Saturday, 8 April 2017

The Woes of Reading Vogue

I recently purchased a copy of the age-old fashion Bible after months of abstinence. It isn't something I indulge in often as I don't feel the need to bash my self-esteem on the regular, and also, 150 bucks for a glorified picture book is a bit much, in my opinion. As much as I hate on the magazine and the trends they promote, I can't argue that their tactics actually work. I'm tempted every time I see a copy on the shelves of my local supermarket. Every single time I leaf through their ultra-glossy pages, I have the same thoughts running through my mind and I vow to never go down that path again. But, as always, I fall of the wagon eventually.

My relationship with Vogue began at the innocent age of 13. At the time, I didn't know what insecurities were and I rarely ever thought about my appearance. Vogue changed everything for me. At first, I wished I owned everything featured in the magazine.
The listed price tags brought on a sudden drop in endorphins, and “price on request” generally tended to make my innocent, frail heart palpitate for about the length of time it takes to turn the page.  I fell for the allure of the glitz and the glam, all things money could buy, and covetable career options that I could only dream of achieving. The 100 bucks I paid for a pile of dead trees stamped with expensive printing only gave me about an hour's worth of reading, but it inspired the artist in me to create designs of my own. Of course, at age 13, I didn’t factor in the obvious truth that trends change by the second. In fashion terms, my designs were stale by the time I turned 14.

By the time I turned 14, I had already come to hate everything about myself. My hair was large enough to be a planet because stupidity told me that if I brushed it enough, it would be as straight as a needle. My boobs and my stomach were competing to see who would get bigger faster and by how much. (My stomach won.) My face resembled a strawberry field after the rain - spotty and shiny, always! And I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to keep my legs hair free for more than two weeks.

Of course, all of this meant that I couldn't relate to the people in the magazine I coveted so much. They were all hairless, pore-less, with perfect clothes, hair, and skin. Everything I ached to be. And I continued to be ignorant until I discovered photoshop for myself.

To be honest, there wasn't a lot of "reading" to be done in Vogue. Words were used to mention brands and the prices of couture pieces, for the most part. That didn't stop me from believing that I was actually educating myself in the art of fashion. That knowledge didn't amount to anything, but I can still tell you the cons of buying a Michael Kors handbag.

Although the magazine and I no longer have any sort of relationship (they say it’s inevitable to hate the things you once loved the most!), I feel like every girl to have ever skimmed through its glossy pages has had pretty much the same thoughts. It all begins with “why is a glorified picture book so expensive?” and follows with “hmm…you know, it wouldn’t be so bad to be on the cover someday.” The high profile ads always make you want to buy the products, regardless of whether they suit your aesthetic or if you actually have a use for them. You pretend to be able to pronounce every single couture brand name to perfection while, in the back of your mind, you’re pretty sure you’re pronouncing a couple of them wrong. (Who’d have thought that the “v” in Bvlgari was pronounced like a “u”?)

Then there are those articles themselves. I use the term “article” loosely as there isn’t much writing in the mix, more showcases of latest goods from sponsored brands. Looking at them would make you wish you had them sitting daintily on your velvet topped shelves, but the listed prices make you wish you had a better paying job.

To encapsulate, an issue of Vogue probably contains two stories. Ideally, one would be about the infamous cover model/actress flaunting her over-publicised life, and the other would be about a luxury travel destination that would go up on their readers’ wanderlists and stay there without a strike for eons. Does this warrant their prize tag? I think not.

Wanna-be fashion icons have been overheard pretentiously stating that the editorial is the best part. I beg to differ. The way I see it, “editorial” is a fancy term for a mish-mash of luxury fashion pieces that are not practical for plebeians who don’t frequent luxury yachts in Seychelles. Or New York Fashion Week.

By the time I get to the end of an issue, I'm so full of self-loathing and disdain. Curing myself of the pain takes a while, and when I'm there, I feel invisible. So much so that I go out and do it all over again. And so begins another cycle of the same thoughts and feeling and an overflow of self-deprecating humour (my only saving grace!)

That's another vicious cycle of life. Brought on by Vogue magazine and it's many compatriots. And I'm as much of an addict as you are.

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