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Jul 18, 2011

Fashion 2011 or "Land of the Lost"



Friends, in our continued series exploring popular magazines of the past and the images they present of American fashion and lifestyles (particularly the roles of women), today we stumble upon 2011.  Do you remember that troubling time?

Casting an objective eye on the present is much more challenging than, say, looking at the Forties or Fifties, when we benefit from historic perspective.  We must step back and -- perhaps by comparing some of the magazines we've already looked at -- try to view the material with fresh eyes.  It can help to pretend you're a visitor from the past or from a remote part of the world.  Or a space alien.

Elle is published by Hachette Filipacchi Media, US., Inc., the American arm of a French media group (Woman's Day and Road & Track are a few of their other high-profile titles).  It's primarily a fashion magazine, though it has general interest articles as well.  As far as I could tell, there's very little that distinguishes it from the many other popular fashion magazines like Vogue or Glamour.  I stumbled upon the February 2011 issue in the laundry room and took a peek inside. 

First, I'm not sure what to make of starlet/celebrity wife Katie Holmes on the cover (up top).  It's hardly an inviting image.  Katie looks distraught and slightly sweaty; her hair is messy and her dress seems loose.  It suggests a film still, which is likely the intention, but it's a dark and disturbing-looking film.  I'll pass.

If there's one thing that you can't miss in contemporary magazines, it's the global luxury brand ads.  They're everywhere, and the primary players are all accounted for:  Gucci, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Burberry, Yves Saint Laurent, Coach (Prada -- where's Prada?).  These brands are so ubiquitous they're like wallpaper, and at a certain point I begin to tune them out. 









The imagery communicates the same message ad nauseum: be young, be rich, be thin, be branded.   Even when there's more than one person in a photo, they're rarely interacting or even looking at one another (though they're sometimes lying on top of one another).  The models generally look either strung out and sullen or defiant and challenging -- sometimes all of the above. 

Are there any fashion trends evident here?  Long, straight hair is better than short and curly (of which there is none).   Keep your heels high, your legs smooth, and carry a designer handbag, preferably in an exotic skin.



Makeup should be nude or Forties pin-up-style.   Skin -- and the more displayed the better -- should be Photoshop-flawless.  And speaking of skin...there are endless makeup and skincare ads (and today your makeup often is your skincare, thanks to unprecedented scientific breakthroughs) and tons of designer perfume ads (with those annoying scent strips)...cough, cough.





And, SO much lipstick, friends.  My hunch is that this offers the average reader something they can actually afford, some way to participate in all the luxury being put on display.   Most of these products are being hawked by mainstream celebrities like Beyoncé, Jessica Biel, and Drew Barrymore.  Where once the fantasy was Hollywood-like glamour, today's fantasy is LUXURY, pampered luxury.

Experience the richest indulgence for your lips...  (That's L'oreal's Colour Riche)

Pamper lips with a more polished pink...  (Maybelline Colorsensational lipcolor)



The ideal image today is essentially to be a trophy wife or the stereotypical sexy mistress.  You see it in the clothes, in the towering heels and gaudy accessories.   It pretends to present female empowerment but looks like-- what else can you call it?  -- prostitution (i.e., selling your sexual power for social position).











Even in the fashion spreads, women are spread out on the ground or sit wide-legged on beds. 





As with every fashion magazine today, clothes are featured in great big assortments, arranged by either color or fabric type.  (It's like, anything goes so we'll just throw it all at you at once and let you pick.)  Nothing seems precious or new.  Next month there will be new garment collages, and the month after that, and so on.  Editors are obviously trying to identify some sort of trends, but it feels frantic (and futile).  Who can make sense of all these looks, of so much stuff?







There's a short book review section and few articles, mainly of the Oh, great, something else to worry about variety.

Is your head too small/large?



How do you know when -- or if -- you should have a baby (waiting for a sign from (your) biological clock could be a huge mistake!).



Of course, there's much, much more (this is the TV issue, so it's full of articles about women on (and in) television.

