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Author Topic: Research Needed: AE's clothing size  (Read 12785 times)

Ric Gillespie

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Research Needed: AE's clothing size
« on: January 16, 2017, 10:28:53 AM »

Earhart's weight is an element in Dr. Jantz's re-evaluation of the bone measurements.  She listed her weight on her pilot's license as 118 pounds but we all know how reliably people report their own weight.  We can't put AE on the scales but if we could find out what clothing sizes she wore it would help Dr. Jantz estimate her actual weight. Yes, her weight undoubtedly varied some and, at the time of her last flight, she may have weighed less than usual due to the rigors of the trip, but that doesn't matter.  Her usual clothing size would provide useful information about her general physiology.
Earhart designed clothing and wrote about fashion.  She may have mentioned what size she wore in some of those writings.  Let's see what we can find.
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Albert Durrell

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Re: Research Needed: AE's clothing size
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2017, 11:02:57 AM »

One of her dresses on display:

 During that time, she developed a close friendship with one of her students, Mary Packwood.  During the course of the friendship, she gave Mary some of her clothing.  Mary Packwood preserved one of the dresses and today Amelia’s clothing is on exhibit at the Hanford Carnegie museum in Hanford, California. The exhibit contains one of her original dresses and an original label from her fashion line.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Research Needed: AE's clothing size
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2017, 11:34:25 AM »

One of her dresses on display:

 During that time, she developed a close friendship with one of her students, Mary Packwood.  During the course of the friendship, she gave Mary some of her clothing.  Mary Packwood preserved one of the dresses and today Amelia’s clothing is on exhibit at the Hanford Carnegie museum in Hanford, California. The exhibit contains one of her original dresses and an original label from her fashion line.

Why didn't I think of that?  Find existing clothing and ask someone to look at the label - duh!  I'll contact the museum.  Thanks!
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Joy Diane Forster

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Re: Research Needed: AE's clothing size
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2017, 01:23:15 PM »

Keep in mind that the definition of sizes, especially in ladies clothing, has changed quite a bit over the years.  What is a size 8 today would not be the same as a size 8 in 1937.  I'd suggest that, instead of having the museum look at the tags, you ask if they can do some measurements of waist and bust for you.  Those can then be converted into a modern size for comparison.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Research Needed: AE's clothing size
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2017, 01:54:23 PM »

Keep in mind that the definition of sizes, especially in ladies clothing, has changed quite a bit over the years.  What is a size 8 today would not be the same as a size 8 in 1937.  I'd suggest that, instead of having the museum look at the tags, you ask if they can do some measurements of waist and bust for you.  Those can then be converted into a modern size for comparison.

Excellent idea.  Thank you!
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Jerry Germann

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Re: Research Needed: AE's clothing size
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2017, 02:09:01 PM »

One of her dresses on display:

 During that time, she developed a close friendship with one of her students, Mary Packwood.  During the course of the friendship, she gave Mary some of her clothing.  Mary Packwood preserved one of the dresses and today Amelia’s clothing is on exhibit at the Hanford Carnegie museum in Hanford, California. The exhibit contains one of her original dresses and an original label from her fashion line.

This article; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mary-hall/amelia-earharts-fashion-l_b_341283.html also includes some additional information regarding her clothing line. As well as the Purdue files in clothing search... http://earchives.lib.purdue.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/earhart/id/3703/rec/4  I find it interesting that she was instrumental in introducing mix matched sized items as a consumer choice to accommodate those with less than standard shapes and size. It makes one think that, this was a problem for her when procuring garments.   
Another article that reveals Earhart's inspiration to design clothing seems to have come about due to the lack of availability of tall women's apparel. http://www.npg.si.edu/exhibit/earhart/pop-ups/07.html
« Last Edit: January 16, 2017, 06:32:27 PM by Jerry Germann »
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Jerry Germann

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Re: Research Needed: AE's clothing size
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2017, 06:20:28 PM »

