This essay first appeared on Ballast on September 13, 2012. It is also featured in our new e-book, Northern Conversations: The Best of Ballast. If you like what you read below, please consider purchasing our e-book. You will be left $4.99 poorer in the bank, but $99.99 richer in character.
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September means different things to different people. For parents and children, it means back to school. For farmers, it means the beginning of the harvest season. For retirees, it means peak vacation time is over and they can finally go on their RV trips without being bothered by tourists.
For me, September means a subtle yet swift mood shift from satisfied to sour. It means the rapid onset of the September blues, which I try to stave off with indulgent behaviour, materialism and self-importance.
And there is no better aid in this admirable fight than the September Issue of Vogue magazine, which extols consumerism and vanity as the highest virtues, and pedals luxury and fantasy in an affordable paper format. So if you’re like me, and you find September trying, pour yourself a glass of wine — in fact, best take the bottle with you — slip on your most fashionable piece of loungewear and delve in. Here’s how I’d suggest you proceed:
Front Cover: Take a sip of wine and remember that Vogue isn’t about easy-to-assemble, I-bought-it-at-the-mall fashion. It offers daring, inspiring, outrageous style for women who know better. Feel conflicted about Lady Gaga’s fuchsia patchwork dress. The fuchsia really is fabulous, but the exaggerated hip may not work for you or most regular-sized women. Decide that legendary editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, knows best and determine to give the exaggerated-hip look a try. Read through the subheadings, pause on “HAIR IS THE NEW MAKEUP” and wonder what sort of makeup Lady Gaga’s hairdo would be equivalent to. Regret your own boring hairstyle and resolve to do something about it.
Pages 1-76: All fashion plebs flip through the first couple hundred pages of the September Issue and comment, witheringly, on the fact that it’s all ads. Those people are idiots. What they fail to understand is that the ads matter — more than any article and possibly more than some of the editorials. Advertisements allow you — the select few who get it — an opportunity to see each designer’s collection as they intended it to be seen. They have chosen the models, photographers and stylists who best express their style message — be it cast-off-your-unglamorous-morality-and-buy-a-fur-coat or skinny-girls-look-great-in-mesh-dresses. Admire mixed prints and Irish Setters in the Ralph Lauren campaign; large hats and chunky eyeglasses in Louis Vuitton; Monica Bellucci in Dolce and Gabbana. Covet Monica’s see-through lace dress. Vow to work out more so you can wear see-through lace dresses. Toast the wanton fabulousness of the fashion world with a considerable slosh of wine. Continue Reading →