What’s The Big Issue: The Best Fashion Magazines of October 2016

As part of a new series, Ebere Nweze reviews Britain’s most popular monthly fashion magazines to find out which are worth sacrificing a trip to Hassan’s for and which should stay firmly on the shelf. This month, she reviews the October issues* of Cosmopolitan, Vogue, Marie Claire and Glamour.

COSMOPOLITAN

There’s No Doubt that this month’s COSMOPOLITAN will impress with Gwen Stefani as its cover star.

Price : £1 (At a price like that, you can still afford the kebab from Hassan’s.)

Price per Page of Content: 0.78p

Number of Ad Pages176 out of 204

Freebies: None really. A few shampoo and perfume samples, and the odd voucher.

Fashion: Cosmopolitan caters to a younger audience than the other three magazines, so it’s no surprise that they’ve included more affordable items.  Boot Camp (p.69) is perhaps its most practical feature, with almost 50 boots styles at a range of prices. Contrary to what the title suggests, the Wild At Heart shoot (p.120) is rather safely styled, but Once Upon A Time’s (p.166) gender-neutral makeup more than makes up for it.

Features: In Is This The Best Place On Earth To Be A Woman? (p.140) Jennifer Savin paints a vivid picture of working women’s lives in rural Orkney. Refreshingly, she avoids the lazy conclusion that we should all just move up there – though it does sound idyllic – and writes with considerable nuance. Fans of Cherwell’s Trinity Term investigation into study drugs will enjoy Anna Hart’s Rise of The High-Flyers (p.156). The fact that many Silicon Valley employees also rely on performance-enhancing drugs suggests that this is not just an Oxford issue, but a problem affecting high-achievers worldwide. £10 Dinner Party (p.187), however, disappoints; four portions of butternut squash stew do not a dinner party make.

Most Memorable Quote: “I once came home to find my flatmate butchering frogs for her dinner. There were twitching legs everywhere.”  

Verdict: 3/5

VOGUE

Victoria Beckham spices up this issue’s cover.

Price: £2 (Normally £3.99)

Price per Page of Content : 1.11p

Number of Ad Pages: 180 out of 360

Freebies: Just a few one-use perfume and moisturiser samples.

Fashion: Easily the best of the lot, at least when it comes to fashion-related articles. Carolyn Asome explores seismic changes in the business of fashion in Continental Drift (p.125); the future of the post-Brexit fashion industry is discussed, as well as the decline of Paris, London, Milan and New York as all-important fashion hubs. Vintage fans will envy Hamish Bowles’ stunning archive of vintage couture in The Collector (p.267). This issue’s fashion shoots, Puff Piece (p.224) and I Should Coco (p.236) are good but don’t particularly stand out from the shoots in the other magazines.

Features: Vogue does not shy away from reporting on the most topical current affairs here, and is so much the better for it. The Women of Washington (p.203), a report on the women working together to climb the ranks in American government, is an obvious must-read, especially with the upcoming American election. Elsewhere, Sophie Dahl talks about the history of immigration in her family in The Long Way Home (p.274). It’s a story that takes us to Palestine, Burma and Egypt among other places, and makes us reflect on the problems modern refugees face in today’s world. And I couldn’t finish a summary of Vogue’s best features without mentioning Oxford alumna Radhika Seth, who won the 2016 Vogue Talent Contest with her interview on author Nancy Tucker (p.166).

Related  Eye Candy: Flower Power

Most Memorable Quote: ‘Robert Frost wrote, “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” Where do you live? Where are you from?’

Verdict: 4/5

 

MARIE CLAIRE

It’s Britney, b*tch, on this month’s cover of Marie Claire.

Price: £2.50 (Normally £3.99)

Price per Page of Content: 1.31p

Number of Ad Pages: 139 out of 330

Freebies:  A much appreciated Ciaté nail polish, in a shade one might actually wear.

Fashion: With 90 pages of fashion content inside, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this was a September issue. Edgy folk may relish the article on How To Work AW16’s Trickiest Shoe Trends (p.189), but the idea of pairing socks with heels is too much for my delicate constitution. The History Girls fashion shoot (p.220) is more to my taste – brocades, silks and embellishment reign supreme. Delectable

Features: Did you know that even in 2016 less than a third of children attending schools worldwide are girls? I certainly didn’t, which is why Light Up Her Future (p.106) is a must-read for anyone wanting to understand the plight of women in the developing world, or to support Marie Claire’s female education campaign. Otherwise, it’s no wonder that Britney chose Louise Gannon for her only UK interview (p.230); having interviewed the star at both 16 and 18 years of age, Gannon makes interesting observations about Britney’s personal growth. On the whole, however, Marie Claire’s features don’t appeal as much as those in GLAMOUR or Vogue. The issue may have also suffered from some editing oversights – the same beauty product appears twice in the same section. The Marie Claire team really, really likes Origins’ new Rituali Tea Matcha Madness Revitalising Powder Face Mask, apparently.

Most Memorable Quote: “I got chatting to a girl on Tinder – turns out we are related.”

Verdict: 3.5/5

GLAMOUR

Related  Summer Showers

This month’s GLAMOUR features a rather radiant looking Jenna Coleman.

Price: £2

Price per Page of Content: 1.16p

Number of Ad Pages: 108 out of 280

Freebies: Hardly anything that could really be called a freebie. There’s a £40 Hello Fresh voucher, but you can only use £20 per transaction and the cheapest box is £32. There are also various samples, most notably a rather peculiar foundation tester from Rimmel, who have come to the conclusion that everyone who reads GLAMOUR will match the 100 Ivory sample provided.

Fashion: Coats! Jeans! Jumpers! GLAMOUR showcases items we actually need, and some we can actually afford. (I think I even saw a £10 blouse, but my eyes may have been deceiving me.) We all enjoy a bit of fantasy though, so the excessively-beribboned, gold-embroidered, price-on-request Gucci military jacket was a welcome addition.

Features:  A varied and substantial selection of articles. Kate Leaver’s Give Yourself A (Career) Break (p.97) explores ‘prodigy guilt’ – a term describing the guilt felt when we haven’t achieved impressive feats in our youth. It’s a concept that will feel strangely familiar to many in the Oxford community. Poldark fans will love GLAMOUR’s interview with the show’s four leading gentlemen (p.78), while others will be inspired by April Underwood’s How I Got Here feature (p.76). In it, she describes how she became Vice President of messaging app Slack. (Clue: She probably didn’t suffer from ‘prodigy guilt’.)

Seeing as the rest of the articles were so interesting, I was a little surprised (and quite frankly, insulted) by Soup Is The New Juice (p.73), which proceeds to tell us that soup is, in fact, good for you. If this is news to any GLAMOUR reader, I am deeply concerned.

Most Memorable Quote: “When she was three, Alma Deutscher picked up her first violin. At six, she wrote her first piano sonata and, at seven, her first opera. Now she’s taking her first full-length opera to Vienna. She’s 11.”

Verdict: 4/5

What’s The Big Issue? Vogue just about edges it over GLAMOUR – more content at the same price, and longer articles.

*The cover dates of magazines are rarely the true dates of publication. Publishing companies often use a cover date that is a few weeks after the publication date, in order to prolong shelf life. These issues, therefore, are at their most current in September.

1The number of pages dedicated to advertisements. This does not include promotion features (which are often as entertaining as regular content) or the classified ads at the back (because, quite frankly, we’ve all stopped reading by this point).