For the past two and a half weeks we've been adding up the merchandise in the September issues of the major women's magazines and pitting one magazine against another in the ultimate Expensive Shit (Fight).
We use the pronoun "we" loosely, because in all honesty, Cheryl Campbell and Maria Mercedes — our interns — were the ones doing the (literal) heavy-lifting, a process that demanded hours and hours of note-taking, formatting of spreadsheets and gazing at marked-up designer merchandise made by poor people in far-off countries. Obviously, we will not be asking them to do this again. (At least not until next September!) But to honor their contributions, we asked both of them to tell us what they learned from wading chest-deep in women's magazine expensive shit. After the jump, see what they have to say, plus, we crown one magazine "Most Shameless September Ladymag" and detail the runners-up.
Most Shameless September Ladymag: Elle. Total Shit: $73,566,063
Glamour. Total Shit: $1,511,568
Vogue . Total Shit: $1,183,357
Harper's Bazaar. Total Shit: $1,043,716.53
W*. Total Shit: $731,843
Marie Claire. Total Shit: $515,291.67
Lucky. Total Shit: $274,502
Allure. Total Shit: $232,172.47
Teen Vogue. Total Shit: $74,458
Cosmopolitan. Total Shit: $27,636.64
*Note: Apparently, 75-80% of the items in the issue did not have accompanying prices. Intern Maria says tack on another $1 million to the above price and you're good to go.
Constantly reading the prices helped cock-block the lust I had for cropped jackets, oxford heels, high waisted pants, or whatever else these magazines are peddling for fall. I also may have learned something (cue violins): Magazines are full of shit. And some magazines you'd think would be shittier (Cosmo) were in fact less shitty than the ones you'd think would be shit-lite (Elle). Lastly, now that my eyes are trained to inadvertently beeline to a dollar sign anytime I flip a page, magazines kind of make me want to vomit a little bit in my soup.
One of the biggest surprises for me was that Vogue's number was a lot lower than I thought it was going to be (at the very least, I expected it to beat Glamour!). Another lesson I learned is that W magazine doesn't give prices for anything (just one page had prices for apparel, with a handful of other pages dedicated to accessories). Looking back, it doesn't really surprise me: W has more of a focus on "artistic" fashion spreads and probably doesn't want to be viewed as simply a fancy catalog. Also, you can't forget W's market: Monied individuals or people in the fashion industry, both of whom don't need to bother knowing the price of a YSL clutch. That said, adding up all the shit went from a being fun idea to a living hell: There were the fingers that were sprained transporting the magazines home, and, of course, the hours (and I mean hours) spent adding up useless crap over and over and over again. At one point, I decided that if I had to look at another Chanel Mary-Jane stiletto I was going to hurt someone.
Earlier: Shameless September Ladymags: Harper's Bazaar Vs. W
Shameless September Ladymags: Cosmopolitan Vs. Teen Vogue
Shameless September Ladymags: Elle Vs. Vogue
Shameless September Ladymags: Lucky Vs. Glamour