Me vs. magazines

I am probably one of the worst people to have a style blog. I’m serious. I know nothing about fashion. I know colors, patterns, designs and what I like, but I couldn’t tell you anything about fashion if my life depended on it, other than the fact that my sister adores Alexander McQueen, I think Betsy Johnson is a genius and I love Kate Spade’s designs.

That’s about all I’ve got.

I can sew, kinda of, if I have to, but I’m not nearly as talented as my mother. She made the dress I wore in my very first outfit post.

But the real reason why I’m the worst person to have a style blog? I hate magazines.

Yup. Deep breaths, everyone, deep breaths.

I understand the work that goes into them, the time they take to create and all that, but I feel like they’re exactly like that scene out of The Devil Wears Prada where Stanley Tucci explains how the color of the sweater (cerulean, my favorite crayon, btw), was hand-picked by the people in that room for the high-end fashions, then trickled down into the mass fashions where she picked that poly-blend out of dollar bin. Or something like that.

I will never be “that girl,” who sits at home on a Friday night, devouring the new September Vogue magazine. Why? I just don’t find myself inspired by them at all, because all I can think when I flip through the pages is “why is this ‘call for pricing?’ Why is this $3,000?! Who has an extra $3,000 to spend on a jacket!?” And that’s when I get a little mad.

As I’ve said before, and I’ll say again and again, I am on a budget. I may admire a $3,000 coat, or hell, even a $200 coat, but I’ll never purchase it. My luckiest (and happiest) purchase in recent times was buying a $169 Anthropologie dress for $45. Yeah. That was awesome.

But, again, I understand why a magazine will put in Stella McCartney pants instead of Forever 21 or Zara pants. I mean, I get it, but I don’t have to like it. And, I will admit, sometimes the headlines will suck me in when they promote “100 items under $50” or whatever, but I’ve noticed even that has changed! So instead of magazines showing me accessible fashions, they’re showing me the high-end, unobtainable (for me) fashions.

So, instead of buying or reading magazines (which I do a few times a year, although I always find myself really disappointed with my choices), I read fashion and style blogs. Let me tell you, blogs are so much more inspiring to me than a magazine any day! Magazines seem to cater to one group: tall, thin, attractive, with overflowing bank accounts. But blogs, ah! Blogs are every size, shape, color and price point we want them to be, because we make them.

To me, magazines are an unnecessary purchase that I make, that make me think I need to own this or that, and attempt to force styles that might not fit their body type on the general population. It’s like the quote above: fashion is what we’re all offered, but style is what you make of it.

And blogs are nothing but pure style of that writer, or group of writers (in some cases).

So, what the heck is my point? Keep that inspiration coming, ladies and gentlemen. (If you want the dorky answer, blogs > magazines. Yeah, I went there. It’s the only part of high school math I remember).


29 thoughts on “Me vs. magazines

  1. I love this post, so well said! I definitely find myself frustrated with the styles in fashion magazines (as well as the advertising and articles, which often seem to be derogatory towards women . . . who are their intended audience). Since I started reading fashion blogs it’s rare that I read magazines and when I do I find myself more disgusted with them. Your blog is one that I read regularly and find inspiration from, so thank you!

    • Thanks Lisa!
      I was a little worried when deciding to post this, because I didn’t want to offend any regular magazine readers. But, like I said, for me, they don’t work. And it’s interesting that you bring up advertising and articles, because many are very derogatory towards women, but there are also many that are the same way toward men (watch a paper towel or detergent commercial. They make the man seem inept and the woman seem like she’s only there to clean!).

  2. I don’t like fashion mags either, but I do love reading magazines – you know, Vanity Fair, Bust, Bitch, and the like. When I am reading fashion mags, I don’t linger on the fashion because, as you mention, who has $3000 to spend on a single item? Mind-boggling.

  3. The only magazine I read is Lucky, and even it is too rich for my blood. But its outfits are realistic for the most part, and I’ve found some great ideas in there. But I have very little patience for “high fashion”–no part of it relates to my life, or my style, or my world. Don’t worry, Miss Ahoy–there are MANY non-mag girls out here!

  4. I never read fashion magazines either. It’s mainly that the styles they put together seem like they’re for parties or clubbing or occasionally for business very formal and I can’t use those styles. It’s also the price points — I maybe have a little more cash to throw around than some bloggers, but it’s not like that puts me up into the $3000 item realm. That’s 2 1/2 mortgage payments in my world.

  5. Yeah I’ve never been able to stand fashion magazines. Glad I’m not the only one.
    I also really dislike all the perfume samples that come in them. My allergies are kind of sensitive to those types of things. And when you mix them all together the whole thing just ends up smelling foul.
    I also love fashion blogs becuase I am a nosy person and I love seeing glimpses into people’s real lives.