In addition to the dress Albert mentioned on exhibit at Hanford Carnagie, the Purdue collection has a few items of clothing; http://earchives.lib.purdue.edu/cdm/search/collection/earhart/searchterm/artifacts/field/subjec/mode/any/conn/and/order/date/ad/asc/cosuppress/0
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Research Needed: AE's clothing size
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2017, 09:08:09 AM »

In addition to the dress Albert mentioned on exhibit at Hanford Carnagie, the Purdue collection has a few items of clothing; http://earchives.lib.purdue.edu/cdm/search/collection/earhart/searchterm/artifacts/field/subjec/mode/any/conn/and/order/date/ad/asc/cosuppress/0

I've sent Dr.Jantz photos of the jacket, pants and flight suit at Purdeu and asked him what measurements he'd like.  I think Purdue is our best bet.  The dress in Hanford may have been altered to fit the new owner whereas the stuff at Purdue came directly from Putnam. The flight suit as NASM is in a glass case.  I doubt that we'd be able to get access to it.
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Jerry Germann

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Re: Research Needed: AE's clothing size
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2017, 05:52:29 PM »

Would these images help in determining Earhart's arm length? She has it laying upon map no H.O. 5192, and her arm seems pretty flat and straight in relation to the map and it's details.
Here is a description of the map, whereby it gives us the map measurements;


Physical Description
1 map : color, annotated ; 67 x 119 centimeters
Notes
Scale 1:28,500,000. 5th edition. H.O. chart no. 5192.

And here is a link to Lindberg's map;
 Lindbergh's copy of #5192; "Time Zone Chart of the World"...

https://www.wdl.org/en/item/6776/


 

« Last Edit: January 19, 2017, 08:49:22 AM by Jerry Germann »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Research Needed: AE's clothing size
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2017, 09:07:39 AM »

Would these images help in determining Earhart's arm length? She has it laying upon map no H.O. 5192, and her arm seems pretty flat and straight in relation to the map and it's details.

Great idea, but it would only be possible if we had a copy of H.O. 5192 so we could measure the distance on the map from her elbow to her wrist.  Knowing the total dimensions of the map doesn't help.
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Randy Conrad

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Re: Research Needed: AE's clothing size
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2017, 10:54:02 PM »

Ric...when I was in Chicago a few years ago just a reminder that Marshall Fields had a display with her own clothing in it and if I remember right the Chicago Museum as well....
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Krystal McGinty-Carter

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Re: Research Needed: AE's clothing size
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2017, 05:14:42 PM »

Can I weigh in? I restore vintage clothing. Used to have a pretty lucrative business in it. Ive handled a great deal of clothing from the 20's and 30's and one of the things I noticed is that many garments didnt have size tags in them. It was often marked inside with tailors chalk (which would come off in the wash or by pressing) or stapled on a card to the inside of the garment. Many items that have come across my studio might have a designers tag sewn in it, but not a size. But I can help if you can get me some measurements. It would have depended entirely on the designer but if you can get me measurements (Even better if there are photos of her wearing them) I can pin it down.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Research Needed: AE's clothing size
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2017, 07:12:28 AM »

It would have depended entirely on the designer but if you can get me measurements (Even better if there are photos of her wearing them) I can pin it down.

Thanks Krystal but, for our purposes, measurements are far more useful than sizes.
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Jennifer Hubbard

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Re: Research Needed: AE's clothing size
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2017, 03:36:50 PM »

Further rationale to measure the clothes:
--Even today, a given size isn't necessarily the same from company to company.
--Even if one buys off the rack, clothes can still be altered to fit the individual. For example, I usually have to shorten my pants. And I think alterations were even more common years ago, when clothes were more expensive/less disposable, and home sewing and use of tailors were more common.
So I agree, direct measurements of clothes that were last worn by AE, with no subsequent wearers, are the best bet.
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