December 2012 Magazine Report: Marie Claire

Grade: B+

I recently took back-to-back redeyes from Boston to San Francisco (and back again!) The redeye back I lurched into a ball of unconsciousness, but on the way out I had a bit of time. As usual, I stood before the Airport Store stand o’ massive magazines and tried to pick one. I’ve reviewed Instyle and Glamour, twice.

This time I picked Marie Claire. This isn’t one I’ve ever read before, so I didn’t know what to expect. Would it be horribly upscale? Trashy? Fancy?

Here’s what I learned:

Of course it’s sold out at a mere $1,875.00

  • Glory hallelujah, they say that I can find/use holographic stuff! That’s totally one of my fashion weaknesses! Score!
  • Sadly, the stuff they show is universally way out of my budget range. They have a “Luxe for Less” page, where I’m expecting, you know, $20 – $50 items. The actual items displayed run from $29 to $595 and average about $300. For whom is a $600 skirt “less”?
  • They have a section for “Big Girl in a Skinny World” that gives some plus sized fashion tips. Better yet, they DON’T include weight loss tips. Even better and better, Nicolette Mason is actually a regular Marie Claire staffer. It’s nice to see a plus size staffer at a fashion magazine.
  • The magazine includes multiple, positive portrayals of working women. I’m not sure why that stands out to me, except it points to a more mature demographic.
  • Rejoice lovers of looking good – old school glamour is in, especially the dark lips, soft curls combination that I secretly wish I could reproduce.
  • Finally in the plus column, they include an article about a non-heterosexual relationship. It’s refreshing to read a fashion magazine that isn’t all “How to please your man in 39 completely obvious ways we include in every issue”. (Why yes, I am thinking of Cosmo….)
  • So Marie Claire includes women of color, plus sized women, working women and non-straight women. Why doesn’t it get my top ranking?

    A few things really pulled it down for me (and that was before I visited their obnoxious website):
    – The incredible cost of practically everything they showed. For anyone who is trying to, you know, not go broke… there’s hardly anything shown than you could BUY.
    – A very, very busy layout with confusingly intermixed ads. It was harder than usual to tell content from ad.
    – A lack of guidance. I felt like they had a lot of themed pages like “Designer Dossier” or “Survivor Mode” that showed themed clothes to buy… but that you had to be pretty sophisticated to be able to use their pieces. Safari themed high heeled pumps could go drastically wrong in (say) my wardrobe. Instead of explaining how something worked with current themes, or how it could be built on they had collections of extremely expensive pieces that would be risky for a neophyte to try.

    So…. good (for a fashion magazines) articles, risky fashion advice.


    This isn’t unique to Marie Claire, but I’d like to shout-out to Amazon.com for a series of ads that show a professionally well-dressed African American women with the tagline “Smart is Beautiful”. There’s nothing not to love in that!

    Amazon being smart

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