  6. I’ve actually never been into magazines. When all my girlfriends in high school were leafing through Teen Vogue and Seventeen, I just scoffed and stuck my nose deeper into my Stephen King novel, hehe. I think these magazines are trying to cater to the spoiled brats who’s parents will happily buy them those $120 jeans and that $230 jacket. I see a LOT of style blogs by teen girls with a LOT of items in those price ranges and it just blows me away. I agree though, as pretty as the stuff in the magazines is, I’ll never buy it. I’d love to have it, but I most likely never will. I’m with you on Blogs trumping magazines though, for sure!

  7. I know how you feel – magazines offer the unattainable. And to be honest, there are plenty of blogs out there who do the same. I’m not saying I dislike either, just that there will always be that moment when I open up a magazine and zero in on the most expensive thing on the page, and then go see my favorite blogger who happens to have been gifted this gorgeous designer dress and I feel just as putout. Maybe more so, because I’m a blogger too.

    and it’s maybe a littler harder when i see a blogger who does look like a model and I know they haven’t been photoshopped to perfection, that is just how they look. at least with magazines i can say it’s just that professional retouching….

    and blogs are a measuring stick in that i am a blogger so the completion feels more real. i dont have to compete with a magazine, they are the professionals, but it’s different among my peers.

    this is sort of a weird tangent, and i guess i could just read different blogs and only focus on people with my shape and my price point, but I know I wont.

  8. Girl ever since I started blogging I find more inspiration from the blogs I read than magazines. I only really looked at magazines when I’m in someone’s waiting room honestly! And as a fashion blogger, I’m just now starting to educate myself on different designers and all that. I think that’s what makes bloggers period so popular because we are the most in touch with people in the fashion world. We may not know it all but we’re always learning – and then sharing what we learn with everyone else! 🙂

  9. And you’ve said it all 🙂 I only buy magazines when I go to the airport. It’s become a little tradition, but everytime I read those magazines I tell myself I really should stick to blogs. Pictures are unreal, women too skinny, too perfect skin, perfect hair, way too much legs and clothes are way too expensive…and just like you, it gets me frustrated. I find so much more inspirations on blogs and I’ll keep it that way!

  10. What a nice post. I went to the doctor’s office and was flipping through magazines and I realized I related more to seventeen magazine than vogue or glamour. Seventeen actually has stuff from stores I can shop at and looks I can pull off, it is nice to fantasize though. But you are right, I totally can’t relate. The only mags I read are Entertainment weekly and Food Network mag. I relate to gals like you who try to make the best of what they got! Also, Cerulean is MY favorite crayon too!

  11. I am w/you on every point!

    I don’t know sh$# about fashion. If you asked me what my favorite designer was, I wouldn’t have a clue, I can’t tell one from another. Well, maybe I would say one that works with affordable stores, like Mango, Christian Siriano, Nicole Miller, etc., just because I’m grateful that they are making style more attainable.

    I’ve never been into fashion mags, not only are they showcasing items that are WAY outside of my price-point, but they are also showing items that only look good on stick figures, which I am not. I get inspiration from all over – blogs, people on the street, TV shows, store window displays, etc.

  12. I buy one magazine a year–the September issue. I’m trolling for colors and textures and profiles. Last year, I tore out 12 pages as inspiration. Then, I start trolling the thrifts for lookalikes. Last January, I did several knock-offs of advertisements and had some fun with the “machine.” If there is a HalfPrice Books in your area, they sell old mags for 50 cents…

    Love your approach.

  13. Agreed!

    However, I sew, so sometimes I look through a magazine and I look to see what I should sew, not buy! There is this super cute midi length skirt that is this ice blue/teal color and I just love it! But there is now way I would spend $100+ on a skirt, sorry! But! I have a pattern in my stash that looks similar and I all I would need is fabric, thread, and a zipper. Waaaay less then $100!

    Most of the time, though, I look through the fashion blogs to get inspiration!

  14. I totally TOTALLY relate with this post. I always dreamed of starting a fashion magazine that was geared toward real life women, who have a budget and want to look trendy and chic while not breaking the bank. I suppose that’s why I started a blog – it was my way of creating a little digital online magazine that said you can still be stylish without running around in $700 shoes. Great post Suze! – Katy

  15. I love magazines, but I generally steer clear of the fashion oriented ones, since I like to actually READ my magazines. I picked up a copy of Lucky the other day and was struck by how unrealistic and out-of-whack the styles were (this is before I even saw the extravagant prices). And don’t get me started on their latest redesign….it is a headache to read. I definitely prefer blogs over mags for my fashion fix, but I would never give up non-fashion magazines. When I do read fashion mags, I often find that I get more inspiration from the ads than the editorial shoots (who thinks of that stuff anyway, and what are they on?)..

