A bone to pick with fashion magazines…

Click on each photo to enlarge…



Yellow is the trendy, delicious surprise color this season. I think this sundress is fabulous, but, alas, at these prices, I may have to fashion one for my self by hand on my trusty sewing machine.

Okay. Maybe I’m being ridiculous or it’s very possible I just don’t get it. Why do fashion magazines, with the exception of Vogue or Harpers Bazar, put clothing on their models that are so outrageously expensive, most mainstream women can only dream of owning them, much less actually can go out and purchase these garments for themselves?

Here’s my beef. I am devouring my new May issue of More, (my very favorite women’s magazine) and I come upon this fabulous spread featuring Christie Brinkley in a combination interview/fashion show. She’s beautiful, we all know it, and at 56, she’s unbelievably fabulous looking. All well and good. Okay, so I am completely turned on to the yellow sundress, and immediately start coveting it for myself. Where can I find it, and how much is it? I read the small print that gives the clothing facts, and I’m floored-but not surprised. The dress is a Diane Von Furstenberg, and the price is a whopping $385! Wait, it gets better. The shoes she’s wearing with that sunny yellow number are $595! See that gorgeous yellow jacket she’s wearing in the closup on the opposite page? That is really something, isn’t it? Couldn’t you just see yourself going somewhere important in that baby? Well, you can’ t have it-and you know why? Because it’s $1715!!!

Let’s move on a bit more, shall we? Next page-see that adorable raspberry jacket that fits her like a glove? I’d give a a thick lock of my hair for that, even though it probably doesn’t come in plus sizes, and even if it did, it wouldn’t look like that on me-but hey, I’d love to have it anyway. This jacket, according to small print adjacent to the photo is a Burberry (you know it’s unobtainable already, don’t you?)Prorusm (huh?) neoprene scuba trench. Yes, you read right, it’s a scuba coat-whatever. So do you love it enough to pay $2995? No, I didn’t forget the decimal point, it’s almost 3 thousand dollars. You can have a really state of the art refrigerator for that kind of money. Oh, and underneath, peeking out is a white, Ralph Lauren tank for a bargain price of $88. Geezzzze!

You get my point, I’m sure. Of course, these prices are a pittance for really wealthy people, but I know damn well, the vast majority of women reading these magazines are mainstream, middle class gals with a few wealthy women peppered in for good measure. Why do these stylists, editors-whom ever is in charge-choose to exhibit clothing with such out of this world price tags? I mean, it’s bad enough most of us don’t look like models, now we can’t even hope to purchase the clothing they wear so we can pretend or fantasize (as some of use do) to look even an iota as fashionable as these some of these gals do. This really pisses me off. What is the purpose of this spread? To show off Christie Brinkley, I bet. Who gives a crap about her-I want the flippin’ yellow sundress!!!

As I stated a paragraph ago, I wanted that yellow sundress so much, I was ready to plunk down a fairly sizable amount of money to get it- but my budget on a dress is about $100 tops and that’s only if it’s really cool and unusual. What the heck? I’m convinced, if they put reasonably priced good clothing on these models, they would sell a whole lot more product and women would be praising these magazines for doing them such a great service in advertising such gorgeous clothing. I was lamenting on this subject last night and my husband chimed in and said in a condenscending tone, “Well, we all know if the clothing is cheap, women won’t buy it assuming it’s not good quality.” I said “Bull! I don’t think the clothing has to be extremely cheap, just ‘obtainably’ expensive.” I don’t want clothing of the quality of SJP’s Bitten line. I really think those clothes are bottom of the barrel. What I would like is something that doesn’t require me to mortgage my house or take from my childrens’ college fund in order to be able to pay for it. (Not that I would…this is just an example.)

