Amelia, Amelia: The Style of Amelia Earhart
Some of you may have read the post from Sunday in which I wrote about my accidental emulation of Amelia Earhart. I’ve decided that my subconscious (and by that I mean good, subtle marketing) directed me toward that particular set of pieces. I haven’t been thinking about Earhart in particular, but I am really falling in love with 1930′s and 1940′s fashion and Amelia, with her name so similar to mine, is a particularly romantic example of the early styles of that time. In an experience of lovely synchronicity, just after I rocked the bomber jacket I found a trailer for a new biopic of Earhart, who is played by Hilary Swank, and a Lucky Magazine online article about the costumes for the film.
Designers are getting behind the Earhart trend, too. Jean-Paul Gaultier designed an aviation-themed line for Hermes, featuring rugged bomber jackets and jumpsuits, and Bloomingdales now carries all kinds of clothes inspired by the aforementioned film. In short, the Amelia craze has taken hold. I’m obviously not immune.
What I love about Amelia Earhart’s style is the menswear look of her high waisted pants and loose blouses that seems in direct opposition to the feminie luxury of her t-straps and long fur coats. She’s so tough, Amelia, with her bomber jacket and plaid shirts, her knee high boots and, oh yeah, her position as the preeminent woman in a world of male aviators. She balances that toughness so well, however, with her elegant silk scarves and delicate prints, her photo-op dresses that graze her body in such a subtly beautiful way, and small, lady-like little details that offset the more streamlined qualities of her wardrobe.
Ultimately, Amelia Earhart is just one example of the way that women dressed in the 1930′s. She was wealthy and famous and photographed incessantly. She even had her own clothing line! Thus, it must obviously be recognized that she’s probably not very indicative of the average woman of her time. Likewise, watching a film glorify her as a heroine is to witness the process by which Hollywood masks all kinds of complexities that I’m sure made her an interesting woman. Still, I don’t mind letting myself sometimes get sucked into the romanticization of historical figures, even if it is based on nationalism or…I don’t know, other stuff I’d normally be more critical of. Because, really, who doesn’t want to wear aviator’s goggles once in a while?