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It's a Little Like Window Shopping: Tempting, Expensive but Addictive and Satisfying
Member Name: Goonerette89
Date: 10/11/11, updated on 13/11/11 (40 review reads)
Advantages: Glossy, attractive, inspirational, great competition with the proceeds going to charity.
Disadvantages: Expensive products featured, exaggerated celebrity stories, pretentious tone.
I love clothes and girly things so a great women's magazine is always welcome to me (sweeping generalising so sorry because I realise not all women are make-up/clothes/shoes obsessed and we sometimes like topics which are in no way featured in these magazines - I know this by personal experience). Most women's magazines are, generally about true life experiences, celebrity and fashion. I don't follow any fashion because I already know what style I like and it's already been done but I do enjoy reading about fashion; true life experiences are everywhere but they tended to portray all men as useless or inferior when I read them in other weeklies (very unfair) and celebrities these days don't interest me. I always preferred a specialist subject magazine (music, travel, history etc.) which fits into my personal interests: but as I'm sure you'll agree, they can be a little expensive!
However, I have been a little addicted to this weekly magazine a long time now in a weird way. I used to buy it at least every week at about £1.90 along with monthly magazines like Glamour or Vogue, both of which I used to love as well. I liked this because even though I began reading it in my late teens, I liked how it had a mature stance and featured famous people who generally speaking, actually do something and not just pictures of the latest Big Brother star in her bikini bouncing around with her boyfriend in the sea. I don't want to sound very old and supposedly boring but I think sometimes that young women are treated rather patronisingly and most are more intellectually thinking than many aspects of the written media that is aimed at them realise.
I still buy these magazines every now and again but due to financial restrictions or lack of time, I don't buy them as consistently as I would have.
Basically, if you like your fashion and clothes, you'll love this but be warned: they do feature lots of designers or pricey gear and I used to think the style was 100% designer snobbery then I realised they featured a 25% off deal at high street chains like Mango, New Look and Wallis which I didn't previously think they would ever do! So in fairness, there is some of your high street there.
Grazia is Italian by origin and was founded there in 1938 and the UK version began just a few years ago.
It is without a doubt aimed at the fashion-loving, mature woman but in they do feature young women and celebrities so it's not an age thing, necessarily (what I was attempting to refer to with the patronisation claim). There are editions printed in Germany, Australia, Croatia, Serbia, France, India, Bulgaria, Portugal, Greece and Japan as well.
At the beginning of the magazine you're given a rundown of top ten recommended fashion items; these are usually quite tempting from dresses to bracelets or shoes but of course they're usually out of the ordinary person's budget. Worth reading and drooling over if you like clothes and accessories, though.
There are usually about ten top stories featured with generally contains articles about celebrities (the top story is usually featuring a celebrity on the cover of the magazine) and fashion news. These stories can be contrived, like with much of the written press, so like anything, it's not always going to be true and it's usually grossly exaggerated (so-and-so is splitting up after a huge argument or she's not worn her engagement ring in three days - my reaction is usually: 'So what?!') but it does make a fascinating read (I'm still not obsessed with celebrities.. honest!). The main story is usually spread over two or three pages and the other nine big stories are on one or two pages each. Jennifer Aniston, Angelina Jolie, Cheryl Cole, Sarah Jessica Parker and unsurprisingly Kate Moss seem to be amongst Grazia UK's favourite, often featured celebrity ladies. They are also the victim of some relatively overblown articles.
However they also do a lot of positive articles on women and sometimes, move away from fashion and turn the reader's attention to problems worldwide such as third world poverty and do a moving job of reporting on it.
My favourite part of this glossy is the Style Hunter section which was always the two to three pages worth on ordinary women (albeit evidently well off unless they got that designer jacket on eBay) on the streets (usually London - only the trendsetting spots though, we're not talking Peckham ) and a rundown of what they are wearing. You get a snap of them posing in the street with their name and the shops or label they bought each piece of item from. I think it is interesting to see how our bravely dressing women put together such creative pieces and it usually provides you with some layering or colour coordination inspiration. This was usually the first section I flipped the pages to through to find. I wouldn't dress like this ladies but I love seeing what other people like.
Another section further in is when three guests give their personal opinion on a celebrity look. Journalists such as those from the tabloids, other magazines, the Guardian etc. and Grazia writers will each give a sentence or two on about three regularly photographed women and scrutinise their appearance recent snap. This is usually a pretty sarcastic and slightly pretentious section. There is also a word or two from a reader via the website which is usually a little kinder than the journalists. The guests will often put things like, 'She looks like she's wearing my granny's curtains,' or, 'It would have been better had she added some accessories,' or something along those lines!
So it is all very encouraging as far as backing the modern woman, isn't it? Well, further in you do get a little more support.
There is usually a real life story which, usually features a woman sharing her recent problematic journey over two pages. Again, the people featured are so often relatively high-earning, middle-class, smart women but spending hundreds of pounds on the latest Prada doesn't free them of personal difficulties elsewhere. The stories are never desultory and are usually written with a hint of optimism in the end. They often have a phone number/s on the page should you require help with the same problem featured in their story (like domestic abuse or a miscarriage of justice) and sometimes there's an expert opinion.
Elsewhere, there's features on the usuals: music, horoscopes, TV, films and reader's letters as well as columns written by journalistic women like Lauren Laverne and Lowri Turner giving their pros and cons of certain fashion trends or serious topics or the who turned up at Glastonbury wearing what. At lease you're not bombarded with sex relationship tips!
There is usually a very attractive five or six page fashion spread of a model or two showing off the latest catwalk theme and in small font: the name and the prices (you've guessed it, usually on the other side of high street bargain prices). However, some people are deservedly rich and if I had the money I would say no to to some of it; it just doesn't inspire the ordinary working class woman.
Finally you end with a competition to win a designer prize; usually a handbag with two or three smaller designer items like a phone, fragrance, make up item, purse etc. It is a somewhat tempting competition because in big letters they'd make sure you know how much that bag they're giving away is worth. Usually in the stupid region of £1000 or something. Then there is what's inside it like the £70 perfume and so on. However, the good thing about it was not only the fancy prize but the fact that they claim that all proceeds go to a very worthy charity. Good on them.
Ultimately it is a very attractive magazine. If only you were able to buy some of the clothing or accessories featured! It has got a nice design, and a layout that is easy to read, consistently so and it is very colourful, particularly the cover.
Like a lot of the press, Grazia have had their fair share of controversies. They were accused of digitally changing the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton this year by slimming her appearance.
Worth reading also is Grazia's website: www.graziadaily.co.uk
There they have about the magazine itself as well as the lowdown on the fashion shows, competitions, beauty and hair blog as well as the opportunity to subscribe to the physical magazine at the bottom of the main screen.
So there's a lot that this magazine doesn't always offer me such as affordable clothing ideas and it is all fashion slave based. Many readers or women featured may be in a different world financially and the tone can be a little pretentious but I find it a really enjoyable read and the magazine itself is glossy and attractive. There are one or two fashion adverts filtered throughout which personally, I love. I love fashion photography so I enjoy these but I know this can annoy a lot people. It's not as bad as Vogue, though. It is mostly original content but the adverts have to suit the medium and they do.
All in all a little pricier and upmarket than other women's weeklies but a lot classier but is designer heavy and can be a little pretentious.
Summary: Very fashion heavy and very designer biased with sarcastic wit but an addictive read.