Overall, a magazine like this Elle captures a very confusing time to be alive.  We're sold day and night a slick and cynical image of luxury that most of us will never attain.  Women are no longer assumed to be aspiring housewives, but regardless of their ambition and talents, they must be flawless, long-legged beauties, and dressed like a mafia wife or curvaceous showgirl (up top anyway). i.e. They shouldn't look like they actually hold a job.  

I read a lot of ambivalence about the role of women today.  Mogul or Marilyn?

Readers, what do you think?  Does this feel/look like empowerment to you?  Do you read fashion magazines today, and if so, what do you make of the messages they send?  Do they leave you feeling inspired -- or confused?



I'd love to hear from you!

(More pics from the February 2011 issue of Elle here.)

47 comments:

  1. I don't buy glossy magazines - they do nothing for one's self esteem. I tend to feel a bit dirty after reading them. That, and fat, poor, old, ugly, unsuccessful and badly dressed. And for a humungous price (nearly the same as a book), they take half an hour to read.

    That said, I occassionally get sucked in, and then feel annoyed with myself.

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  2. I stopped subscribing to anything but Threads and Southern Living over 20 years ago. At least the unattainable luxury in SL is only homes and furniture! I can attain the gardens, sorta. I can prepare the recipes. I can learn sewing technique from Threads. Bodies in SL are of normally-shaped persons; as are most of the models in Threads. My 21-yr.-old daughter's taste in magazines? A different story!

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  3. I bought Vogue once and was super disappointed with the content. More adds than articles/ fashion spreads. It's like paying entrance for a market so you can buy things there (that happend to me at an artisan market once), does anyone else see that something's wrong with that.
    I stopped buying "fashion" magazines probably 2 years ago, too expensive and too low on content. I get soo bored reading the same PR-approved answers of celebrities and looking at the same adds and uninspiring fashion spreads.
    I rather take a look on the runway shows online to get a grip of the latest collections.

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  4. In answer to your question; "Does this feel/look like empowerment to you?" No No No and NO it does NOT feel/look like empowerment. In fact it feels like control and i do NOT want advertising companies, media companies and companies selling stuff to control how i feel about myself, the way i think, what I do and what I buy etc

    I too choose to not buy these magazines that on one page tell me I should love all of me and then on another page tell me that my skin isn't perfect enough/i'm carrying too much weight/that my life would be perfect if only i bought a particular eyeshadow/lipstick/handbag/dress....on and on it goes.

    great blog post as usual!

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  5. I like Glamour, but I find Elle, Vogue, etc. pretty ridiculous. I really love Ottobre Woman, not only because I can make all the clothes, but the women are normal sizes and they even tell you the models size. Being a statistically average woman, I like seeing that women like me, not fat, but definitely far from the bikini days of yore, can look great in clothes.

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  6. I do read fashion mags all the time. I like to see what is going on this month in fashion and occassionally see a piece that i would like to sew some variation of. I take the overly skinny sexed up images for what they are, just images. I am not scared easily by all of these photoshopped wonders because I am generally content with my appearance. I do have to say that I feel that there is no real style that defines this year, or the 10 preceding it. We seem to be borrowing from the past and making it "modern" by sexing it up. As far as all the brand whorring going on, whatevs! I can't afford them and even if I could, I wouldn't spend that much on principle. I pride myself in finding cheaper but equal alternatives, which is also one of the reasons I sew. When I see a designer dress I like and I recreate it with my own personal variations an style, I always feel like I got one up on the man!

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  7. Here, here. I definitely do not find inspiration in fashion magazines. And I'm getting really sick of the call-girl look (from any decade) for women.

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  8. No. It's not empowerment.
    Is Ms. Magazine still published, or is it only on line now?
    If I buy magazines, it's interior design or art. There's a few places online that are interesting (Worn, for example), but nothing on the rack (But I live in Smallville, remember?)

