'Lucky' Magazine's Subtle, Feminine, Chic, Annoyingly One-Track Mind

One million words in the English language, and not a single damn synonym for "luxe." Such is the eternal dilemma faced by the put-upon editors of Lucky magazine, who month after month seem to find themselves with an array of minidresses, cigarette pants and flirty little clutches too bountiful to properly describe without resorting to self-plagiarism — and memorable lines like this one, spotted by our friend Emily at Gawker on page 213 of the September issue:

The ultimate gold-pink-touch-of-plum lipcolor in a silky-smooth gloss that smells faintly— not full-on shower-gel-ishly — of raspberries".
Purple prose indeed! And though we're certainly not the first to point this out — go here , here , here and here for well-documented examples of Lucky 's annoying use of language — we decided to go flip through the latest issue to find other examples insidious words or phrases on display. (Not that editor Kim France will pay any attention; she hates being told what to do !). After the jump, our highly-unscientific (meaning, these counts are not exact) tally of the major offenders.


Word: 'Subtle'/'Subtly'
Number Of Appearances: 13
Definition: -adjective, -tler, -tlest. 1. thin, tenuous, or rarefied, as a fluid or an odor. 2.fine or delicate in meaning or intent; difficult to perceive or understand: subtle irony. 3. delicate or faint and mysterious: a subtle smile. 4. requiring mental acuteness, penetration, or discernment: a subtle philosophy. 5.characterized by mental acuteness or penetration: a subtle understanding. 6. cunning, wily, or crafty: a subtle liar. 7.insidious in operation: subtle poison. 8. skillful, clever, or ingenious: a subtle painter.
Used To Describe: the "dizzying quality' of a dress design (p. 72); a velvet blazer (p. 99); the sparkle of jewelry (p. 102); draped pockets of a skirt (p. 104); the accessories worn by an interior designer (p. 108); the shimmer in the eyeshadow that Sarah Michelle Gellar uses (p. 138); the effect of an outfit worn by an accessories designer (p. 153); a lip-gloss worn by a 'stylist and designer' (p. 252); the ruching on a pair of flat boots (p. 276); a ruffle (p. 295); the 'softness" in an outfit worn by a 'brand expansion specialist' (p. 329); the graphics on stationery (p. 367).

Word: 'Feminine'
Number Of Appearances: 9
Definition: -adjective 1. pertaining to a woman or girl: feminine beauty; feminine dress. 2. having qualities traditionally ascribed to women, as sensitivity or gentleness. 3. effeminate; womanish: a man with a feminine walk. 4. belonging to the female sex; female: feminine staff members. 5. Grammar. noting or pertaining to that one of the three genders of Latin, Greek, German, etc., or one of the two genders of French, Spanish, Hebrew, etc., having among its members most nouns referring to females, as well as other nouns, as Latin stella "star," or German Zeit "time." -noun Grammar. 6. the feminine gender. 7. a noun or other element in or marking that gender.
Used To Describe: an outfit (p. 198); one of the scents put out by Gap Body (p. 218); the scent of an Estee Lauder solid perfume (p. 228); 'major rocker eyes' (p. 249); a pair of leather and suede oxfords (p. 270); the seams on a pair of knee-high boots (p. 280); a trench coat (p. 322); the clothing a 'brand expansion specialist' is buying this season (p. 328); the clothing a singer-songwriter pairs with menswear pieces (p. 331).

Word: 'Crisp'
Number Of Appearances: 9
Definition: -adjective 1 (esp. of food) hard but easily breakable; brittle: crisp toast. 2. (esp. of food) firm and fresh; not soft or wilted: a crisp leaf of lettuce. 3. brisk; sharp; clear; decided: a crisp reply. 4. lively; pithy; sparkling: crisp repartee. 5.clean-cut, neat, and well-pressed; well-groomed. 6. bracing; invigorating: crisp air. 7. crinkled, wrinkled, or rippled, as skin or water. 8. in small, stiff, or firm curls; curly.
Used To Describe: A button-down (p. 92); a '60s-style jacket (p. 94); jackets and miniskirts (p. 111); a cotton shirt (p. 130); the color green on a pair of pumps (p. 262); a jacket (p. 317); a white shirt (p. 321); a white shirt (p. 323); a blazer coveted by a singer-songwriter (p. 330).

Word: 'Luxe'
Number Of Appearances: 8
Definition: -noun 1. luxury; elegance; sumptuousness: accommodations providing luxe at low rates. Compare deluxe. -adjective 2. luxurious; deluxe: luxe accommodations.
Used To Describe: Buttons (p. 82); velvet blazers (p. 99); gold-chains (p. 108); general accessories (p. 153); a hair-dryer (p. 234); faux-snakeskin shoes (p. 264); a 'biker look' (p. 306); single-designer boutiques (p. 341).

Word: 'Chic'
Number of Appearances: 8
Definition: -adjective, -er, -est. 1. attractive and fashionable; stylish: a chic hat.
-noun 2. style and elegance, esp. in dress: Paris clothes have such chic. 3. stylishness; modishness: the chic of the firstnighters.
Used To Describe: A $67 makeup palette (p. 216); fall makeup (p. 246); a stylist and designer (p. 252); a pair of patent-leather pumps (p. 257); a pair of suede pumps (p. 262); a pair of patent-leather oxfords (p. 270); 'modern gamine' (p. 298); a leather 'dream bag' (p. 329).

Obviously, these are just some of the major offenders (we're also hating on 'punchy', 'effortless, 'exquisite' and the phrases 'of the moment', 'on trend' and 'compulsively wearable') but maybe it's time for the good girls at Lucky to pick up a thesaurus or two!

Earlier: 'Lucky' Editor Kim France's Asian Influences, Hatred Of Authority
Lucky Magazine Seems Insecure
Related: Lucky's Taste Too "Rich" For Us [GlossedOver]
Noticed: In So Many Words, Don't Use These [NYTimes, sub req'd]