Why is People spinoff StyleWatch so successful? Because it only cares about products. And it doesn't pretend to care about anything else.
The magazine has been racking up the newsstand sales, and even in this climate, the advertisers, by ignoring what women's fashion magazines always used to do, a fact The New York Times's Stephanie Clifford takes note of today. It's not that this makes StyleWatch more praiseworthy or even a better read, at least for this reader. But it does make it more honest, and clearly it's working.
Here are some of the things fashion magazines generally do that this magazine doesn't:
1) Pretend that advertisers don't influence who they list in the credits of their shoots, or their front of the book, or best of all what their cover model wears.
2) Fly big-name photographers and their entourages, plus magazine staff, to exotic locales to shoot celebrities and models.
3) Promote the distance between the reader and an impossibly glamorous world out there that is just beyond the reader's reach, although you can maybe spring for a brand-name handbag now and then, which is only a partial bridge to that world.
4) Have long, wordy articles, some of which can be good good, and some of which lamely pretend to have an interest beyond products, or contain the following sentences: "The Eastern European model moment came out of the Brazilian model moment, a moment of hips."