Jewish Fashion Icon of the Month: Barbra Streisand

Los Angeles, United States - April 5, 2014: Jackie Chan star at famous Walk of Fame in Hollywood. Hollywood Walk of Fame features more than 2,500 stars with inscribed celebrity names.

Singer, actor, director, and enduring LGBTQ icon, Barbra Streisand lives her life at such a constant pitch of fabulousness that she could be our Jewish Fashion Icon of the Month every single month of the year and it would always be richly deserved. But the Streisand stardust feels particularly relevant this spring.

Still being nominated for Grammy awards at the age of 77, she’s back in the style spotlight thanks to the Coach SS20 ad campaign, which features Jennifer Lopez wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned with Streisand’s face. There are so many reasons why we should all be wearing this right now. Here are just a few…

CC Image courtesy of lifescript on Flickr 

She has a mall in her basement

Wardrobe full to bursting? We can all relate. But while most of us might get ruthless with some Marie Kondo-style decluttering, Streisand has another solution to the too-many-clothes problem: Why not store them in a purpose-built mall in the basement of your mansion? “Instead of just storing my things in the basement, I can make a street of shops and display them,” she told Harper’s Bazaar in 2010.

She changed her name… but not her nose

A mistress of reinvention, Barbara dropped the “a” from her given name at the beginning of her career—a smart move, as the spelling ensures that she’s known by her first name alone.

But there’s one thing that will never change: her nose. Streisand’s proud refusal to contemplate a nose job makes her a true Jewish icon.

Services to headgear

Streisand’s most iconic looks usually involve wearing something fabulous on her head. Whether she’s matching a headscarf to her outfit or accessorizing a fur coat with a matching muff and pillbox hat, this is a woman who is never knowingly under-accessorized. And her reasoning is refreshingly practical.  “I was too lazy to have my hair done so I made a series of these matching hats so that I just had to part my hair in the middle, pull it back and wear the hat!” she told The Hollywood Reporter.

“Miss Streisand’s clothes from her closet”

Streisand has always taken a hands-on approach. For her costumes in A Star Is Born, she famously raided her own closet for Ester’s boho capes and ponchos, and designed the slinky black and silver dress by draping two shawls together. Meanwhile, the official “Barbra” Barbie comes dressed in a black and white outfit from 1969 that Streisand designed herself.

Boho Babs

Streisand’s style has always veered from sleek to bohemian and back again: from the flicked eyeliner and back-combed bob of the 60s to shaggy furs and natural, wavy locks in the 70s, and straight hair and streamlined Donna Karan in the aughts. For her most recent album, Walls, and her 2019 tour, she went back to boho with long wavy hair and voluminous cape sleeves. Look no further than the hot pink Zandra Rhodes kaftan she wore for her Hyde Park concert last summer for proof that this enduring fashion icon can still keep us guessing.

Susannah Cohen
Susannah Cohen is a fashion journalist, e-commerce editor (specialist subjects: lingerie and diamonds) and Jewish mom. Recently relocated from London to the West Coast, she’s feeling a lot more spiritual these days.