Aviation has heretofore been considered the province of men, but those of the fairer sex have made important forays into the art and science of piloting aeroplanes. Indeed, piloting an aeroplane seems to be a task uniquely suited to ladies, as it requires but little in the way of brute strength. Rather, technique, skill, and understanding are the concomitants of a successful aeronaut. And these qualities ladies possess in abundance.
In spite of this fact, the society papers have been unnecessarily cruel in their depictions of the modern aviatrix. They imagine her to be a masculine creature, utterly unsexed by means of her knickerbocker uniform and a liberal application of castor oil. But such statements could not be further from the actual truth of the matter. By examining two young ladies, at the forefront of aviation, one can easily observe that, far from degrading her feminine charms, the aviatrix has enhanced her appeal through the addition of certain items to her wardrobe.
Young Miss Katherine Stinson of the United States is an acknowledged leader in the field of aeronautics, being the first woman to loop the loop. She has successfully completed the maneuver in excess of five-hundred times, and she has done so with a sense of style that many of the fashionable set in London would do well to imitate.
Here, we see Miss Stinson posing for the camera in front of her machine. The reader will notice that her attire is not so different from that of any lady taking a motoring trip through the countryside. Observe her sensible, yet stylish, headwear, her kid leather gloves, and her warm, knit jumper. It is Miss Stinson's habit to wear her hair long, and to keep it arranged in accordance with the dictates of fashion. Indeed, one could scarcely hope to find a more attractive young lady at any of the country estates around London.
Here again we see Miss Stinson posing in front of one of her machines. Note her characteristic long tresses, and her beautiful overcoat. One can also see the tasteful string of pearls that she always wears around her neck. They were a gift to her from the emperor of Japan himself. Let any fashionable lady in London make a similar claim.
"This is all well and good," my opponents will say, "but what of Miss Stinson's attire whilst she is actually engaged in the business of flying?" Well, let us examine that in detail, shall we? In the first place, Miss Stinson has made it her habit to retain her string of pearls, even whilst flying her aeroplanes. They can just be glimpsed in this candid daguerreotype, taken of her as she readied her aeroplane for flight.
Furthermore, whilst it has been thoroughly acknowledged that the presence of a leather flying coat enhances a man's virility and appearance, the same has not yet been acknowledged for young aviatrices. However, one has only to glimpse Miss Stinson, here greeting the Marquis Okuma in the country of Japan, for that oversight to be corrected.
But as attractive a young lady as Miss Stinson is, no discussion of the fashionable aviatrix would be complete without acknowledging the primacy of Miss Harriet Quimby in the matter. Seen here, in a favorite white sailor frock and tasteful hat, Miss Quimby highlights the beauty gained through travel in the upper aether of the atmosphere.
Miss Quimby, the first lady in America to receive her pilot's license, and the first woman to cross the English channel alone in an aeroplane, extends her beauty and her sense of fashion to the cockpit. In the following daguerreotype, Miss Quimby shows off her knickerbocker uniform, constructed of fine violet satin.
And here, posing with her good friend Miss Matilde Moisant, the gentle reader can see that far from being the exception, Miss Harriet Quimby is rather representative of the wholesome and feminine styles which have been adopted by aviatrices the world over.
Even whilst engaged in that most difficult and arduous feat of aviation, the crossing of the English Channel, Miss Quimby's sense of style remained intact. To her stunning violet flying uniform, Miss Quimby has added a pair of highly attractive goggles with unusual teardrop lenses, lending her face a most pleasing shape.
It is clear then, that far from being ridiculed in the society papers for their costume, the aviatrices making their respective marks on the world today should be lauded for their collective good taste in their wardrobe selections.