Monday, February 22, 2010

Sunday night review (on Monday)...InStyle March '10

If you love InStyle for its breath-taking and carefully orchestrated fashion spreads, expert advice and can-do attitude then you won’t be disappointed in the latest edition. If you are like me, however, and love to gush over each page so you can bookmark your next fashion spend then brace yourselves for a shock. March InStyle is pre-occupied with high-end fashion and increasingly expensive brands – more so than usual and it’s leaving the suburban stylette-on-a-budget at home in its wake. Long after it passed to the dark side, I continued to worship my fashion magazine of choice. I could always find affordable treats and treasures throughout the glossy pages that now seemed fit for the super rich. The beauty of InStyle was its ability to make even the more expense fashion trends seem accessible, if only in theory. March is a different story. It’s hard on high and light on low and even the most imaginative of us are left overwhelmed.

While it still follows the same fabulous formula of regular features and how-to creations, the fashion element of this edition lacks the dream-like elegance of the previous months. It seems harder in some ways, unattainable and less...perfect with a high concentration on getting the "right look" rather than the look right (see New Essentials (p74-79) for clarification. No-one looks that good in pleated front pants with tapered legs and how many people do you know that own or want a woollen corset?). Don't get me all wrong though there are still some fabulous finds throughout the gloss including an Instant Style white combo on p64 for the Alice in the Eve blazer ($139.95 at General Pants Co) and Portmans cotton-denim duds for $79.95. The witchery trench on p68 is a good spend at $199.95 if you need a smart, go-anywhere outer layer for under $200.00. You Can Do (pg 70-71) is a good resource for wearing draped skirts, but again most pieces are too pricey to indulge. We would all love a Jayson Brunsdon silk jacket, but are more likely to pop into Witchery and save $550. Just on the drape, if you have hips and a booty then find a skirt with a drape down the front otherwise the excess fabric will make you look bigger than you really are. I also love the peep toe glass necklace on p79 ($149). Check it out at Shop it (p81 – 88) is the new home of Hermés cuffs that cost more than my monthly mortgage. But,Diva are still in favour with affordable bling for any look and have a pair of Karen Millen knee-length silk pant look-alikes (p82, $345.00) on sale for $59.95. Do check out p92, it’s a budget shopper’s dream. I just adore that little Jacqui E sequinned-silk tank for $109.95 and studded hip belt from Country Road for $59.95. Its just a shame that some of us have to buy the whole mag for just one page!

Thankfully the non-fashion aspect of the mag remains largely intact. There is still too much emphasis on celebrity-style for my liking, but some nice looks out of the AFI Awards. My picks are Kate Ritchie’s J’Aton Couture look on p120, Rachel Ward’s frock and hip belt (not the shoes!) on p121 and Asher Keddie’s Yoejin Bae gown on p127. The annual 101 Best Beauty Buys as voted by a panel of Australian experts makes an appearance on p168. Sadly, I don’t use any of the feature products but can absolutely recommend the Eco tools range of make-up brushes. They are available from K-mart (and probably most leading department/variety stores), are affordable and are encased in environmentally friendly bamboo. SMS your full name and address to 1997 5555 and you could win the lot. I also surprised myself by really enjoying Elaine Lipworth’s feature article about Courtney Cox and advise everyone to spend a few minutes and get to know this million dollar-an-episode editorial about a friend. She is brilliantly identified as a loving mum and business woman who, like the rest of us works hard to maintain a happy marriage and just happens to be loaded. To round it out, the latest edition features a 45-page wedding special. Still worth a good look – you might pick up a couple of good ideas for a cocktail dress or two, even if nuptials are not on your agenda any time soon.

At the end of the day, it is still a good fashion mag and does what it does best...creates luscious fashion experiences that if your imagination allows, can be recreated to support your paling budget. If this is what you want then don't hesitate to add it to your current collection. If you are after a style resource that points you in the right direction next time you go shopping however, then you might want to leave it on the shelf and borrow it from a friend. MF xx

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I'd love to have a conversation with you so please leave me a comment. MFS xxx

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