I've given up on fashion magazines.
I want to like them, I really do, but the fact is that I have yet to find a so-called woman's magazine that is marketed to my demographic and doesn't make me feel like crap when I flip through its pages.
More Magazine, depressingly branded for women over 40, and Marie Claire are less inane than most. They at least have substantive articles about women of influence and current affairs, although both seem to always feature one lengthy feature on some celebrity or other. I never read these because really, WHO CARES? As far as I'm concerned the deep thoughts of 20-year-old pop stars belong in Tiger Beat, and I really have no interest in what actresses have to say about politics, unless we are sitting across the dinner table from each other.
But the real problem with these magazines is that they exist primarily to make you feel like crap about yourself so you will buy more stuff. You will never be as young, thin, perfect, or expensively styled as the young women who appear in their pages. Don't get me wrong --- there's certainly a place for the beautifully artistic photos of remarkably gorgeous people wearing amazingly expensive and beautiful clothing. But there's plenty of that. Where's fashion for the rest of us?
Except for the tiny "Big Girl in a Skinny World" feature in Marie Claire and the occasional Dove ad, you will never see a woman bigger than a size 2 in these pages. Even in their "What I Like About Myself" feature, in which they photograph and interview women in different cities, everyone is under 40, slender, and chic. They're supposed to look like they were just caught on the street looking amazing but each and every one looks impossibly fashionably styled.
Occasionally fashion magazines will throw a bone to the plus sized and include a few options in a feature about the perfect outfit for your body type, but here's a hint, fashion folk --- plus size is not a body type. Fluffy girls come in a lot of different shapes with a lot of different assets. Just like our skinny sisters.
The majority of the pages of these magazines feature virtually nothing I can find in my size (or, usually, afford). But clothing isn't the only unobtainable look. In More's popular " This is what 50 (or 42, or whatever) ... Looks Like" I glance at the "real woman" (aka a lovely female person whose job is not modeling) and think, "Yes, this is what 50 looks like when you can afford Botox or surgery or have amazing freaking genes."
With the exception of the fabulous- in-all- ways Tim Gunn who, let's face it, we all wish were our fashion fairy godfather, there is nothing worthwhile in these pages for someone like me. I want a fashion magazine that features women in a WIDE variety of sizes and ages and ethnic backgrounds. I want a fashion magazine that offers real advice about how to use what you've already got to put together wearable, comfortable, practical and stylish outfits. I want a fashion magazine that features affordable clothes and beauty products. I want to see photos of women who have done their own hair and makeup following the advice all these marvelously talented pros have laid out.
I want them to stop pretending that we all can or should look like dewey-faced, stick-figure 22 year-olds who somehow can afford to jet around the world looking bored and starved while wearing chunky sweaters, knee-high boots and no pants and carrying a giant bag that cost more than my car.
I am bored with the impossible fantasy. Some real, usable advice would be welcome. This is not to be found in fashion magazines. I prefer these days to follow a few fashion and makeup bloggers who are more creative and interesting, and while often very beautiful come in a variety of sizes, ages, and ethnicities, unlike their counterparts on the glossy page.
Nadia Abhoulson's style is often a little adventurous for me, but in a good way ... I'm inspired to try some of her looks while shopping my own closet.
Native American blogger Kiah has a classy, sassy, fun sense of style.
Gabi offers cute styling ideas from inexpensive clothing lines, and even started her own line of cute (not frumpy) plus-sized swimwear.
GwynnieBee.com is a great way to try and buy (or not) a wide variety of styles, and they offer simple but great styling advice for each of their items.
Finally, if you share my frustration with the state of fashion magazines and the way whole segments of the population are ignored in the media, PLAY MY CONTEST. The First Possibly Annual Put On Some Pants and Have a Sandwich Contest.
That's right, there's a contest. The prize is a box of homemade goodies from me and may include any or all of the following, or something completely different depending on what my pantry and mood advise: sweet potato biscuits, orange cranberry scones, apricot tarragon cookies, white chocolate peppermint pretzels.
The rules: Choose your favorite ridiculous high fashion photo and recreate it entertainingly. It can be about clothing, makeup, lifestyle, whatever takes your fancy. It can feature you, your pets, your family, random strangers you meet in truck stops or on the subway. Send it here for posting. You can enter as many times as you like. Tell all your friends to vote for you. I am the final judge but the winner gets the goodies --- as long as you live in the US or are willing to pay shipping elsewhere. :)
Come on, it will be fun. Plus, those sweet potato biscuits are REALLY good.