  16. Good post Suze. You make some really good points. The only two fashion magazines I read are Lucky and People Style. I feel like both of those magazines provide a few less expensive items that fit in my budget. Lucky also doesn’t feature way out there style that I’d never want to recreate at home. I feel that I get inspiration from both of these magazines and blogs. Yeah, it stinks that I can’t afford the majority of items in Lucky magazine but I can’t afford some of the clothes that are featured on blogs either. It is frustrating when a blog features an item I really want and I click on the link to that item and I find out the item is out of my price range. I then remind myself that part of the fun is searching for an item similar to the one out of my price range.

  17. Hey Miss Suze,

    I was an avid magazines reader until I found this little blog when pepping a competitors fb wall. So the last magazine I purchased was People Style Watch March 2011. I really like the realness of blogs and how I have something new to read daily.

    I don’t watch TV and rarely go to the movies so seeing what movie stars are wearing is just not that relevant to me. I could care less about Brands so I really don’t need to see what the latest designer is showing.

    Some times I feel the same way as you being the owner of a boutique and not really caring about “Fashion”. I almost feel this sense of guilt, like fashion should be my life. The thing is I love clothing, style, textiles and color. Most of all I love dressing people. As you know you are my favorite blog. One of the reasons for this is because you buy and wear what you love. I love that you are not label hungry. Keep up the good work! As I tweeted one late spring night “I would rather be mentioned in a blog over a #fashionmagazine any day!

    Lots of love,

  18. Great post and I definitely agree that I like fashion blogs to find style. But I have loved fashion magazines since I was little. My family and friends asks why things are so expensive but I try to explain it’s inspiration, not exactly realistic. There are “cheaper” magazines such as Lucky or InStyle. I always pull out editorials and put them into an inspiration/mood board. If you are a creative person, I strongly encourage you to understand the work designers do. I like to look at those $3,000 items because someone hand sewn them or the structure is something new. If you understand the craft then perhaps you’ll fall in love with the magazines like I have.

  19. I definitely agree with you on this subject. I get disgusted by the price of items in magazines. I’ll admit that I still get Glamour and Lucky. I usually see a handful of outfits that I like in Lucky, but that’s it. I definitely get the majority of inspiration from blogs these days. Magazines have a tendency to make me want to buy things. Blogs make me want to remix, and thrift, and sew, much more productive actions than simply buy.

  20. Fantastic post. Completely agree with you. I would much rather read and comment on a blog then spend time reading a magazine anymore. I do read Lucky and that is because at least it is aimed at including all price points.


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  22. I love accessible fashion, which is something blogs offer that magazines cannot or will not. I’m not sure which. It’s pure fantasy, and I’ve just accepted that I guess. Even so, I still get really angry at MOST magazines, including home and garden pubs. You know, the “small budget” makeovers that cost $15k or the small weekend lakeside cottage (3000 sq ft) that a family decided to downgrade to when their home/apartment in the City was no longer fulfilling.

    I refuse to even consider paying for designer clothing for several reasons, even if I were to have the cash at my disposal at some point in the future. I’d much rather put my money toward supporting a local craftsperson or seamstress/tailor than a designer or brand who uses sweatshop labor to produce their goods. Especially at such exorbitant prices. If I’m stuck buying sweatshop goods, I’m not paying through the nose for them.

    I try to mitigate my retail guilt by thrifting, eBaying, composting and recycling, but I still shop at places like Old Navy and Walmart. I can’t afford to go anywhere else and the thrift shops are hit or miss here.

  23. I’m not really big on magazines either- other than my Cooking Light one, which I get excited and do a small dance about every month when it shows up (and then go spend $$$ on more ingredients than we’ll actually be able to get through before they spoil). I definitely feel like reading style blogs has shaped my aesthetics and the way that I approach getting dressed above everything else.

  24. …being from the fifty and over age box…and having loved print since before i could read…pictures…ads…the font…the layouts…i am not with you on this one in as much as i do love magazines…fashion…trade…catalogs…television…etc…but…ever since a young friend who is a lovely twenty something style oriented blogger introduced me to your blogging world…i have become a big fan of what you and your beautiful peers all do…you share yourselves with confidence and grace and accept each other no holds barred…love that about you girls…so i will continue to read my beloved magazines but also check in with bloggers like yourself who always offer up alternative perspectives in fun pictures and smart postings…respectfully, g.r. montero

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