What makes a magazine worth reading?
Forget about the US Weeklies and OK!s for now. Let's focus on my areas of interests only: fashion and lifestyle. Is it the latest news coverage? The stylist + photographer dream team? The awe-inspiring editorials? Or the exclusive cover story/ interview subject? These are all the things I look for when I'm buying a magazine nowadays. Ever since I moved back to Asia and have no more access to bargain-priced magazine subscriptions for my monthly reads, I have become more picky with my magazine buys. I'm a self-admitted magazine whore, if you will... the kind of person who would would be happy to spend up to 20 bucks (or $160 hkd) for a good imported magazine, and we're talking about 3-4 per month. Most of my preferred magazines are non-HK ones, which means they will cost on average at least double the original price. So to justify spending that much money every month/ season on printed paper which most people consider as disposable goods, there needs to be some criteria for purchase.
News content is not such a big factor anymore as nowadays we can get instant newsfeed from blogs and twitter alike, so 'traditional' magazines will have to rely more on their relationships with celebrities and fashion insiders for exciting stories and interviews. Then it's really all down to the picturesque editorials and amazing styling - beautiful photos that will inspire you.
Everyone's been saying print media is slowly being taken over by the digital age, but I say a good magazine done 'with heart' beats any online webzine any day. The Gentlewoman is definitely one of my recent favorites. The magazine's been talked about quite a bit among fashion bloggers since its debut earlier in the season, but I still have to show my love despite being late in the game.
As an extension of its male counterpart - The Fantastic Man, The Gentlewoman is the perfect harmony of the man and the woman... a sweet, classy unisex vibe, which pretty much sums up my personal style motto. One word to describe it - refreshing. It's a breathe of fresh air from the frilly styling and pop star-as-models that so dominated fashion reads in recent years. The aesthetic is simple, yet striking (I suppose a brand equivalent would be Celine under Phoebe Philo's reigns?!) and it celebrates strong, well-respected women across all fields. One of the things I love most is the way the clothes/ brands are credited in the style stories. The shoes aren't just 'patent leather shoes, Christian Dior' and the dress isn't just a 'pleated silk-chiffon dress, Marc Jacobs'. Instead, the Gentlewoman tells a story about the outfit - that "Eniko's (model's name) nicely contrasting shoes are by Christian Louboutin and the vintage bag from a selection at Marlene Wetherell bears no label but is still very cute." This narrative crediting almost reminds me of fashion presentations back in the old days - where the MC would describe each outfit in flowery details as the models walk out. Just like that scene in Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day with the 1940's lingerie fashion show. Of course this would be considered dated and old-school to be used at shows now, but somehow when it's in print it seems fitting and with just the right hint of nostalgia.
Until spring 2011, I'll just keep reading my Vogues and Monocle and Elles to keep myself occupied.