September being 30 Days of Fashion and Beauty for ACP, the mag is filled with related features. Visually, I liked "My style icon is...", featuring readers with the people who influence their style (an older friend, sister, boyfriend and boss). But while the shoot is fun, all the people involved have been professionally styled using borrowed clothes, which I think undermines the authenticity of a piece that's supposedly celebrating "real" style icons.
I really enjoyed the feature "Meet the fatshionistas" by Nicole Elphick, which provides a spotlight on a corner of the blogosphere - and the fashion community - that isn't usually seen in the pages of a mag like Cleo.
"New-season style commandments" is a fun spin on a trend report, though I can't say I'm quite ready to embrace the tracky dack trend and "take them out for a spin with [my] fave heels" (as much as I love my trackies). Girlie pieces, neon, smoky eyes, statement earrings, floral prints and white nails I will be more inclined to try. The jury is still out on peplums. Speaking of - the following spread with a reader trialling the trends is an effective way to make them more accessible. I just wish I had the hair (and the braveness!) to try dip dye, and I know I'll never be bold enough to wear clashing prints and leather pants. Still - pastels, nail art and hot pink lips, I can definitely do.
"What's with all the hate?" is a feature by Genevieve Rota that discusses all the "Hatorade" that seems to be going around. So it's not just in the book blogging community, then? Rota focuses on the sledges leveled at celebs like Lana Del Ray, Lara Bingle and Delta Goodrem, interviewing a psychologist and therapist who put the problem down to a combination of jealousy and tall poppy syndrome. I can't say I'm convinced - I'm guilty of hating Delta Goodrem and Lara Bingle more than you should feel anything about someone you've never met, and I can't say I'm particularly jealous of either. They just really freaking annoy me. Anyway, it's an interesting idea, and I liked the breakout on online trolls, which is really a whole issue in itself.
To tie in with R U OK? Day on September 13, Lisa O'brien has written "Is he okay?", a feature about how depression affects men and what the women in their life can do to help. It's an important issue and refreshing to see guys allowed more depth than the usual "What he really thinks when you tickle his nipples" lines.
Then we have "Three in the bed", which profiles a couple who have started having threesomes to spice up their marriage. Ho hum, it's nothing I haven't read in Cleo/Cosmo 164 times before. I have to say I really can't stand these kinds of articles that imply you have to have threesomes or try bondage or whatever to have an interesting sex life. If that's your thing, go for it, but the way they feature them implicitly sends the message that you're not good enough in the sack if you don't perform bedroom acrobatics with multiple partners. It's telling that Mel, the girl featured in the article, says "Our sex life was in a bit of a hole. Andy and I dressed up for each other, went away for weekends and tried to liven things up by having sex in places where there was a risk of getting caught, but it felt like we were trying too hard." (Emphasis mine). That's exactly what gets me about these kinds of articles - people read them and feel like they have to do these things not because it actually turns them on, but because their sex life must live up to some Sex and the City-inspired myth. OK, end rant.
Other features include:
- "Words with friends", about how to deal with tricky conversations. It's a good story, but I'm not a fan of the app-inspired design.
- "What does success look like?" Helping others, mastering the balancing act, and doing what you really love, apparently
- "Single with children"
- "20 tiny tips to improve your life right now" It's common sense stuff but the tips are still useful - like making your bed, stretching, wearing something bright and - my fave - playing on the swings.
- "Is someone sabotaging your diet?" I don't like the "d" word but it's a good feature about how others influence your eating.
- "12 things you can do for a healthier you" A bit of overkill considering it's very similar to "20 tiny tips"
- "A hungry girl's guide to portion control"
- "The other woman", about mums who interfere in their kid's relationships.
- "Great sex tips (in 50 words or less)" Same old, same old. Yawn.
- "Fight club" Shirtless boxers who obviously haven't been hit across the head too many times, coz their faces are still pretty.
- "7 reasons why you're still broke"