I hear Reader’s Digest is nice …


The WordPress home page includes a few recent posts by members; one today was from a woman who had gone to FatWallet.com and finagled a free subscription to Town & Country magazine. A recent issue inspired this post.

It includes thoughts like:

  • “It is interesting to me to watch the process by which the realities of my daily life have become ‘chic.’ “
  • “The fact that this life, which we have lived for many years, is now considered novel and maybe even fashionable, is somewhat surreal.”
  • “Shopping at Target and coloring one’s own hair are not novelties discovered by the editors at ‘Elle‘; they are the realities of average American lives.”

I’m no forensics expert, but a few things that bother me about this:

First: Subscribing to a luxury magazine, then expressing indignance about the way it suggests buying expensive items, is like subscribing to Cat Fancy, then getting bent out of shape about how many pictures of cats there are on the pages.

To Town & Country’s target high-dollar audience — as dwindling as it may be in this economy — $325  is our equivalent of … let’s say $50. (Hey, that enamel ring box is suggested as a Christmas gift, not a party favor!) And  readers who don’t have that kind of cash but still subscribe are in it for the fantasy aspect. If they’re looking to escape from a life of “making do,” why would they pick up a magazine that offers them nothing but more of the same?

Similarly, a fashion magazine promotes the creations of an industry that remains extant only when people buy new things regularly, whether it be a purse, panties, pumps or Prada (which actually makes all three, but you get the point).

It’s not like magazines are pretending they just discovered this kicky new trend called “more affordable clothing.” They’re featuring it more prominently — which is smart, as readers’ pocketbooks shrink — but I would think that would be a good thing.

Instead, the author seems kind of put out that they’re encroaching on her frugaler-than-thou territory.  Is name-dropping St. John supposed to let us know she’s still fashion-savvy? Because the “average American” doesn’t have a St. John suit or bag–even used ones.

Annie says she wishes there was less focus on what was bought, but this post is still pretty focused on what she’s got — and the references to Abercrombie jeans and cashmere sweaters distract from what I hope is her real point: What she has is enough.

So why bother to seek validation through publications like Elle or Town & Country?

WHAT SAM WORE: 11-6-09
I wore the same thing to work yesterday, too. Shh!
The shirt: Round-collar cotton button-down, from J. Crew.
The pants: Jeans by Five Four, from Vivi’s Boutique in Chandler.
The shoes: Sneakers by Skechers, from Last Chance.

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