I want to be able to look up from the end of the story and then, slowly, as what I have read sifts down, to have the flower of relevance open for me. ~ Nancy Hale, Essayist
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Vogue has yet to give us a glimpse of the cover of its September issue but we do know that Lady Gaga will grace it. This is the much anticipated thick as a brick issue that has hundreds of pages of fall advertising. I love it but I do wish Vogue had models on the cover again and I really wish that the celebrities they select would at least be put in seasonally appropriate clothes and not the pale slinky gowns they wear on the covers now. In September and October I want to see burnished reds, nut browns, burnt oranges, cashmeres, tweeds, and wools. And what about red tartans?
I know where the gorgeous plaids and autumnal textured knits are, however. You can find them on my vintage Seventeen magazines of yore. How I anticipated the huge August Seventeen issue that arrived in my mailbox the first week of the month. My sister and I would take it to the beach and spend hours upon hours of prime sun tanning time pouring over the Bobbie Brooks ads for wide leg window pane plaid pants with cuffs and simple Shetland sweaters in primary colors. The surf couldn't pull us away from the lovely Berkshire hosiery ads, Bonnie Doon knee socks, and Bass shoes. The pictures were always fetching and romantic, with a boy-next-door model to set off the clothes and imply that an after school tailgating picnic was happening. We especially loved the Ladybug ads with capacious illustrations of menswear inspired clothes; plaid pantsuits with ruffled blouses, argyle sweaters, chunky heeled shoes, newsboy caps and Breton hats, all matching and coordinated. We dreamed of school starting and what we would wear and bring along on the first day. We made lists which, including lingerie and makeup, loose leaf notebooks, colored pens, "baby" barrettes and it all began with the opening of that big August Issue. The girl on the cover enticed us to enter her world, with her happy smile in her happy clothes and it made leaving behind our summer loves and friends almost painless. Seventeen made us feel it was alright that time was passing – because there was plenty of it and summer, if not endless, would at least return again and again. But not until after a shining new school year filled with the latest flicks, clothes, and the Boy Trap Sandwich #51.
Seventeen told us that Herbal Essence Shampoo would give us "the most beautiful shampoo experience on earth" and our hair would smell like the Garden of Eden. We were told that Wrangler jeans were the only jeans to wear to school and that "3 out of 3 girls preferred Yardley's Watercolor Eye Shadows" in the new applicator compact. We bought every color and shared them between us, along with a bottle of Chanel #5 which was selling for just $5.00 at the local Rexall. Seventeen also told us Danskins were not just for dancing and so we put the new bodysuits on our list too. And maxi coats and miniskirts and leather tooled handbags for each of us.
It wasn't just the ads that we loved so much - the editorial staff at Seventeen knew just how to talk to us. There were articles about careers, the Peace Corp, boyfriends, and the generation gap. The magazine's optimism made us feel that anything we imagined was possible and the future was our oyster.
So now, when my September Vogue comes in the mail, I may sniff at bit at the skimpy frock the celebrity du jour is wearing on the cover. But I know when my sister and I crack open that massive tome on our beach blanket Labor Day weekend, we'll be plotting our next moves.