Bessie Coleman’s Aviatrix Outfit

More than a couple of you have asked where we got the pieces Shannise wore in our Bessie Coleman photo shoot, so it seemed fitting to write a quick little post about them.

Luckily this outfit is really easy to put together with pieces you can wear in many different ways, so don’t think of it as a “costume” so much as a clever combination of wardrobe staples.

The Blazer – This was the hardest piece to find because it’s a bit more specific, so we’ll start here. Bessie wore a uniform jacket fairly long in length, with patch pockets. It was similar to a men’s WW1 uniform blazer (especially with the belt). I found a used Ralph Lauren green military blazer with patch pockets on eBay. Search for “women’s military blazer” or “Ralph Lauren military blazer” to bring up options on Etsy and eBay. You may also find actual Army or ROTC military class A uniform blazers, and those work nicely too.

The Belt – This is a reproduction WW1 British officer’s cross-strap leather belt. You can find these at Soldier of Fortune UK in different sizes. For ladies, the length of the shoulder strap may be too long, so you may need to punch some extra holes to shorten it.

The Breeches – Also from Soldier of Fortune UK. These are the Women’s Land Army WLA Cord Breeches and they are *amazing.* I wear these just all the time. Very high quality, actually fit (as in, you can sit down and bend over), and super cute too.

The Hat – Our Bessie is wearing a leather paneled newsboy cap. There are tons of options available, just go for a fairly full crown and short brim. There are some very cute and affordable options on Amazon, and also some more costumey choices with straps and flight emblems like on Bessie’s original hat.

The Shirt & Tie – The easiest! A white oxford shirt and a black tie. You don’t even need the tie if you just want to wear the scarf instead.

The Boots & Socks – The boots are, of course, the Bessie boots. We did them in three colors. Our Bessie is wearing the tan, but we also have brown and black. The socks are over-the-knee cable-knit socks that are then folded into cuffs over the top of the breeches. There are tons of options and styles on Socks Dreams and Amazon.

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