More magazine has a target audience of wise women over 40 who have their shit together and are sensible. This is insulting to me, a wise woman of 45. I would never spend this kind of money on an article of clothing. It’s completely ridiculous. Do they think it’s entertaining for most of us readers to sit and read about beautiful Christie Brinkley and her gorgeousness, being made to feel like we are window shopping, salivating for what we can’t have or ever hope to afford?
I am by no means a fashionista, or fashion follower, for that matter. But I do know what I like and I do know what I can afford. I just wish these magazines were down to earth. Specifically, the More articles are interesting and intelligent and aren’t geared toward just the elite or twiggy models, so why should the fashion content? In fact, now that I think about it, these magazines don’t really appeal to larger women, either. Most middle-aged women generally do not fall into the slender category because with age, comes thicker middles. Why not cater to women of all sizes so we feel like we matter just as much as the thin women? Do I make sense, or am I all wet here? Feedback, please, if you have any thoughts on this.
Looks like I need to direct my letter right to the editor where there’s More room for improvement. Now, I’m off to look for some sunshiney yellow fabric and a pattern to try to make that sundress my own. Damn them for teasing me like this!

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5 thoughts on “A bone to pick with fashion magazines…

  1. You’ve got me Em! They are totally insane with this stuff. I don’t read the magazine anymore but IMO I think not only should they show women in clothing that we can actually go to the store and purchase but actually show women who haven’t been botoxed and cut. I’m not a big fan of Jamie Lee Curtis but the woman is just that. A real natural woman who has not gone under the knife to apease mankind and who has to bust her ass like the rest of us after eating just one darn french fry.

    These magazines have their heads up their arses. Middle aged women will actually spend $100-$150 easily on a good looking dress so why push it? Why make us feel inferior? I guess they think we are dumb and will continue to purchase their magazines because we like to look at pictures. Well guess what?! I’m not going to spend my precious money on a magazine that promotes things I can’t have. I’d rather go to Old Navy and buy some trendy very affordable clothes or to the Gap for one of those cool turtlenecks that Sharon Stone wears. I don’t believe that stars wear these expensive clothes all the time. That’s why they do the photo shoot. They get to keep the clothes.

    Good point Em! Now send them a letter or two.

  2. I wanted to comment when I first READ this but an unexpected setback (trip to the ER!) put a halt to my normal week! Here I am, tho’ to applaud you LOUDLY for this post! And let me add to the price issue another complaint. What are the people who make catalogs for plus-sized women THINKING? Yes, some of the clothes are SO much nicer and WAY less frumpy than in the past. But how the (GRRRRR) can we – the targeted consumers – get an actual idea of how they’ll fit US if the catalog models are size 1-3????? How ignorant is THAT? And while I’m on an antibiotic-induced roll here, what are some of the designers thinking? I have YET to see a plus-sized woman look good in anything with a TIE in the back. Yes, it DOES make one look a BIT slimmer from the front. But take a second and view the BACKSIDE. UHHHHH – I don’t know about any of you, but if I wanted my butt to look like a cafe table, I’d set out dinner plates on it. Oh, I could go on & on, but maybe I should stop using YOUR blog as a forum for my complaints & post about this on MY blog soon. EM, YOU ROCK!

  3. Oh, I totally agree with everything you said. I stopped buying all those magazines.Way too unreal for me. They have no idea who their audience is…or worst they don’t care. I prefer reading blogs…real women, real lives. When you finish that dress for yourself…I’ll pay you $100 to make one for me…right now I’m a size 14.

  4. Hi Em…
    Im thinking as Im reading this great piece you wrote as all the others with such passion…mmmmm whens Miss Em gonna realize its time for her to begin using that awesome spirit, passion for writing, addressing women issues,, & voice of hers to begin her very own “Reality Magazine” for women!!!
    Em for Prez! new “smoke free” hugs, Kat

  5. amen, sister!

    I enjoyed reading your post, this one really hit home as I was stuck in a dr. office this week looking at magazines and I actually thought the exact same thing!!! My daughter and I were laughing at a spread focusing only on foot-wear – there was not one pair of shoes, boots, heels, etc. that cost less than $100 – and some were over a thousand. It’s completely unrealistic – I would never be able to actually walk in shoes that cost that much, I’d be sick the whole time worrying about ruining them!

    Peace, Jenn

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