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  9. hmmm if those are my choices, I think I'll aim for Trophy Wife. lol. I'd wear that Fendi outfit, minus the ridiculous heels; otherwise I leave those mags for beachtime or salontime mental vegetation.

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  10. I've never been into "women's" magazines (or teen magazines). The only time I ever read them regularly was for a few months at the gym, until I realized that they were basically junk-food for the mind, making me want things that aren't healthy and I didn't need. Why would I fill my mind with junk food at the very place I'm trying to make my body healthy? So I started diving through the piles for the few Newsweek and Times issues. Which are their own kind of downer, but at least I don't have to read about all the expensive things I should be wanting to buy.

    Not having been reading women's magazines in the 40s or 50s, I can't comment on whether I would've felt differently about these, though. I suspect at the time they would have felt equally pressuring.

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  11. i've been a loyal subscriber to Elle for the past 5 years. i couldn't wait for a new issue to arrive, it was my vehicle for escape. lately it seems i don't even notice when one comes in, i flip through it furiously and doesn't seems to interest me anymore. I mainly focus on the clothes; construction, inspiration, etc. You're right Peter, it seems like a lot of content (and ADS) to digest.

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  12. Excellent analysis, as always, Peter. When I buy magazines of this ilk, it's at a couple times of year: generally either an August/September issue, with lots of delicious autumn-winter outfits and accessories to ogle, or the issue in the winter that does the same with warm-weather clothes, at just about the time that sweaters, boots, and wool skirts have worn out their welcome. I tear out images that inspire--a way of combining colors or patterns, the shape of a bag or a coat, some outrageously priced jewelry that looks like something I could actually make--and I glue these into a spiral-bound sketchbook where I keep project ideas and outfit inspiration. When the lissome and artificially enhanced body parts, airbrushed faces, suggestive poses, and designer logos/brands are stripped away (pun intended), the fabrics, textures, colors, and design details become more accessible--to me, anyway.

    I skip over the "beauty" advice and advertisements...no product at any price will ever make my hair, eyes, lips, skin, or nails look like the so-called ideal, and I'm well old enough now to not only not be disappointed by that reality, but to be relieved that I'm not burdened with trying to keep up with "the look", whatever it might be.

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  13. Magazines are out, they are full of ads and articles that many of us can never attain, and in so doing make people feel unhappy and unfulfilled. Blogs are in! They are so much more inspiring and written by "real" people that you can see and feel a real connection to. It's easy to pick and chose who you want to follow and enjoy! You are a joy to follow! Thank you!

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  14. Be young. Be thin. Be rich. Be BORED! There's no joy in fashion according to the ads in women's magazines. If I looked half as good in a trenchcoat that cost half as much, I would be ecstatic. Sometimes I rip out ads like these and then draw speech bubbles that say things like, "I'm fun. Let's be friends." and "I'm actually happy, I just had botox." It's all sexy. But these women don't appear to be enjoying their sexuality, which is the disappointing thing, and a look I hope dies before my daughter is old enough to care about fashion magazines.

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  15. Last summer I watched "The September Issue" on Netflix, and when the magazine came out last fall, I was intrigued and bought it. 800 pages of blech....!!!!! As you said sullen, sickly models who clearly are only 12 years old and look as though they are playing dress-up. There is not an ounce of truth in any of the ads. I used to also get the Oprah magazine, but stopped that because it was more of the same, overpriced garbage in all the ads. I liked the content of the magazine, but could not stomach supporting the advertisers she used, so bye-bye. I also wonder in these days of mass lay offs, so many unemployed and hurting who is buying this stuff? The same criminals that got us into this mess?

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  16. I like what Artist without a Muse is sayin. Out with the mags! In with the blogs! Not to sound like an advertisement myself, but I use Feedly. It collects your favorite blogs in one place like a magazine and is a similar reading experience. Of course, you can still find blogs that look a lot like that Elle magazine, and similar skewed ideas of fashion and beauty among bloggers. It's too bad that's the dominant narrative in our world. But thanks to the internet, it's easy to connect with all the other people who are tuning out that narrative and writing their own.

