Musings: Airplanes and Fashion

Collage of Women Taking Flying Lessons. Some photos are dated 1919. Courtesy of RememberedSummers.

Collage of Women Taking Flying Lessons. One photo is dated 1919. Courtesy of RememberedSummers.

A fellow costumer recommended a truly remarkable website — Cliff Muskiet’s Stewardess/Flight Attendant Uniform Collection — so in addition to providing a link to it, I thought I’d share some vintage flying-related photos from RememberedSummers, and some links to “helmet” cloche hats, which some people have associated with WW I flying helmets.

Cliff Muskiet’s Flight Attendant Uniform Site,

First, Cliff Muskiet has put together a remarkable source for any one who needs to find out what was being worn by flight attendants at a given airline in many periods. Click here for Cliff Muskiet’s Home page. His uniformfreak website is a treasure house of good photographs of his remarkable collection, which is remarkably well organized, too. Click here to see his alphabetical list of airlines whose uniforms he has photographed. They are organized by date within each airline, although there’s no search availability.  Here are a few of my favorites.  Delta Airlines — very chic in 1970- 73. Braniff International designs by Pucci (scroll down through several years.) Air France had special uniforms for Concorde and for flights to Tahiti. British Caledonian featured plaids; Tyrolean Airways really went for an ethnic flavor. There are over 1400 uniforms on this site, with new ones being added. Brilliant job, Mr. Muskiet!

For more about Emilio Pucci’s designs for Braniff Airlines, click here.

Dressed for Flying, circa 1920.

Next, these photos of two young California women taking flying lessons (or at least, wearing leather flying jackets and helmet and goggles) are dated 1919 and 1921.

Two young women posing with airplane propellers, dated 1919, may be later. Photo copyright RememberedSummers.

Two young women with wooden airplane propellers, posing in their normal clothing; dated 1919, may be later. Photo copyright RememberedSummers.

"Dot" in flying gear, about 1920. Photo copyright RememberedSummers.

“Dot” in flying gear, about 1920. Photo copyright RememberedSummers.

Isobel in flying gear, about 1920. Photo copyright RememberedSummers.

Isobel in flying gear, about 1920. Photo copyright RememberedSummers.

The plane is an open-cockpit biplane, with cloth covered wings.

Photo copyright RememberedSummers.

Young woman and biplane. Photo copyright RememberedSummers.

Helmet Hats, 1920’s

Fascination Street Vintage has just posted a group of marvelous hat photos, including this picture of young actress Loretta Young wearing a cloche trimmed with airplane pins.

Click here for movie star Gloria Swanson in a tightly fitted helmet cloche that is covered with embroidery.

Click here for Fascination Street’s entire 1920’s hat post.



Filed under 1900s to 1920s, 1920s, 1920s-1930s, Coats, Hats, Uniforms and Work Clothes, vintage photographs

4 responses to “Musings: Airplanes and Fashion

  1. Was there a kind of uniform at that flying school, or did those two women share that double breasted leather coat?

    • I believe the coat belonged to the airplane’s owner and was put on anyone who wanted to go up for a flight in that cold, open cockpit, which holds two people. The sleeves look pretty long on Dot. There is a family story that she did go up for at least one flight — which her parents didn’t know about. Whether she did it on a regular “taking lessons” basis is not known. She dated the photos with conflicting dates, 1919 and 1921. It’s now possible to find lots more of photos of early women fliers — real solo pilots — than I expected. Women were driving cars — and listening to “woman driver” jokes; why not fly planes? We can be proud of them.

  2. Thank you for all those great links! I foresee many hours lost down the UniformFreak rabbit-hole!

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