How Do I Love Thee, Monthly Glossy? Let Me Count the Ways...

I had a good time collecting foreign editions of popular magazines during That Week In December.

The three at the top- Grazia and the two ELLE magazines- were free at reception. Fashion magazines with full features- not just the brochure or "teaser" types- are free for guests. I found that quite impressive. (Is that just because I get irrationally excited about fashion magazines...? No- don't answer that.)

I have no idea what is going on in those magazines: 5 days was not long enough to master my French grammar and concorde. I do, however, have the use of Google Translate. I tried to "read" one of the editor's letters earlier, and it took me so long. Maybe I'll revisit that when I really have nothing better to do- for now I'll stick to looking at the pictures.

The train stations and airports in France, (and in some other European countries, according to this article), all have branches of RELAY- a newsstand/convenience store that has the most mind-blowing variety of books and magazines. I think the only place I've seen such comprehensive stock is at Exclusive Books- the really big ones at the major malls, that are attached to that fancy coffee shop.

Anyway. In between train rides to different fun places, I went into the RELAY shops to thumb through titles like Vogue, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, OK!, and a wide range of sudoku and crossword puzzle magazines, to pass the time (and to escape the family trip drama for a little while).

I think I got the COMPANY first. The name really caught my eye, plus upon closer inspection I saw that I had read about one of the cover stars- Susie Bubble- on a blog before. The next big thing that attracted me to the magazine was the main tagline which read: "The Superblogger Issue". Of course, that's exactly what I'm trying to do here, so I had to find out what they were saying about it!
It cost me 4 Euros, which when converted to Rands is just about what I would pay for an imported magazine at Exclusive Books in any case. (Even if it weren't, I would justify the purchase, because there is very little that I will actually allow to get between me and my magazines.)

I like the magazine- which is apparently the equivalent of Seventeen for the UK- for the fashion features and the interesting celebrity interviews. It offered me a look at youth culture in the UK, and made what was once fairly foreign slightly more accessible to me. (It's important for me to study the natives, so that one day when I make a giant leap across the pond, I'll know what's waiting for me.)

One thing that did annoy me about the magazine, is the excessive use of text-speak, hashtags, and asterisks. I understand that the publication is geared at a young crowd, who use a different type of language and communicate very informally, but does that mean that some of the features should be reduced to the status and quality of print versions of Facebook updates?

The American edition of ELLE magazine with Jennifer Lawrence on the front was a must-have for me. I couldn't not buy any issue of ELLE, whether I could afford it or not.

What I noticed about this edition is how much thicker it is than the South African one. I mean, it’s heavy. And at 342 pages (just about double the amount in an issue of our edition), I wouldn’t expect anything less.
The pages are mostly taken up by advertisements. There are 21 pages of double-page advertising from various jewellery, accessory and make-up brands before the contents page. Twenty-one.
The sociology student in me sees that as a sign of just how consumerist the American society is. It’s as if the brand managers believe that people buy magazines to look at those ads and be enticed to buy things, and not to read the insightful articles.
And the articles are insightful. Insightful,  thoroughly-researched and well-written- the only way ELLE magazine knows how.

I learnt some interesting things about trends in contemporary art and fashion, had a glimpse of some of the makeup trends that will be prominent in the coming months, flipped through a lot of beautiful photographs that accompanied lengthy but interesting articles, and had a great time with the J'adore Dior perfume sample which came with the issue. I still have to finish reading it (some of the articles are too long to finish in one sitting- maybe that's why there are so many pictures in the magazine?), but I think this is one edition I'm going to be buying again. It will depend who's on the cover.

Back home, the March issues of my two staple glossy reads, ELLE  and Seventeen, feature Scarlett Johansson and Nina Dobrev on their covers, respectively.  (Nina Dobrev again- I guess The Vampire Diaries really is a  relevant and exciting show for some people).

I wasn't really as impressed with ELLE cover as other readers seem to be, but I know the articles will more than make up for that.

I also plan on purchasing the March issue of Destiny magazine. It's geared at an older age group of women- entrepreneurs, working women, those types of women- but I am just so captivated by the fact that Bonang Matheba is on the cover. South Africa's media golden girl looks absolutely radiant on the cover, and I need to read what she's saying so that I can see how to get all my Big Things done by the time I'm 25, so that I can feel like I've caught up to her somehow.

Also- and this was perhaps the biggest selling point for me- the issue is packaged with a free sample of Revlon lipstick. I believe it's a colour from the latest Ultimate Suede range, which Olivia Wilde does such a good job of selling in the latest ad campaigns. I hope I can find an issue that has a good pink lipcolour- I need one of those.

Yes: I sometimes buy a magazine purely because I like the cover, or I want the free stuff. 

Okay. I've done enough. Someone else can take a turn on the Save the Print Magazine Industry soapbox.


  1. I would love to sqeeze into all your fashion magazines as I am a total women's fashion magazine lover and love the glossy feel and aroma touching my body.


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