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Fashion and Beauty

Shirley Kramer Broner, 1922 - 2006

Everyone who dies leaves behind memories. My mother did us one better: she left behind her memoirs.

Mom started to write some years back, while attending Harvard University's Institute for Learning in Retirement. When she heard about a workshop on Cape Cod through Brandeis Women, she jumped at the opportunity to become part of the tightly knit group who would spark her recall. The vivid portrait she created over the next six years helped sustain her family when, on Mother's Day 2006, she lost her eight-year battle with nonsmokers' lung cancer.

The Spiritual and the Material: Wealth and Stereotypes on the High Holidays

I just came home from a trip to my local suburban mall with two friends from elementary school. The mall is looking good – the walls are an upscale beige accented with stained wood, and new stores like Coach and BCBG emphasize that those who shop here must have ample money to spend. The mall is clearly marked as Jewish, too, with shoppers wearing long skirts, kippas, or less modest clothing adorned with Jewish symbols and summer camp logos.

Teffilin Barbie and Burqa Barbie: What does it mean to dress dolls?

Barbie was created in 1959 by Jewish business woman Ruth Handler. She was an Amazonian creation: a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, big-busted American beauty. She loved to drive pink convertibles; her wardrobe and shape-shifting abilities were astonishing. By the 80s, she was highly multicultural and had an endless variety of career paths open to her, from model to mad professor. Nothing is off-limits to ever trail-blazing Barbie, not even tefillin or a burqa.

Androgyny: progressive or exclusionary?

The New York Times recently identified androgyny as the "it" fashion trend.  It seemed to begin with "skinny jeans" -- skin-tight pants quickly adopted by fashion-forward men and women.  Unisex hoodies, coats, footwear, t-shirts, and hairstyles were soon to follow.  While women dressing in masculine clothing is old hat (the tomboy), the idea of heterosexual men dressing in feminine clothing is new, edgy, and raising eyebrows as well as questions about traditional gender norms.  

What is Jewish hair?

The buzz about Good Hair, Chris Rock's new documentary about Black hair, has got me thinking about "Jewish hair": what it is, what it means, and where I -- a straight-haired woman -- fit into this curious piece of Jewish identity. 

Birth of fashion designer Anne Klein

August 3, 1923

Noted fashion designer Anne Klein was born.

Estelle Joan Sommers takes over Capezio

June 1, 1964

Estelle Joan Sommers, dancewear manufacturer and philanthropist, made headlines when she took over her husband's Capezio shop.

Judith Leiber handbags featured in First Lady museum exhibit

March 22, 2005

Four handbags created for U.S. first ladies by Judith Leiber, luxury handbag doyenne, were featured in a New-York Historical Society exhibit that opened on March 22, 2005.

Birth of Ida Cohen Rosenthal, co-founder of Maidenform

January 9, 1886

Ida Cohen Rosenthal, co-founder of Maidenform, the first company to make modern bras, was born in Tsarist Russia.

Estelle Joan Sommers

Sommers made her career in retail dancewear as a designer, business executive, and owner of various ventures. Since taking ballet and tap classes as a child, dance had been her passion, professionally and socially.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Fashion and Beauty." (Viewed on November 23, 2014) <http://jwa.org/topics/fashion-and-beauty>.

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