Where Have All The Fashion Magazines Gone?

I am an Xennial… born late in Generation X, just a bit too early to cross into Millennial territory. I’ve spent most of my life relishing and adapting to new leaps in technology, while feeling nostalgic for all things analog. I know how to use a rotary telephone but am glued to my iPhone 14. I understand the Dewey Decimal System but feel comfortable navigating the internet. I often get confused by the push start in my car. I still write in a paper planner and enjoy snail mail, but love the instant gratification of a text. I read printed books, but love having anything I want to watch a mere click away. While modern technology is grand, there are some things I just miss about the old world. Perhaps it’s just a sign of getting old, but I’m not always in love with life in the 21st Century.

The thing I miss the most from the 20th Century? Fashion Magazines! Yes, I know that there are a few still in print, but they are incredibly thin and cost at least $10. Yes, I know many still have an online presence. Yes, I know that’s what Pinterest, and Instagram, and TikTok are for. But, hear me out… printed magazines were superior, and here’s why.

In the 90’s there were few indulgences I enjoyed more than spending a bit of my babysitting money on a crisp, new magazine and a candy bar. Teen, YM, Sassy, Seventeen, Marie Claire, InStyle… I loved them all. I would sit on my bed and leaf through the pages, while listening to my favorite music. The Back to School Fashion issue was always my favorite. It was extra thick, and filled with pages of outfit ideas. I loved the personality quizzes and the endless amounts of fashion inspiration. I would carefully cut out images, creating collages and dream boards.

Even as an adult, magazines played a key role in entertainment. In college, I made a 365 loop chain out of a bridal magazine to count down to my wedding. My friend, Melissa, and I would ready trashy gossip rags during our plan period at school. And my husband Jeff, and I, used Entertainment Weekly for years as our source for everything we needed to watch, listen to, and read.

Somehow, if I close my eyes, I can still smell the joy of opening a magazine. The scent of paper, ink, and samples of Calvin Klein’s newest cologne mixed together and wafted through my senses as I flipped through the pages. Magazines were tactile. It was special to hold the glossy, thin pages in your hands. Magazines were the perfect thing to read poolside, at the beach, at the salon, and in the bathroom. They didn’t need to be silenced or turned into airplane mode and didn’t have batteries that needed to be charged. Magazines could be savored, not quickly scrolled through, swiped past, or clicked on. Magazines could be revisited, even years later, with dog-eared pages calling you back to articles and ideas you wanted to remember.

Call me old, out of touch, or irrelevant. I know the internet is great, but I really miss the printed word. Checkout lanes, libraries, and doctors offices seem a little gloomier without magazine racks. I kind of feel a little lost when I leave for a trip without a new magazine in my bag. Sigh… kids these days just don’t understand.

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