Pages of fashion

Fashion magazines had gotten a bad rap for presenting impossible ideals of feminine form. I used to not be able to flip through one without feeling like a beast in comparison.

But in recent years, publishers have heard this criticism loud and clear and have become more inclusive, highlighting all forms, colours, ages and genders in their pages.

It’s time to start reading fashion magazines again.

I spent a few hours poring over glossies at the Okanagan Regional Library to compare editorial themes and content of various magazines.

Side note: You can browse the current month’s periodicals in any library branch and borrow past months just like books. Also, you can read online and download magazines with your library card. All for free, leaving more money to spend on style.


Vogue is arguably the grand dame of all fashion magazines with a history dating back to 1892; its famous editor, Anna Wintour, has been at the helm since 1988.

For those who don’t know who Wintour is, she carries the biggest cred in the fashion industry, as co-chair of the annual Met Gala and apparently the inspiration behind the evil boss in The Devil Wears Prada.

The first thing you’ll notice about Vogue is the ads. Pages upon pages of beautiful glossy premium designer images from Chanel, Dior and Saint Laurent.

This magazine’s focus is not on fashion trends, but the designers and the industry.

Their photo shoots depict elaborate sets and sweeping drama, and clothing only the one per cent can afford. Most of it leaves me baffled, like a baggy moth-eaten sweater costing $2,200 US. 

In terms of editorial content, Vogue actually does a good job of featuring non-fashion-related women’s issues.
Best for the aspiring designer.


This glossy is all about celebrity. It features photos spreads and articles about super models, actors, and singers all showcasing the latest trends and red carpet looks.

It’s pretty light on words with a heavy focus on beauty products and fashion accessories. Their monthly “high/low” column gives suggestions for affordable versions of costly designer goods.

InStyle is the magazine most likely to introduce you to an up-and-coming new designer you’ve never heard of that will make you swoon.

Best for the celebrity-loving visual person.


Visually, Glamour looks similar to InStyle, but features much more accessible (aka cheaper) brands. There’s a lot less clothing and a lot more cosmetics and beauty products.

Editorially, Glamour is more well-rounded with women’s interest articles on health, relationships and sex. It’s all about self-help and self-care.

Best for those seeking both inner and outer inspiration.

Elle Canada:

As a Canada-based fashion magazine, the benefit of browsing this magazine is the location-relevant content. Ads feature Canadian companies, prices are in Canadian dollars, and famous Canucks are profiled.

Like Vogue, it has a focus on the fashion industry. So some of the looks and prices highlighted may leave you wondering, “hmmm, really?”

However, it was the only fashion magazine I noticed with a healthy dose of travel content, with articles on buzz worthy hotels and restaurants in Canada’s urban centres and abroad.

Best for the Canadian fashionista:

There are numerous other magazines geared toward specific demographics and interests that include fashion content.

Women “of a certain age” may enjoy More and O by Oprah, while Teen Vogue and Cosmopolitan skew to the younger set.

Other Canada-based style magazines include Fashion and Flare:

Lifestyle-focused magazines such as Country Living, Essence, and Good Housekeeping always have some fashion articles, as do travel periodicals such as Conde Naste Traveller and Travel + Leisure.

Whatever your passion, there is a magazine to fuel it. And don’t forget you can enjoy all this content for free at the Okanagan Regional Library.


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About the Author

Marla is best known for her 19-year career in the local charitable sector as a fund development and marketing manager with the Okanagan Regional Library, United Way, UBC Okanagan, and Kelowna Community Resources. 

In 2014, Marla and her husband decided to take a break from the work world, and, four years, later they are still enjoying Okanagan summers, winters in Mexico, and extensive travel. 

Marla has had a life-long passion for fashion, designing her own graduation dress and formal gown for the 1990 Miss Interior competition before age 20.

In 2014, she was named one of nine Style Ambassadors for a year-long marketing campaign at Orchard Park Mall. Her motto is “Life is short...you might as well go through it looking good."

If you have a style question or topic you’d like Marla to cover in this column, contact her at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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