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  17. I grew up reading a LOT of fashion / women's magazines because I had an uncle that worked for a publishing company and would always drop off boxes of last month's magazines at our house, rather than toss them in the trash. I vividly remember pouring over the articles about how "Happiness is having all 10 nails long at the same time", or "How to get that bedroom look that drives men wild!". I always felt like there was a secret glamorous women's world of which I could never have a part.


    I was so happy when Sassy appeared on the scene in the early '90s.

    I now only read Organic Gardening, Bon Appetit and scientific journals. And I don't worry about my nails -I have to keep them short anyway so that I don't puncture my nitrile gloves and contaminate my research ;)

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  18. Very insightful, Peter! I don't read fashion or women's magazines. I think the fashion/beauty industry thrives on telling women how they are flawed and then selling them the "solution". This is the opposite of empowering, IMHO. It reinforces the idea that how a woman looks is the singular most important thing about her - she should keep herself young, thin and sexually available at all times.

    Lipstick - Historically, during recessions/depressions, lipstick sales have kept cosmetic companies afloat. The theory is that a women will indulge in the reasonable splurge on a designer or high end lipstick even while she cuts back her spending on more expensive luxury items (clothing, shoes, bags). Lipstick is an "affordable luxury".

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  19. The spreads in the mags are not about female empowerment. I am sometimes left bemused as to what they want me to buy, so I guess I am in the confused category.

    I do like the big spring and fall issues. Those tend to have more pictures and less copy. Perversely, I don't like it when a fashion mag has articles about non-fashion related topics - I guess I don't trust Vogue as a source of political/news info.

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  20. I actually really like the "clothing collage" spreads, because they help me identify trends so I can look for them in patterns. Same reason I snoop shop more than I buy. I feel bad for young women reading these magazines, but the vapid content no longer bothers me on a personal level because it's so obvious that I don't exist to those marketing people.

    The fashion spreads? Too expensive, too odd, doesn't fit in with my lifestyle. Even if I had the money, I wouldn't spend it that way. We came into a windfall recently and I bought a new pair of Converse shoes and some nicer basics.....and that was it. I'm never going to be a designer handbag person -- probably just as well, considering what I do to my handbags

    For people who mourn the demise of Sassy and Ms., there's BUST which covers a lot of the same topics. I like Nylon for teens and twenties (it has its problems but there is a lot of music/pop culture coverage, and the clothes are affordable and realistic). Lucky and Allure are basically shopping guides. The rest are pretty pointless. I like magazines like Belle Armoire and Altered Couture, because they show what you can do with the nonsense in your own closet. I always read them and end up feeling rich.

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  21. The only time I am exposed to this kind of stuff is when someone reviews it on a blog or when I'm waiting for my color to process at the hair salon (and even there I tend to read Esquire when there's one available).

    There needs to be a fashion magazine about size 12 women who really only have about 30 minutes to get ready in the morning tops, because they also have to work out and feed the cats and commute in to work, and they keep their nails clipped short because typing all day in long painted nails sucks, and they wear flats because they don't get delivered to the office by a chauffeur.

    That is a fashion magazine I would read.

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  22. In that first group of four photos starting with Chanel, the overall feeling was that of being lost and alone. Rather sad overall.

    I read Consumer Reports and Cook's Illustrated mostly. Occasionally a cat magazine, I do like their centerfolds and models ;) . Even if most of them are under twelve...

