The Art of Dressing the Cast of “Pan Am” – Ane Crabtree, Costume Designer

Having a great script and cast are just part of the success of a TV show especially when you are doing a period piece.

Circa 1963

“Pan Am” the new series on ABC is one where the script, cast along with set and costumes are all in sync, one that takes you back to the 1960’s. As someone who grew up in the 60’s, I can tell you that dressing like Jackie O was essential. My mother dyed her shoes to match clothing, always wore a girdle and looked amazing even for the grocery store. Here’s a photo of my mom, two of her younger sisters and myself (youngest) dressed for the zoo.

My mother also used to like to accessorize me (or maybe that was me wanting to be like Barbie?) with gloves and purses and shiny shoes. Either way, it was a way that a girl (woman) dressed and felt confident in herself as she went shopping, out to dinner or even to work.

Circa 1964 - Dressed up for Skipper Chuck's Popeye Playhouse TV show audience

I remember the first time I flew in an airplane was 1972, we went to the Bahamas from Miami where I grew up. They had champagne on the flight for the passengers and it was so much like you see on the show Pan Am, very put together flight attendants and one young girl who dreamed about traveling the world watching them during the flight.

Back to the reason for posting this story on the costumes of Pan Am.

Tomorrow is Halloween – and although this is a little late in coming out – so you might not have time to get all the details right, I thought you’d like to know what they are for the uniform:

  • Blue Suit with a Jacket and Skirt  – The “Pan Am Blue” is close to a Royal Blue. Suits can be found at your local thrift store. If you’re handy, you can tailor your jacket to make it fit your ladylike figure and shorten the sleeves.  Similarly, the skirt length is acceptable just to your knee.
  •  White Collared Shirt –   Spread the collar over the lapel of the suit jacket.
  • White Gloves –  Gloves should reach the middle of your arm. Opera length gloves are too long.  In a pinch, use shorter gloves, not longer ones.
  • Nylon Hosiery –  In the ‘60s, hosiery was not as sheer as today.  Emphasize that you’re wearing hosiery by wearing a less-sheer style.
  • Short-Heeled Black Pumps – The stewardesses of Pan Am were on their feet all day, so find a sensible, lower heel.
  • Pan Am Wings Lapel Pin – A pattern is available for you to download at  Simply print it out, cut it carefully and attach it to a piece of heavy paper or thin cardboard (like that of a milk carton).  Then, affix a safety pin to this and wear your wing on the left side of your jacket (over your heart).
  • Pan Am Stewardess Cap –  A pattern to create your own paper cap is available for download at  There’s a pattern for the Pan Am cap pin provided as well.
  • Pan Am Flight Bag –  If you haven’t yet ordered your own bag, you can create your own by modifying a bowling bag or other similar large bag.
Now for the make-up, you can copy the TV show or watch this video where this makeup artist gives you the how-to session in under 10 minutes – clearly a win-win.
Officially speaking – the cast’s make-up is light, “daytime” make-up.  Make it authentic by wearing the official shade, “Persian Melon” by Revlon (shade 585).

Interview with Ane Crabtree

"Pan Am" on ABC

"Pan Am" on ABC

This week, I got to sit in on an interview with Ane Crabtree, who is the costume designer for “Pan Am” and learned some very interesting facts – like the costume blue is not the same – for camera they punched the color up a bit so it wouldn’t look so dull.

The female cast members were introduced to original “foundation garments” i.e. girdles and pointy bras, which they say makes them feel different in their clothes.

Perhaps that’s what the women of Jackie O’s time period like my mother felt – pulled together.

Here are a few more questions that were asked of Ane Crabtree during the interview:
Question What research did you do before creating the uniforms?
Answer –  We got an original Pan Am uniform from a stewardess and we measured every inch of it and then recreated our own for the show.
Question –  What do you think is it about the 60s that fascinates us so much?
Answer –  I think that the 60s were a time of hope and a time of not knowing whereas, you know, today there’s a little bit of fatigue, social, you know, fatigue. And I think that in the clothing the difference is that there was a bit of mystery and not giving all the information away in your clothing. You know, ladies were ladies. They dressed like ladies. And the men were gentlemen. And so that air of mystery I think young people certainly in America and in Europe are curious about because we’ve gone so far the other way.
Question –  How do you use the costumes to accentuate the different character’s personalities?
Answer A lot of that starts with color of a certain palette per character. I think that was a psychological way of approaching each character. So if you look at the four girls there’s a distinct — and even the two gentlemen, the main characters — they all have a very distinct palette that surrounds them that might speak to, for instance, (Laura’s) very naïve, innocent. She’s the youngest. She’s the newest stewardess and she’s sort of at a crossroads in her life of change. And so her colors are very pastel, you know, baby blues and pale yellows and pale pinks because that’s what she’s experienced so far. Her palette may change as the storylines change.
You know, and she visually and inspiration-wise she’s – her inspiration is taken from Grace Kelly and Jean Shrimpton the model. So that’s sort of what I go towards when I’m designing her. And each girl has a separate one, you know, a separate actors that are my icons for them and a separate palette.

More About Ane

Ane has been a Costume Designer for film and television, and is well-known for creating the look for The Sopranos in the original HBO pilot. She’s also known for her personal approach with actors such as Morgan Freeman, Rebecca Hall, Liev Schreiber, Helen Hunt, Carla Guigino, Sarah Jessica Parker, Antonio Banderas, Oliver Platt, Catherine Keener, Timothy Olyphant, and Christina Ricci, to name just a few. Ane’s commercial work includes spots for Adidas, Sherwin Williams, AT&T, Miller Life, and Planters Peanuts. She studied fine arts at Harlaxtan College (Lincolnshire, England) and fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Technology (New York).
"Pan Am" on ABC Sunday Nights

"Pan Am" on ABC Sunday Nights

More about the TV show: “Pan Am”

Passion, adventure and espionage… They experience it all – and they experience it at 30,000 feet. The style of the 1960s, the energy and excitement of the Jet Age and a drama full of sexy entanglements deliciously mesh in a thrilling and highly original new series.

PAN AM stars Christina Ricci (“Penelope”) as Maggie, Margot Robbie (“Neighbours”) as Laura, Michael Mosley (“Justified”) as Ted, Karine Vanasse (“Polytechnique”) as Colette, Mike Vogel (“The Help,” “Blue Valentine”) as Dean and  Kelli Garner (“Going the Distance”) as Kate.

Series creator Jack Orman (“ER,” “Men of a Certain Age”), Thomas Schlamme (“The West Wing,” “Parenthood,” “Mr. Sunshine”), Nancy Hult Ganis (“Akleeh and the Bee”) and Steven Madea (“Lie to Me,” “Lost”) are executive producers. “Pan Am” is produced by Jack Orman Productions, Out of the Blue Entertainment and Shoe Money Productions in association with Sony Pictures Television.

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