Sunday, April 29, 2012

Retro 'Zines.

Over the weekend I celebrated the wedding of my childhood friend Mariann and I stayed at my grandmother's house for a change. I was packing up my bedroom to return to Charleston today when I made an interesting discovery: two really old fashion magazines peeking out from under my old bed. Yes folks, the room is like a time capsule. The reading materials are largely the same. When I unearthed a copy of Marie Claire and a copy of Glamour, both from the mid-nineties, I was intrigued. After all, I read those two magazines now, so I was curious about the differences I might find. I chucked them into my overnight bag.

Wow, are they ever different! I don't really remember reading these particular mags in 1996 (I would have been 16 at the time; I mostly read Seventeen and YM back then so I must've snagged these from my mom) but they are nothing like their 2012 counterparts. There are the obvious things, like ad design and (horrible) fashion, but reading the outdated information is a real hoot. One person wrote in and asked if she "should search for jobs on-line in addition to the newspaper ads." I guess they hyphenated the word "on-line" back then. I had to snicker; nowadays no one bothers to search for jobs EXCEPT "on-line."

Overall, the magazines seem a lot more...pure. More copy, more useful tidbits, less fluff and fanfare. Marie Claire hasn't changed as much in the past 15 years as Glamour has. Glamour was actually more of an adult magazine back then. This copy from 1996 seems less frivolous. It describes the correct way to bandage a wound, it has several pages describing how to cook 15-minute meals (in a practical, not trendy-by-the-latest-tv-chef-way) and even has a page called "Health & Pregnancy" that describes what characteristics are normal for newborns! I'm flabbergasted. I mean, my 2012 Glamour uses phrases like "OMG, LOL," and features very little, if any, practical advice.

I'm wondering if this is because Glamour has essentially changed audiences through the last 15 years, from grown women to college students? OR, are women getting sillier and more juvenile? What say you, readers?

By the way, it's rad to see actual models, like Laeticia Casta, on the front cover, rather than the same, tired A-list celebrities. It looks like 1996 had a few things right.

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