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Art

Corset On, Corset Off

For most of my life, my fashion sense has been dictated more by what I don’t want to wear than what I do want to wear. Socks with seams? Nope. Tight jeans? No way. Itchy sweaters? Out of the question! I feel almost nothing towards clothes, and when I do feel anything, it is usually frustration at tedious trips to the mall and or the seamstress shop. Sure, I enjoy looking “good.” But I have never really had any idea what “good” actually means.

Fashionably Frustrated: Confessions of a Shop-o-Phobic

I was leading the feminist crusade toward an era where women would be judged not by the cuteness of their clothing but the content of their character. I, clad in ill-fitting yet fully functional attire, was the ascetic monk of the religion of Not Caring What Other People Think.

“ . . . So Then I Started Wearing Army Pants and Flip Flops”

It was sixth grade when I started to feel like a child among women. Up until that point my wardrobe had consisted mostly of gaucho pants, t-shirts, and Converse sneakers, which suited my perfectly boyish body. But the dreaded halls of middle school eventually caught up with me and walking into school the first day I was caught up in a flurry of flowery perfume, tight leggings clung to early curves, lip gloss, and straightened hair flipping over shoulders. Hormones were raging and silly crushes became relationships while“hook up” was introduced into my vocabulary.      

Rebecca Lepkoff, 1916 - 2014

I always thought I would meet women like Rebecca Lepkoff when I moved to NYC in 1980, but it wasn’t until 1992 that our paths crossed. I was working at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum at the time, fascinated by the Lower East Side and its hold on the historical imagination of New Yorkers and Americans. Susan Fleminger of the Henry Street Settlement knew Rebecca and thought we would get along famously, and she was absolutely right. Rebecca’s photographs covered the exact time period of my work. I fell in love with her photographs and we became friends.

Birth of Victorian painter Rebecca Solomon

September 26, 1832

"That Rebecca Solomon was among the first Jewish women artists, if not the first, makes her career and artwork even more important.”

Sally Milgrim

Sally Milgrim flourished not only as a successful department store owner but as one of the foremost fashion designers of her day, creating gowns for Broadway stars and First Ladies alike.

Ellen Lehman Mccluskey

Interior design maven Ellen Lehman McCluskey shaped the look and feel of some of the world’s most luxurious hotels and businesses, including the Plaza, the Waldorf–Astoria, and Regency hotels.

Fashion: A Double-Edged Sword

When I shop for clothes, I try to purchase tops that are not exceedingly cropped, low-cut, or sheer. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been excited about a cute dress or shirt, only to flip it over and find that the back is completely cut out. This is disappointing, but it also makes me question my own tendency to judge the Girl with the Crop Top. If the majority of clothes at the mall are cut out, cut-up pieces of fabric, it might not be fair to judge consumers for buying what is being sold.

Alice Babette Toklas moves in permanently with Gertrude Stein.

September 9, 1910
Alice Babette Toklas heard distinct chiming when she met Gertrude Stein.

Slumber Party Barbie: Always in Fashion?

The little girl races to unwrap it and gasps when she sees what the package contains. It’s Slumber Party Barbie™ and she couldn’t be more thrilled. All of the girls in her class have the doll, and now she can’t wait to bring her new Barbie in to school to show them! With the silky haired icon comes an accessory set including a pink satin robe, hair curlers and a pajama set. But what Barbie would be complete without a matching pink scale permanently set at 110 lbs. to keep her slim and fit? Oh and better yet, Slumber Party Barbie™ comes with her very own diet book, solely containing the advice “Don’t eat!”

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Art." (Viewed on December 18, 2014) <http://jwa.org/topics/art>.

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