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This Month In The Lady Mags: Gearing Up For August

The August 2010 issues of women’s magazines are on newsstands now. So which of these suckers will make for the best plane ride and/or lazy afternoon in the park? After the jump, we’ve rounded up the highlights from each magazine so you can see which is worth your $3.99. Glamour
When I saw kittens on the cover of this month’s issue, I got pretty excited. Unfortunately there were no more inside—just cover girl Vanessa Hudgens in cat ears. Lame. The “High School Musical” sweetheart gave a pretty blah interview, but the other profiles more than made up for it. The story about solider Michelle Johnson helping deliver a 13-year-old Afghani girl’s dead child is as heart-wrenching as it sounds. And the rest of the features give first-person perspectives on important topics, like the women’s diseases doctors miss most and the effect the BP oil spill will have on our water supply. But for being the denim issue, the style section is seriously lacking, recycling the same “need to know” jeans information that I’ve heard 10,000 times. Still, Glamour has some cute tidbits this month, including a “Dare of the Month,” which really got me giggling.
Grade: B -

Elle
Drew Barrymore has always struck me as sweet, smiley, and always giddy—well, at least after rehab, at age 14. So I was pleased to see her gracing the cover of Elle. But the Drew inside was not who I was expecting: This was the over-worked business women Drew. Still, she kept me captivated and I appreciated that the magazine captured a darker and more realistic side of her than the usual sunshine and rainbows. This issue also includes the Javier Bardem interview where he reveals his Brad Pitt man crush, and the rest of his quotes are equally adorable. The fashion this month focused on editor’s picks. I always like to see that the people who make these magazines are real and have style outside of their publication. Sadly, it is style I cannot afford. One piece that really caught me off guard: on page 184, there’s an anonymous article about a group of married men and their obsession of the “sex not had” with other women. Avoid if you would still like to think somewhat highly of men.
Grade: B+

Marie Claire
Hold the phone. Is that Dakota Fanning on the cover of a women’s magazine, even though she’s only 16? I have mixed feelings about that. On the one hand, she does look great and she’s a star whom I haven’t already read 200 interviews with. But on the other hand, something seems just a tad pervy about the photo spread where she rocks decidedly schoolgirl clothes. Moving on, the fashion in this issue is excellent—basically everything I want to wear this fall, from safari duds to vaguely goth accessories. And as avid collector of just about anything, I loved that much of it is done in collage form. This issue also has an article about reaching “the big bang” selfishly, sans any please-your-man-Cosmo crap. On the more serious side, the piece about Noor Almaleki, a 20-year-old Islamic girl who was run over by her own father for being too American, paints a chilling portrait of how honor killings are happening in the U.S. So sad.
Grade: A-

Essence
Take note, Glamour. This is how a denim feature is supposed to be done. I was ecstatic to open up Essence and find everyday women of all shapes and sizes trying on jeans. And the best part? There wasn’t a single pair of pants that cost more than $200, with most of them ringing in at $50 or less. Keeping the tone of being financially sound, this issue offered some brief but helpful pieces on budget, tuition, and how the media is trying to glamorize being poor during the recession. This month also answered the question, “What has Janet Jackson been up to?” She’s taking time for herself, apparently, and confesses that once you hit “40ish” that “you just do your thing because it’s finally about you.” And Ms. Jackson’s thing for now is making movies and dating younger men, though the rest of the interview remains pretty tame with no real mention of Michael or her recent breakup. Make sure to check out page 122 for a homeless-to-Harvard story that will obviously touch your heart. Aww.
Grade: B+

Vogue
This was one of those months that I really had trouble getting through Vogue. The Age Issue didn’t really interest me, even though it was good to see a 43-year-old model get a spread rather than just teenage models. I think one of the problems is that I am just really tired of Gwyneth Paltrow and all her Goop cleanse nonsense. I felt all this interview did was indulge her and get her message out about her extreme diet that involve kale shakes. Yum? The saving grace of this issue was definitely the article “No Country For Old Women,” a piece written by a woman dating a man over 20 years her junior. I went in prepared to hear the word “cougar” thrown around like crazy, but ended up reading the whole thing with a smile on my face and a genuine appreciation for this witty and honest woman. The rest of the content satisfies, but not in a way that is memorable.
Grade: C

Cosmopolitan
Can. Not. Read. Distracted by Britney Spears’ low rider jeans and groin tattoos. Is this cover from the late ’90s?
Grade: D

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