A Digital Guide to Fashion’s September Issues

I used to buy fashion magazines religiously. I would read them on the elliptical at the gym in college. I haven’t bought one in years. (I also haven’t been on an elliptical in years.)

It’s possible that my thoroughly-dissipated inclination to pay for a hard copy of Vogue or Elle or Harper’s Bazaar at CVS these days supports the prediction that print will ultimately end up listed in the grand obituary section of life, but then I was assigned to write a “best of” roundup about the contents of this year’s September issues. As they began to arrive to our office and accumulated on my desk in a thick, juicy stack, I plunged right back into the depths of what it feels like to hold and see and smell and absorb a physical fashion magazine. Just like that, I was back in the saddle.

I forgot how much fun it is to actually run my hands across the pages of a glossy editorial or dog-ear an article I wanted to revisit. It felt almost…romantic. Like an indulgent bubble bath.

Amy Campbell, Man Repeller’s summer editorial intern, helped me compile the most enjoyable reads from each issue. I asked her if she enjoyed the rarity of consuming so much print media in one sitting and she said something that really resonated: “When I’m reading on the internet, there’s a certain angst in knowing I can’t possibly get around to consuming everything. That’s why reading a magazine feels so satisfying in comparison, because how often do we get to digest something in its full, deliberate totality?”

Click through the slideshow above for our quick and dirty guide to 16 of this year’s September issues, and shout in the comments below which ones you’re reading from start to finish in their full, deliberate totality.

*Story titles mentioned in the slideshow are written as they appear in-book. Titles may change for the online versions.

Research assistance from Amy Campbell.

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  • rolaroid

    All these covers are overwhelmingly white (save for Selena, even the Weeknd is flanked by white models) and bland AF.

    • Bee

      I agree! When I first saw these, I was confused because they look like covers that would’ve come out in the mid-2000s. Not very fresh or interesting 🙁

    • Fat Tony

      It’s such a disappointment especially when there are so many talented POC on the radar right now. Also because a lot of the articles in these magazines sound really interesting and compelling (good job on picking those out, Harling!) so you would hope that would be reflected throughout the whole issue, bummer.

      • Harling Ross

        I felt the same. As much as I appreciated how the delight of holding and consuming them remained unchanged, I was disappointed that the cover selection has clearly remained stagnant as well. Not knocking the actresses and models who did get covers — just saying I would have REALLY loved to see some new faces. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the selection of articles we highlighted, though.

        • Fat Tony

          Agreed, I’m such a sucker for a beautiful, glossy magazine but I wish they were more aligned/aware of the socio-economic-political climate we are in and the strides we are hoping to make.

      • JennyWren

        Yes, Harling did a great job here. I just stopped off on my way home from work to pick up Vogue (and a nice bottle of rose to enjoy it with) for the first time in over a year, because that editorial sounds great. I feel like the September issues are the best value, so maybe luxurious quarterlies are the way magazine s should be going.

    • My initial reaction as well. So disappointing.

  • Renee

    Looks like I’ll only be picking up InStyle then.

  • Aydan

    NYLON! I love me some kiki

  • Ciccollina

    Gaga and Kirsten for the win.

  • Kelsey Alyssa

    Thanks for the breakdown! I now have 10 tabs open 😀

  • Darlings magazines are gone but not forgotten! I would await my magazines to come through the mail , reading the glossy pages and smelling like a whore from the perfume samples ! You can’t smell on line , oh the good old days !
    Dress The Part

  • Kelsey Alyssa

    I think it would be interesting for magazine covers to start pushing boundaries and being challenging (more so than the ‘oh look an almost naked famous person!). It might be worse for sales, but the age we are in almost demands it. Young people aren’t looking for plain covers, we are looking for things that address issues and destroy pre-conceived notions. Isn’t that what fashion is all about?

  • Fisch

    All I could think of was the overwhelming whiteness of the covers.

  • fortinbras

    Tbh do they really need to have Jennifer Lawrence on the cover again? I wish they put more spotlight on newer faces, preferably those who’ve made a change recently.

  • Cristina

    It hurts how photoshopped Blake is.
    Also, Harling, do you use Texture for digital magazines or just peruse the web instead? There’s a few magazines I still enjoy in person, but also hate the way they accumulate and at some point, I have to throw out a thousand. I tried Texture and liked the selection but some magazines don’t translate well to digital and it just wasn’t as enjoyable!

  • Chantal Regis

    All well said to the comments below. The truth of the matter is brown people have always been some of the greatest influencer of fashion with a beautiful narrative narrative…. We do not need to be included or validated for our fashion contributions. Attempting to erase and dilute our presence in the world of fashion is about a larger conversation about the state we continue to be in these Americas. Fashion is an expression of our life and how we continue to triumph.

  • Bria

    That Vogue cover is so painfully boring, Jesus Christ.

  • Ellie

    I treat myself to one fashion magazine a month, save it for a day when I’m feeling stressed, put my phone away, ignore the rest of the world and read it cover to cover. Definitely think the satisfaction comes from “finishing” something but the lack of email notifications popping up at the top of articles helps too!

  • Sabrina

    I love the fashion issues Wallpaper* has been putting out. So beautiful and clever!

  • Izzy Leung

    If you’re looking for some solid writing/fashion photography ya’ll should check out Aperture mag’s fall issue Elements of Style!!!

  • Steffie Neve

    Interesting read!