The Thing About Fashion Tabloids

The Thing About Fashion Tabloids

You know what I hate? You know what I hate? Fashion and Beauty tabloids. Oh, hang about. Hate is probably a poor choice of words.  And don’t get me wrong. While I do love looking at pretty pics and reading about the latest “must-have” products, what I don’t love is the way many editors rely on attention grabbing, sensationalised headlines to help them sell products drive home their (often sponsored) messages.

We all get sucked in, me included. And they know it. We turn to the page of the article, or hang on after yet another ad break because the story is “coming up next” only to find very little substance or information supporting the story. Anyhoo…there’s my rant. And here are some of my pet-hates observations of how they’re  messin’ with us doing it:

Baffle them with bullshit

…then add a few obligatory pics of celebs to confuse them drive home the point even further.

A classic example of this well-worn tool is the picture of a well-known celebrity with a headline or product beside them telling us their body shape and offering advice on what cut of jean that particular body shape should wear. Well, I dunno about you ladies, but I look at each pic and I honestly cannot see one iota of difference between each of the celeb’s shapes at all!  I would even go so far as to say that (even in my line of work – where I advise on this very topic almost daily) I actually find myself feeling even more confused, and more than a tad clueless about this body-shape phenomenon when they try to sell it to me that way!

I mean, surely I’ve missed something here? How come Celeb A  (e.g. Byonce) is labelled ‘Curvy’ and looks identical in proportions to celeb B (perhaps, J.Lo) who is labelled ‘athletic’?  And Celeb C (perhaps that Kardashian beauty), is labelled ‘petite’ but really looks just as curvy as both A & B – just a little shorter? How then can they seriously expect US to work out our own body shape using these pics and the ever-changing advice from issue to issue, using whichever celeb is in vogue and as fashions change (which is almost daily)?

Pick on a Celeb. Crucify their taste today, then LOVE said Celeb’s style tomorrow.

Yep, pick a Celeb – any poor celeb will do (well not poor in the $$ sense, of course!). Tell the reader this week how fabulous her style is and what we should do to look JUST like her. Then, in future issues (perhaps even just weeks later), tell us how she is a fashion-fail and show that very same look (touted as “winning” a few weeks back) as a complete fashion faux pas this week. Bipolar anyone? With a touch of Bitch on the side perhaps? Woah!

For example: Here’s a style-critique I recently conducted on the very lovely Gwyneth Paltrow. You may or may not agree with my comments, but that’s not really the point. The point is…even if I do resort to using celeb pics to critique an outfit (see below pictorial) – because I don’t have the luxury of a photographer on hand to take pics of real-life people to illustrate a point – I will generally stand firm on my convictions and will try to explain why it works (or doesn’t). Importantly, the next week I won’t be showing the same (if not similar) photos and hailing “Yeah baby! THIS is the latest must-have look!”. I may tell you how to embrace that look a little more stylishly, or which of those looks just won’t work on a particular body shape, but I won’t be encouraging you to follow fashion to the letter, claiming that we all should try the latest looks; e.g onesies (in public), wedge-heeled runners with faux fur or printed leggings with thigh-high boots – that I can promise!

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Change your mind as often as you change your knickers

Seriously, are we just stupid or do these beauty editors really, truly believe their own advice?

One week we’re told that orange-based lipsticks make our teeth look yellow and to avoid it at all costs. Then the next issue tells us that all shades of tangerine are THE latest must-have shade for us ALL. Yes, that’s right. And it now – apparently – suits us ALL!  Wow…freaky! How can this be?

One week we’re told that pleated pants add bulk to our bellies – the next week (when they’re the next “in thang”) we’re told how flattering and forgiving said pleats are? Puleeease!

One week they tell us long-line, 80’s power-style blazers will make us look huge, make our legs look short, finish in all the wrong places (i.e on many of our widest points), are too masculine, etc etc. Next week, because Gwyneth or some other celeb was spotted in one, they’re the latest must-have style. Hmm….

Promote a style segment on a TV show

Suck us all in with an attention grabbing headline about a segment (that’s “coming up next” but really comes on in the next half an hour of the show) about how you’re going to solve our fashion dilemmas. Then deliver a measly 30 seconds worth of advertising via a fashion parade, with very little substance and almost no real take-home advice.

For added punch to the segment, let’s get an “expert” on the same show

Ask the expert for their top 5 tips, but then don’t give them even 30 seconds to explain anything about those top 5 in any real detail. We can all read the bullet-points, so really, can someone tell me what was the point of that whole story again? It saddens me, because generally the “expert” really does have a lot of wisdom to share, but they’re not given enough air-time to do so! The only ones who do get said time are the paid advertorials which actually DO “come up next”, and usually immediately before the segment!

What do you think? What bugs you about tabloid-style fashion and beauty journalism? Or is it just me?

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