Mad over magazines

Friday, 4 September 2009 | Tags: , , , , ,

My head is buried in fashion magazines for our new series Anna & Kristina's Beauty Call. I've never spent so much money on fashion magazines...ever! And I've decided that most women's style mags aren't worth the cover price unless you're interested in looking at a catalogue of ads and fantasizing about a life you do not lead...

These days I’m seeing a trend in many fashion magazines like In Style, Glamour and Elle. They talk about buying less or buying cheaper stuff, but ultimately they encourage us to spend-spend-spend.

It’s irritating.

I want the new Prada bag as much as the next girl, but browsing these magazines just makes me want it, no, NEED it, that much more. It’s so easy to get obsessed with having the latest and greatest.

And most fashion magazines just make me feel old. After reading the current issue of W (with Kate Moss on the cover–does the woman not age???) I have added ReVive skin care products to my list of things to pick up on my upcoming trip to New York. For upwards of $500 a bottle, it promises to make me look like I’ve had lots of rest. Seeing as how I already get plenty of sleep I’m thinking this might be my ticket to a miracle!

See what I mean? Read these magazines and you start believing in miracles…if you’re willing to pay for them, that is.

By my count, the September issue of Vogue has ads for the first 105 pages straight. And that doesn’t include the pull-out pages. On page 106 the editors give us a taste of the table of contents. The ads start again on page 107 and the table of contents continues on page 130 (the magazine calls it page 136. But even if they counted the pull-out pages, I have no idea how they got to this number.)

Then there’s another 10 pages of ads and part three of the table of contents continues on page 140 (146 according to the magazine). Part four is on page 166. The first real piece of content – the letter from the editor – begins on page 198 (or 208 depending on who you believe). That’s 194 pages of ads! We’re almost halfway through the magazine and we’ve had one piece of content (which is broken up by ads, natch.)

I understand that ads equal revenue and are the reason most magazines exist in the first place. Plus, the pictures can be nice to look at. Beautiful people in beautiful settings and stunning photography. And I often wonder about the ads printed on extra thick paper. How much more do the advertisers pay for the fancy stuff?

For those who want to know what’s in stores now, the ads are a good way to find out. But how am I, the lowly consumer – the one who buys this magazine and those new boots for fall and who allows this industry to exist in the first place – supposed to decipher those ads and decide what’s worth investing in and what isn’t?

I wish fashion magazines did a better job of working for ME. I want more useful and realistic advice on how one can find her own style, as well as more in-depth analysis of the world’s obsession with beauty and the culture of fashion. It’s a significant subject and the field is full of smart, fascinating people.

Please give me less “whats hot and what’s not.” (Grey nail polish is hot? Who cares. It looks terrible on everyone.) Who decides what’s hot and what’s not and how old are they anyway?

I want substance!

Of course, there are several fashion magazines that are good. In Canada, I never miss Flare. While in Europe recently I discovered Grazia and Tatler, both of which I’ll seek out here at home from now on. And in the US, W usually does a good job of reporting on pop culture.

And at the end of the day, my go-to fashion mag has got to be Vogue. Its style content is diverse and interesting, if not a bit high-brow, which is exactly what it wants to be. Vogue knows who it is and nails it every month. Even if this month’s edition, the September issue, is 586 pages long, most of which are ads.

So is there a fashion magazine out there that quells your style and content needs without overwhelming you with ads? I’d like to know about it!



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