I read Lucky and InStyle every month. OK, “read” might be a bit strong. But I examine both ads and articles with a hungry eye, and usually two or three times over before relegating them to the bathroom, where Husband Mike can use them to educate himself on the latest trends in girliness. Like most normal humans, I am frequently annoyed by the stick-insect models, bizarre and useless focus on celebrity ballgowns (WHY?!??), and outrageous price tags on showcased merch. But I’ve learned to take what I need from these mags and discard the rest.
As a connoisseur of fine words, I thoroughly enjoy the vocab lessons I get from style mags. I could never have added “d’Orsay heels,” “ombre,” and “Ikat prints” to my personal lexicon without the help of fashion writers far more knowledgeable than myself. Oh, and the pretty, pretty pictures help, too. It’s like fashion flashcards.
I also love to find out what’s hot and evaluate in terms of my OWN look. I pass more frequently than I indulge, because trendy items are so often bizarre, hideous, or laughably unflattering to anyone who doesn’t possess the bodily proportions of Angeline Jolie. But it feels good to be in-the-know, and to make informed choices about new styles.
When I DO see a trend or new pairing of items that intrigues me, I make a mental note to find an affordable way to procure it through my own channels. Again, like most normal humans, I have never actually bought an item as shown/promoted in a magazine. I’ve hunted down its likeness at JC Penny and loved it to pieces, instead.
You’ll note that I limit my reading to the semi-accessible style mags. Actual fashion magazines like Vogue make me feel simultaneously angry and inferior, and a recent essay from Independent Fashion Bloggers perfectly encapsulated why:
Vogue and Harper’s talk to me from on high … and about crap I don’t care about even if I COULD afford it. Yeah, sure, if I’d studied clothing design or art history, high fashion might be fascinating and meaningful. But my interest is in style, not in fashion. I am a medium-sized person with a medium-sized income, and I want to look and feel awesome every single day. I’ve never felt that Vogue could help me do that. So I’ve stuck to Lucky and InStyle, both of which have served me well. But now I find even more powerful tools at my disposal.
The “new way” referenced by the fab graphic above is to get your style guidance from fashion blogs. Information in a printed magazine must be researched months in advance, but blogging is instantaneous. If you want truly of-the-moment info, look no further than your ‘puter.
In addition to being timely, style blogs are comprehensive. No matter what you want to know, someone is blogging about it. You can get snapshots of regular people sporting fantastically creative looks via street style blogs, tips on where to land great gear for less via shopping blogs, and constructive guidance on how best to flatter your figure via advice blogs – ALL FOR FREE.
And, even better, you can get your fashion fix without the snobbery. A generalization, of course, as there are plenty of style blogs that will make you feel like a total outsider. But Frugal Fashionista and The Budget Babe will show you how to dress like a celeb on an admin’s budget. You Look Fab is an encyclopedia of figure flattery tips, and Gala Darling will tell you how to love yourself and love your life. And if you’re exhausted by obnoxious style mandates and absurd trends, Daddy Likey will crack you up with her wry take on fashion, both high and low.
I can’t imagine giving up my subscriptions. Style mags are cheap thrills, and it gives me inexplicable solace to leaf through them during weekend café visits with Husband Mike. But I’ve come to appreciate my daily dose of earthy, germane style tips from the ever-giving, ever-lovin’ Interwebs. And it encourages me to see that bloggers are working to change the tide: To create a media network that informs and educates women about style as a means of bolstering self-image.
Now that’s a trend I can get behind.