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  23. I have seen my life evolve around magazines when I think about it. First it was Seventeen in high school, then Glamour in college. I would occasionally buy Vogue and Harpers Bazaar too. Oh how I wanted to look like those ladies in the pages. Now what do I read? Cooking magazines, and home magazines.
    As much as I love fashion, and our house kinda revolves around it, with two daughters, one just graduating from art school with a fashion design degree, and another that is obsessed with make up, and has her own You Tube page for applying it, I find my self not identifying with fashion magazines anymore. I think I only look at them once in while on a flight or in the dentist office.
    While I still find them fascinating from and artistic point, I find I enjoy my cooking and home magazines much more, and no longer wish to look like those ladies.
    I have stopped reading "women's magazines," like Redbook, Women's Day. Mainly because of all those articles on the latest health things to watch for, and nerdy quizzes.
    I'm with Cynthia, I want a magazine about real people not styled ones. I keep hearing though, that when polled "who does these polls anyway, people don't want to see normal people in an ad or magazine spread. I'm not so sure this poll was really ever taken, what do you think?!!

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  24. I pretty much gave up mainstream fashion magazines years ago. Like Tanit Isis said, it was like junk food for my brain--and was that making me a more "empowered" woman by reading them? I think not. ;) Even if you argue that blog-reading is "junk food", at least we generate some interesting discussion and debate about *important* topics (besides what hairstyle is the latest and greatest, or what hem length is in for this fall... *yawn*). It's far more stimulating and less passive than reading a traditional woman's fashion magazine.

    Which is an interesting point... Taking in these fashion directives as editors expect you to do, is a form of passive consumption. Which is turn kind of reminds me of many of the images of these women. Yes, they look "fierce", but with their legs spread and half a boob hanging out, I can't help but think they look sexually passive (see your prostitute comment, Peter! ;). There is nothing terribly modern or earth shattering about the way women are portrayed in many of these magazines, which is part of the reason I gave them up.

    Like many other commenters pointed out as well, it seems like the content is being regurgitated again and again. I think I might scream if I see one more magazine say that the "rocker" or "peasant" look is back! Um... Didn't I hear that as early as 2003/04??? Oh, and the "retro" craze? That was big news the first time around in the early '00s. (And it was such a big deal because it was a departure from 90s minimalism and the late 90s "plastic"/pop art look. Though truthfully the 60s and 70s were a big source of influence in the 90s too... Gah. Going off on a fashion history tangent... sorry!) Even though I like vintage and am glad the revival has made finding modern reproductions so easy, I'm getting tire of the lack of innovation. Last month I stopped by the newsstand to pick up something to read while I was killing an hour. I flipped open an issue of Lucky, then Elle and Vogue. Each looked the same as what I remembered 5 years ago. They really weren't worth the $5 price--I can find so much of that info on blogs now anyway...

    Okay. Enough ranting! ;) lol.

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  25. I think Tanit-Isis raises a really good point about the magazines from the 40's and 50's. My grandma had 12 children and lived on a farm. The women in those magazines might as well have been from Mars for all that she had in common with them. I suspect that 'women's magazines' have always tried to sell images of what is most unattainable - for 21st century women it's being perpetually young, hot, and sexually available. For my grandmother - it would have been the 'life of leisure' that a housewife with all of the 'modern convienices' would have had.

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  26. I was really surprised to realize, only this year, that I don't care about fashion at all. I'd just never noticed. It's construction that thrills me.

    I've never read any of these magazines, though, so perhaps that should have been a clue. I must say that the idea of consulting Elle to determine if one should procreate is, well, novel, at least.

    An art director's idea of good copy has never seemed to me to have anything to do with, well, anything -- except keeping an agency or publisher and the ancillary employees in business. More power to them, but is it relevant? Naw, I don't think so.

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  27. Empowerment?? Just the opposite. Something to keep young women's minds busy and off the real subject of empowerment. Remember that a lot of the men behind all this 'empowerment' want to keep women from voting, keep them from making an equal wage to men and most of all to keep women from the choice of what to do with their own bodies.

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  28. I have never really been interested in fashion magazines (well, unless they come with patterns inside...). My sister is studying photography in school, so she has a large stack because she was more interested in analyzing the photographs than the fashion, but she has been wanting to get rid of them. I might peak through them, but I doubt I will be wanting to keep many. I will admit to looking through teen prom magazines however - I like to look for inspiration for skating costumes. I know these magazines are supposed to be selling me "luxury" but too often the models look like they are drugged out and had a rough night. Even when there is a "vintage" type spread, it often looks very costume and not like legitimate glamour. Not very appealing in either case.

