This Month In The Lady Mags: Teleporting To 2010

The January 2010 issues of women’s magazines are on newsstands now. And, how do I put this nicely? They are thin. Very thin. As in, thinner than the models in their fashion spreads. So are any of these suckers worth your $3.50 to $3.99? After the jump, we’ve read through and picked the highlights for you.Marie Claire
The January issue of Marie Claire starts off with a bang, with an ode to the fashion-forward London designers of the moment. I’m totally drooling over the pieces by Erdem Moralioglu and Nathan Jenden, neither of whom I knew about before. I also loved the essay by Alexandra Polier called “Single Mom Seeks Love,” which espouses the theory that single dudes love single moms because they’re not in a hurry to get hitched and their biological clocks ain’t ticking. Interesting. I wish they’d devoted more than a single page to a fascinating story about a young, English, straight teacher who was seduced by one of her female students and went to prison for it. Also interesting: their piece on women who’d slept with the boss, featuring an interview with The Frisky’s own Jessica Wakeman, who wrote about the subject for us in September. And the photo spreads of Natalie Portman and Miranda Kerr are both stunning.
Grade: A-

I have to give Elle props. With Britney Spears as their cover girl, they could have done your standard-issue celebrity portraiture. Instead, they got photograph Carter Smith to photograph Brit in a puffy blue coat inside a birdcage, on a lawn strewn with blow-up animals. Even more interesting—the photos of her interacting with her two sons. They made me stop thinking of her as post-mental breakdown, and made me remember that, above all, she a super-young mother. I also love that creative director Joe Zee took the time to sit down with readers who’d emailed him with style conundrums and set them up with much better duds. That said, did the mag really have to pressure us into New Year’s resolutions with a whole “Make Better” guide? Most of it put me to sleep, except for the two spreads where writers had to give up their boring hair and makeup routines and try something outrageous and new every day for 21 days. The mag’s profile of Lady Gaga was thoroughly engrossing. And sigh over their pages dedicated to Hunter Parrish (i.e., the hottie from “Weeds”), Hugh Grant, and Matthew Morrison (aka Mr. Schuester from “Glee”).
Grade: A

Harper’s Bazaar
The fashion, accessories, and beauty in this month’s Harper’s Bazaar are predictably gorgeous. But the articles are middle of the road. First off, can I just say this is the third magazine in a row that’s had a feature on London fashion? Granted, it is the 25th anniversary of London Fashion Week, and the onus is equally on Marie Claire and Elle here, but still. Also, yawn to the story “Reinvent Yourself,” about how Madonna has changed up her image over the years. I was much more interested in “The Fight Against Faux Fragrances” about the counterfeit perfume industry. And I love their cover story with Kate Hudson—the photos showed her decked out in uber-fancy dresses doing her laundry and going to the locksmith. And homegirl makes some good points in the piece about how tabloid culture treats single women.
Grade: B

Glamour gets points for the prank “I Wore My Snuggie In Public.” Ha! But, uh, points lost for Jake’s column about “bird-dogging,” also known as hitting on a woman you are well aware has a serious boyfriend. I am, however, kind of digging “The Katie Q+A,” Katie Couric’s new column. This month, she interviews Shakira and gets some doozy anecdotes out of her. While the cover story with Sarah Jessica Parker isn’t the best—the photos and the writing in the profile smack of “Sex and the City” wannabe-ism. On the other hand, Kim Kardashian’s makeunder is lovely.
Grade: B

I try to give Cosmo a chance. I really do. But then I see the powder pink cover with Amanda Bynes on the cover (really, does anyone care about her?) next to the coverline, “Your Hoo-Ha Handbook.” Do I really have to read this? Really? Fine. Highlights: the bizarro naked man paperdoll on page 77 and the amazing spread of “Gag-Worthy Wedding Gowns” on page 134. Lowlights of the issue: Julia Allison whining about being the “girlfriend before the girlfriend he marries” and the riveting feature, “When You Want To Bitch-Slap His Mom.”
Grade: D

I always like picking up an issue of W—it’s oversized, so it feels really substantial. (Note: the only time this is not a good thing is on the subway.) In this issue, I love the piece on Catherine Millet, the French writer who put the “sex” in “sexual revolution,” and yet was truly crushed when she found out her husband was having an affair of his own. The fashion spread “Run of the Show” is also amazing. The concept is models lined up backstage at a fashion show, and by the time you flip to, oh, page ten of it, it’s truly surreal. Beautifully done. I also loved that they picked my girl Jennifer Garner for the cover, even if she looks kinda weird. I’ve loved her since “Alias.” Niiice.
Grade: A