Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Magazines still sending mixed messages

Summer is upon us... or so the fashion industry would like me to think. I can't open a catalog or fashion mag these days without full-bleed images of beaches and bikini-clad bodies. I've already splurged on a short-sleeve lace top, a pair of bright red capris, and a pair of patent, nude pumps--none of which I can wear until June because my weather forecast looks like this:

But I digress. Every year it's the same: Magazines taunt me with exorbitantly priced beachwear (and matching Tori Burch accessories), while editorializing on how to lose those last few pounds. There's also the inevitable "True Story of a Skin Cancer Survivor." I just stumbled upon the first of the season in May's issue of Glamour by Shaun Dreisbach. The article itself is a good read. Its author highlights some important points that even I sometimes let slip through the cracks (e.g. reapplying sunscreen every two hours).

What drives me batty is that only ONE PAGE after this after this article, I'm confronted with a full-on bikini shot of Carrie Underwood. It's like telling me to go on a diet and then sticking a chocolate-dipped shortbread cookie in front of my face. Am I supposed to continue to reapply my sunscreen diligently or should I skimp so that I look more like Carrie Underwood? Seriously. With the mixed messages we're getting, what's a young, body conscious woman going to do?

Miss Underwood in the May 2012 issue of Glamour.
Think Carrie's a fluke? Think again. The same issue of Glamour also mentions:
  • How to create a "bronzed glow" like Lauren Conrad... although, in an interview, Lauren swears she hasn't had a sunburn in years.
  • A staffer who'd love to be stranded on an island with a simple white bikini because it would look so good with her new tan.
  • How Alessandra Ambrosio (of Victoria's Secret fame) prefers neon colored swimwear because it flaunts her tan complexion.
  • How to even out your complexion when your body tans faster than your face.
And no, it's not just Glamour. In April's issue of Vogue, Plum Sykes writes about how rich, full hues are "in" for spring, which is a boon for us pale folks. Sykes writes:
"Spring weddings/cocktails/luncheons are hard to enjoy when your chiffon frock renders your wintry complexion ghostlier than Gwyneth Paltrow's when her character dropped dead in Contagion."
Ouch, Plum. Ouch. She goes on to redeem herself (slightly):
"The most influential girls-of-the-moment--from Florence Welch to Frida Gustavsson--favor a quirky, edgy look achieved by wearing slightly odd colors, keeping their skin as pale as possible and their hair completely natural-looking."
In other words, Sykes may be rocking alabaster this spring because a handful of chic oddballs are, too, but what will she (or anyone for that matter) do when she catches a glimpse of Carrie Underwood or Alessandra Ambrosio?


  1. It is a crazy world of tan worshipers out there. I have been battling being the pale one since middle school. There is not a summer season that goes by that someone doesn't mention that I am pale. There is also not a summer that goes by that I don't mention how dangerous UV rays are.

    Last summer I actually started making my own sunscreen (just for me and my husband) because I am not a big fan of the ingredients in the majority of the sunscreens out their. It's about that time I start making more for shorts/paling season.

    I am really enjoying your blog you have some very insightful and interesting things to say. I saw that you are from Portland, Oregon, I am close by in Salem! Small world : )

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