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  29. I used to read some of these magazines, but I find I am too old to relate to them anymore. I realized that as soon as I turned 50 I was out of the demographic that is important. I am in pretty good shape for a person of my age, but, clearly, these magazines have no use for me so I have no use for them.

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  30. Fashion magazines, bah!! The only magazines I read are Cloth, Paper Scissors and Art Doll Quarterly. I'd read more of that type of magazine, but they are too darn expensive.

    Fashion - as displayed in the "fashion" mags. - leaves me totally uninspired. For one, I'm over 25, and for another, I'm only 5'2" (oh, the shame).

    That's why I've always sewn for myself. So I can have clothes I like, and so I don't have to be a carbon copy of someone else.

    Do you remember the days when every woman knew how to sew (or at least her mother did). Now, when I tell people that I am a seamstress they give me a pitying look - like knowing how to sew is somehow a bad thing. Can anyone explain this to me?

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  31. Peter, once again your analysis is dead on. I look at these types of magazines only once in a while (usually when the seasons change) and find that nothing ever really changes. The August issue for 2011 could just as well be the one they published in 2010 or 2005 or 2000, and yet I am still confused. Are there any trends? What the heck are this season’s trends?

    To what are we supposed to be aspiring? To be a drugged out, angry, hungry, underage prostitutes? Excuse me – RICH, drugged out, angry, hungry, underage prostitutes. This is empowerment???? Hardly!! It’s more like sex-slavery. Maybe it’s just as well that we don’t have an obvious fashion trend for us all to go marching around in step. I can’t keep up in those sky-high heels anyway. I have no use for this crap.

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  32. I used to adore Vogue for the beautiful clothes and beautiful ideas on how to put together those clothes. I enjoyed the fantasy. Not only that I loved Vogues from other countries. As a traveller I've looked at Vogues in a few different countries over the last six months .. The Australian, Uk and American ones were mostly boring. The last French Vogue from a couple of months ago seemed to have a whore on every page. Even Italian Vogue doesn't have that wow factor. They've all missed the point.
    We like looking attractive but most of us don't want to look like high class whores.

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  33. To paraphrase Coco Chanel - Fashion fades, good style lasts forever. I wear what looks and feels good on me and stick with it.

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  34. I'm old enuf to remember when Vogue and Seventeen used to feature clothes to sew or knit. Vogue had Vogue patterns, of course, and Seventeen had how-tos for things like a pattern for the hottest sweater of the season. I used to buy Town and Country twice a year as they had a few pages of small pics of every important designer's line for the season, rows and rows of them. I like that because boutique shots of clothes on slouchy models don't let you see the details of the clothes if you want to knock them off. These days, it's on-line only as I'm so allergic to perfume that buy and airing a magazine just doesn't work for me.
    Heather

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  35. Due to my size, shape, and wallet, those magazines aren't even 'aspirational' to me. They are just from another planet altogether.

    I used to buy them like comfort food, to snuggle down with after a bad day at work. But now I am far more inclined to go to the library, or buy vintage Nat Geo magazines, or actually *do* something like sewing or cooking.

    The magazines are just an advertising platform, scattered with depressing models. It makes me wonder whether 'future people' will really be able to reflect on our society by these mags, because it doesn't seem that they even reflect society at the time they are written.

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  36. I used to love Vogue. The OLD Vogue, pre-Wintour. Now? Meh.

    And Peter, you're spot-on re: the prostitute-esque images. How pathetic. How infuriating. How unacceptable.

