstick. Richard Branson needs to calm down.