amelia earhart

Style Study: Amelia Earhart

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


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A recent post on my shop's (Fair Sails) Facebook page, celebrating the 87th anniversary of the first transatlantic flight completed by a woman, lead me to scouring photographs of famed aviatrix, and America's favorite tomboy, Amelia Earhart. Well aware of her feminist spirit and accomplishments in aviation, I was surprised to discover her fashion line and impeccable style. 

Before this discovery, the image I had of Earhart was along the lines of the one above: leather jacket and cap, vest and tie-- the typical apparel for aviators (male and female) of the time. What I failed to realize, until this very moment, was exactly how well Earhart pulled off this androgynous look, which is really something to be appreciated from a fashion standpoint.


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In her personal fashion, along with her clothing line (which she models above), Amelia Earhart favored simplicity, with little frill or embellishment save for a scarf, a string of pearls, and, of course, her winged aviator pin. 
Declared one of the ten best dressed women in America in 1934 by the Fashion Designers of America, her simple, practical approach to fashion obviously worked.


Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt, 1935
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There is something so modern about Amelia's ensembles, a point which is even more obvious here juxtaposed with Eleanor Roosevelt's outfit. Amelia's hat, again a nod to menswear, paired with that giant bow and fur, is fresh and sophisticated.




1932
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This is one of my favorite Earhart ensembles. The jacket and skirt flatter her tall, thin frame, and that blouse is truly amazing-- I can't help but wonder what it looked like without the jacket.
 Shorten the skirt a bit and this outfit would not look out of place in 2015.
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It might be safe to say that scarves were Earhart's signature accessory.
 She wore them often, many different patterns and styles, worn in many different ways.
1936
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I particularly like how she is wearing her scarf in the photograph below. Such a smart way to change the look of an otherwise ordinary button up. I think it particularly works with the ensemble below because it connects with the dark knit collar of her jacket. 
I'm also really loving her hair here too; I can totally relate to her curly, unruly, cropped cut. 
1936
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This last photograph is the earliest of the bunch and possibly the most lovely. Behind Earhart, the large brims of ladies hats can be seen in stark contrast to hat she wears, almost a flap-less, feminine play on her aviator cap (and are those feathers?). Long strands of pearls, a flowing neckline and check out those fur cuffs on her jacket-- so elegant!
1928
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In the past I've assumed that it pained independent women, like Earhart, to conform to fashion and wear dresses, however Earhart appears to exude confidence no matter what her ensemble. While Earhart's fashion line was understandably a means to make money for her flying endeavors, it also stemmed from a desire to see more functionality in fashion. 
Clothing for "active living," a modern notion just as much ahead of its time as Earhart herself.   

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