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Amelia Earhart may have survived

Last week, a team of investigators uncovered a photo that might be Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan. The photo is of them in the Marshall Islands under Japanese custody after they made an emergency landing while flying over the Pacific Ocean in 1937. Up until this discovery, the story was that Earhart and Noonan crashed over the Pacific on their around-the-world flight and didn’t survive, as their bodies and the plane were never found. But this new development suggests that may not have been the case.

The History Channel had a documentary that debuted a few days ago “Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence” in which experts explain how they identified what is very likely Earhart and Noonan in the fuzzy photo that’s never been seen before. For Noonan, it’s the sharp, receding hairline, nose and teeth; for Earhart, it’s the tomboyish haircut and the fact that she’s wearing pants. We have her unconventional, menswear-inspired style to thank for making it more clear that it may be her in the photo.

A photo found in the National Archives that historians believe shows Amelia Earhart (sitting on the dock, center) and Fred Noonan (standing at left) in the Marshall Islands after their plane crashed nearby in the Pacific Ocean in 1937.
Photo: Courtesy of Les Kinney/U.S. National Archives

Clothes played a major role in Earhart’s life and career: she designed the jumpsuits she wore in the cockpit and had her own label, Amelia Earhart Fashions, which financed her flight expeditions and consisted of practical, affordable, aviation-inspired dresses, suits, trench coats, and separates. The clothes were sold at Macy’s and Marshall Field’s and may have contributed to the beginning of “athleisure.”

You can see some of her signature looks below. In 1934, the Fashion Designers of America named her one of the country’s best-dressed women. What do you think of her fashion? Revolutionary? Would you wear clothes like this? They say all fashion trends come back, and we’re seeing similar styles at the recent couture shows.

I wonder if this will help us finally bury the life of Earhart. Likely not since her life was so unique and interesting.



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