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  37. Not sure that lipstick really _is_ that affordable these days. I usually buy a cheap-and-nasty colour that I like (and that I like the feel of) from one of the discount makeup stores for around $3-$5. But earlier in the year MAC came out with a Wonder Woman branded set of cosmetics and I just HAD to buy something from the range and I settled on a nice pink lipstick. I couldn't believe it when they charged me close to $40 for it! Same size, also nice feel and nice colour but 10 times the price? I won't be buying from there again!

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  38. I'm one of the few who find them inspiring. Elle.com currently has a feature "America the Beautiful" with the "loveliest celebrity native of each state". Sounds like trash, but celebrates people like Beth Ditto (yay Arkansas!) and Valerie Plame.

    The magazines give a small glimpse of life outside the sticks here (though there are several other non-fashion mags I read for that purpose) and I admittedly don't have a subscription to any paper magazine at all. The free table at the library is heaven!

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  39. Hmm. Perhaps this is why pattern companies seldom carry current styles--sewers don't like what's in fashion! I'll agree that the models don't look like most of us, but when all the pants in the mags (and the stores) have an identifiable shape and NO commercial patterns have that shape...it pretty much follows that those who like fashion don't start to sew. And that is sad.

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  40. Brilliant post as usual Peter. Fashion mags are almost all ads and I hate paying for the privilege of reading advertising. And everyone looks so bored and miserable. How is that tempting? Why would I want to be like the models if they seem so disenchanted with their life.

    The only mag I read these days is Threads. Now that's a magazine with relevant, inspiring content. I agree with the commenter who said magazines are out and blogs are 'in'. :-)

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  41. I almost totally ignore the ads, except I was attracted to the python bags by Prada, et al. I would never want to kill a python, but I bought a plastic one and it's fabulous! I feel very fashionable. I look at Vogue and W to get an idea of the hemlines, waistlines, (out here in CA we are still wearing hip huggers) fabrics, colors and silhouettes. I HATE the perfume ads. Tried to get Vogue to send me a perfume free mag (yes, they do have them) but they haven't changed my subscription yet. So I go through and tear out all the perfume and inserts before I sit down to read. And then I tear out pages for my "inspiration book" and toss the magazine in the recycling.

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  42. I think reading the magazines is all about how well the reader handles their own differences from the media's depiction of society. Obviously the images are photoshopped and the models have so much makeup on it's surprising they can breathe, but the advertising companies are only doing what works. We shouldn't get mad at them for it; we're a part of the society which perpetuates it.

    I'm 21 years old and I have a subscription to Elle. I don't think I've ever looked at the photos and felt bad about how I look. I know I'm not shaped like anyone else; the amount of altering I have to do to make a pattern fit me is proof of that. I think that as long as the reader is confident in themselves and is aware that the models and images are not real or the norm, the experience becomes about the product rather than the person modeling it.

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  43. I read a few glossy women's magazines last weekend, and was surprised by how uninspiring they were. No style in the fashion spreads, no quality in the articles. I haven't read them for so long I'd almost forgotten they were really that crappy. I hate the articles about how to correct 'defects' like normal aging, and I hate how closely linked the content is to the ads. If I want a bit of light reading, I buy comics. If I want style inspiration, I read blogs like Fleur de Guerre, Gertie, or Lisa Freemont Street.

    Since I became pregnant last year, I've been exposed to a lot of parenting mags, and it's pretty much the same thing. With added guilt.

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  44. Try looking at some Japanese fashion magazines. They target specific audiences according to age. For example, Classy for 25 - 30 yr olds, Very for young mums 30 -39 yr ols, Story for 40+ years and Hers for 50+ years. What makes them different is that all the models, as well as the people snapped on the street, are also in the target age range. (And the ages are clearly given.) As for the rest, well, I'd rather my teenage daughter stay well away from them!

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  45. I love your hand in the photos you took. Looks like you're reaching in, trying to get all that stuff! Perhaps reaching but unable to attain all the glitz, glamour, and polished perfection? Those hands add a whole new element to analyzing your images.

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  46. Thank you; I should have clipped my nails...

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  47. Oh, no, you're nails are lovely!

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