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Fashion and Beauty

Lauren Bacall

Lauren Bacall’s 1944 Hollywood debut in To Have and Have Not catapulted this young Jewish actress into instant stardom. Costarring with her husband-to-be, Humphrey Bogart, Bacall soon became known for “The Look”—downturned head, eyes looking up, suggestive of a young woman sexually wise beyond her years. She and Bogart were one of Hollywood’s most famous couples, both on screen and off, and Bacall was famous for her characterizations of women whose strong will complemented, rather than detracted from, their sexual attraction.

Adrien Arpel

Launching a business devoted to women’s skin care in 1959 with $400 she had earned from baby-sitting, Arpel is now president and CEO of Adrien Arpel, Inc., an enterprise with approximately 500 salons across the United States and Canada.

Mildred Elizabeth Levine Albert

“M.A.” and “The Mighty Atom,” as Mildred Albert was called, charmed the fashion world as an international fashion consultant, lecturer, columnist, and radio and television personality.

Advertising and Consumer Culture in the United States

In the twentieth century, Jewish women played a disproportionate role in the development of American consumer culture because of a combination of factors. For one, American industry became increasingly consumer-oriented, and consumer industries were comparatively open to small entrepreneurs. For another, Jewish immigrants and their children tended to display strong entrepreneurial tendencies.

I dreamed I blogged in my Maidenform bra

Lately I’ve had bras on the brain. Having recently weaned my twins (and here I’m referring to actual babies, not euphemistically to my breasts themselves), I’m gearing up for one of the milestone moments in a mother’s life: buying new, regular, non-nursing bras. So I’ve been thinking about what bras mean in the life of a Jewish woman.

"Jewish homegirl style"

In yesterday's Style section of the New York Times, there was a very short article with a mention of Sarah Silverman's "sedulously cultivated Jewish homegirl style."  Now, I don't usually read the Style section, nor do I have a vested interest in Sarah Silverman, but this chic-sounding phrase - without a qualifying description -- had me a bit perplexed.  So I needed to inquire: what exactly is a Jewish homegirl style?  And how does one "sedulously cultivate" it? 

Boyfriend Cardigan

I’m not a catalogue shopper, in fact, I’m not much of a shopper period, but that doesn’t stop companies from sending me catalogues.

Kippah-Wearing Jewesses

Confession: I am a progressive Jewish feminist with a strong aversion to wearing a kippah. I often parade around town wearing men's cargo shorts, I sport short-and-spiky fauxhawk-ish hair, and can feel at home in a tie and blazer over baggy khakis. I usually wear a tallit when I pray. But wearing a kippah in synagogue makes me feel shockingly unfeminine and terribly self-conscious.

Boyfriend Trousers? I Want Jewess Jeans.

Yesterday after work, I went on a search for a birthday gift for a 16-year-old girl. After looking at some books, crafts, scarves and jewelry (from the Fair Trade stores in town), I decided to take a peek in the GAP. Right in the entry way of the store, front and center, was a stand (accompanied by a large sign) displaying the GAP's newest khaki merchandise: "boyfriend trousers" and "tailored boyfriend". Both kinds of "boyfriends" are rather baggy, heavily starched, and seem to ride the hips of the models lucky enough to have them.

Fashion and feminism

Kate Goldwater, a former JWA intern, has a new venue to express her feminism: her own clothing store, AuH2O. Kate makes her own line of clothes from recycled garments, which she restyles. Many of her pieces have a political message, such as her “Reproductive Freedom Fighter” dress and the “I am a Feminist” tank top – both of which convey the message that being sexy and political are not mutually exclusive.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Fashion and Beauty." (Viewed on October 2, 2014) <http://jwa.org/topics/fashion-and-beauty>.

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