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How to dress like Amelia Earhart

Turns out Amelia Earhart was at the height of fashion with her aviation ensemble.

Her leather jacket - cuffed at the waist and sleeves to protect her from the cold air at high altitudes - was practical, but she wore it with aplomb.

We've seen many a photo of her, often wearing a jacket over a shirt buttoned low and a scarf tied jauntily around her neck.

And now we're seeing the look in "Amelia." the movie in which Hilary Swank portrays the "First Lady of the Air."

Before they became staples of the runway, bomber jackets were a necessity in drafty airplanes. The leather bomber jacket shown in the movie marries function and style in a way that finicky fashion has embraced through the years, says Franco DiCarlo, executive vice president of Belstaff USA, the brand that collaborated with the filmmakers on key wardrobe pieces.

"A lot of the aviator jackets are timeless in style, and they perform under a great variety of weather. ... They say fashion is cyclical, but this is timeless," he says.

But when the styles landed in the 1920s and 1930s, it was uncharted territory. At first pilots borrowed silhouettes from horseback riders, race-car drivers and motorcyclists, later adapting jodhpurs, goggles and the zip-front leather jackets, among other items.

Early on, Earhart wore these things, too, but she had a lifelong interest in fashion so many of the more stylish, more feminine adaptations came from her. At one point, she had her own clothing line - a second career to support her flying.

"She wore clothes with a natural ease and elegance," says "Amelia" costume designer Kasia Walicka Maimone. "I did love her evening gowns as much as I loved the flightwear. I loved the combination of the super practical flight clothing and the elegance of the eveningwear."

So how would Earhart dress today?

Bomber jacket over a dress to the office? Over leggings to the club? Over a ruffled blouse instead of a menswear shirt?

Would it even be leather? Today's bomber jackets come in silk, faux fur, nylon, polar fleece and even sequins.

The vintage bomber silhouette has a cropped length and slim sleeve - and it looks great with boyfriend jeans and heels or a maxi dress, says Belstaff's di Franco. The company is currently offering it in both a sleek, urban-vibe black calfskin as well as broken-in cognac.

Freelance stylist Cristy Guy owns a bomber jacket that she likes to pair with blue jeans and high heels.

"I think that, especially when we translate it into women's wear, it's very sexy," says Guy, who lives in Mission, Kan.

"And the leather adds a little bit of roughness so that when you wear it with very feminine pieces, it just has a really cool look about it. "

- From Wire Reports

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