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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The More Things Stay the Same

Day 45
The More Things Stay the Same

I rely on fashion magazines to keep me up to date on trends and fashion advice. The day that a big, fat, glossy issue arrives, I do a happy dance at my mailbox. Looks like I’m picking up a roasted chicken for dinner because I’ve got a magazine to read! Sitting quietly, taking in each and every page puts me in a meditative state. How would I look in this? Where do I get that? How many weeks worth of groceries does that cost? I get nearly the same thrill from organizing, gossip and homemaking publications; I love magazines.

Once the initial thrill of a new magazine wears off, I keep the best issues for reference. How can you just toss an issue with “the 10 best fashion tips ever” or “how to dress ten pounds thinner”? Inevitably, the magazines stack up and collect dust. Somehow, it is more of a chore to go through the magazines later. The thrill is gone. In our re-organizing and downsizing efforts at home, I found stacks of those invaluable publications. I had to decide, keep or recycle …

Big idea! (Again, not completely original but still a great idea.) I sat myself down with Mount Magazine, a collection spanning about 5 years, and an Exacto knife and starting slicing out the valuable pages. I organized into groups: fashion tips, inspirations, decorating ideas, craft ideas, etc. Then I took the pages, used my three-hole punch, and organized into a binder! Need an inspiration for a look? Check the binder. Recall an interesting craft? Check the binder. Mount Magazine was reduced to a tidy, glossy binder over the course of a few days. The recycle bin was overflowing.

Left with just pages, it was difficult to know what magazine or month any page came from. Then it hit me. I couldn’t tell when or where it came from. The Super-New Must-Have Trend could have been today, last month or two years ago. The tips for Dressing Thin really don’t change. The hair styles, the make-up, the skirt length, everything is reduced to this: if it works for you, wear it. The skirt length that works for you is always in. The billow-y, mid-calf dirndl works for almost no one. It’s spring? Wear pastels! Fall? Rich jewel tones. The point is: most of us have a pretty good idea what works for us. There really is no urgency to copy the latest magazine look, because it is very likely not new. And, if it works for you, you probably have something like it in your closet anyway. I am keeping the binder; there are some great things in it. I am, however, re-thinking my magazine subscriptions.

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