Qantas joins fellow airlines in redefining its dress code for employees and cabin crew in line with the push for gender neutral uniforms. Olivia Palamountain reports.

A “style and grooming” overhaul at Qantas is ripping up the rule book when it comes to self-expression when in uniform.

While cabin crew outfits at the Australian national carrier will remain the same, designated “male” and “female” uniform determinations have been scrapped, along with regulations regarding makeup and hair styles.

According to The Guardian, Qantas cabin crew will be able to ditch high heels for flats, grow their hair long and opt to wear makeup regardless of their gender for the first time in the airline’s century-long history.

Not the first airline to reimagine a more inclusive dress code, Globetrender has also reported on British Airways relaxing its gender-based uniform policy to allow male pilots and crew to wear makeup, jewellery and nail varnish, and Virgin Atlantic allowing crew to choose their uniforms based on their “true gender identity”.

Qantas’ shift towards gender-neutral dressing comes in response to long-held frustrations by staff, modernising workplaces and evolving customer expectations, the airline reports.

A Qantas spokeswoman said that female cabin crew previously expected to wear high heels on long-haul flights had been asking to wear more comfortable and practical flat shoes.

“The update doesn’t change our uniform but modernises the way employees wear it in line with employee feedback and evolving customer expectations,” she continued.

The Australian Services Union previously wrote a letter to the Qantas chief executive, Alan Joyce, asking for makeup and high-heel requirements to be eased for women.

In a statement, Qantas said its uniform standards had always been reflective of the times, says The Guardian.

“In the 80s, sideburns had to stop at mid ear, “gelled spikes” were out and we recommended navy blue as the best eyeliner colour,” the airline said.

“In the 70s, women had to wear skirts above the knee. Today, our employees can choose whether or not to wear makeup, flat shoes and boots are in, and strict rules on watch sizes are out.”