Lucky Magazine Done Lost Their Mind

Tuesday, April 14, 2015 7 , 0

The Problem with Lucky Magazine's February 2015 "Under $500" Issue, by Lisa Tufano |
Put your party pants on, boss ladies, because tomorrow is Tax Day aka the last day to file your 2014 tax returns without an extension.

Unlike me, some of you may actually be getting a refund this year, so I hope you’ll use this as an opportunity to pay off any outstanding debt (especially those high interest credit cards!) instead of going on a spring shopping spree. On that note, I want to share a little story and officially put Lucky magazine in the time out corner for being a bit naughty in their February 2015 issue.

Let’s start with a bit of back story first. In order to save money I try to limit myself to a salon manicure every 4-5 weeks, and then I try to maintain my manicure as best I can during the weeks between visits. It’s not that I can’t afford to get a weekly professional manicure; it’s just that I want to be able to afford my future house instead. Manicures, pedicures, Starbucks, lunches out, dinners out, drinks, cute shoes… it all adds up and before you know it you’re spending over $1000/year just to get your nails painted. Maybe instead of DIY manicures you limit yourself to two Starbucks coffees per week, or bring your lunch to work most days. Everybody has their thing, and if you don’t have a thing yet then it’s never too late to start! 😀

Anyhow, most of my magazine consumption occurs in nail salons which means that I tend to belatedly binge on the last month or so of gossip and trends while I’m in the spa chair pretending to be fancy for an hour. This past week I was playing catch up and got my hands on the February 2015 issue of Lucky, which I usually look forward to because I’m technically a blogger contributor to the Lucky network. Unfortunately this is where things get a little ugly…

As I reviewed the cover for the topical highlights of the month, I saw that Lucky had made a big to-do about their February issue being “the under $500 issue” because “looking good is about so much more than spending a fortune.” I had to do a double take because I immediately thought to myself, “Under $500? Really!? In what alternate universe is “under $500″ considered conservative spending for any consumer purchase aside from perhaps a computer, furniture, or maybe a month of rent?”

Perhaps you know where I am going with this now.

Lucky gave themselves a big ole pat on the back because they had dialed it down to items under $500 instead of featuring the usual $1300 designer blouse, or $2500 designer shoes. That’s right. Because spending $435 on a blazer, $200 on a single pair of earrings, and $450 for a denim dress is so much less likely to send you careening into bankruptcy.

You Done Lost Your Mind Meme
I want to clarify something here because Lucky is not the only magazine to feature designer brands, but I had always assumed that most of these fashion magazines were publishing financially unrealistic items simply to inspire and inform readers of the latest fashion trends. I didn’t think they actually expected us to buy any of it.

Wasn’t it just two years ago that this same Lucky magazine published a guide to rebuilding your summer wardrobe with 13 style essentials that were less than $500 in TOTAL? According to Vanna Le of Forbes, part of its unique appeal in the face of declining fashion magazine circulation was “that Lucky promotes a positive message, as if to say: “We don’t believe in seasonal trends, but we do believe in smart shopping, smart prices, unique finds–and making shopping as effortless and fun as possible.””

So what has changed? Eva Chen came on board as the youngest Editor-in-Chief in 2013, and at the time the goal was to become print world’s “anti-elitism fashion powerhouse.” Instead it would appear that Lucky has sold out to the designer brands, not at all unlike the superstar blogger celebrities that they featured in the same February issue.

News flash, Lucky! If I had to guess, I’d say that 90% of the fashion you’re trying to pass off as “affordable” in the February issue is still completely unaffordable to the vast majority of your readership. Paying $500 for a denim jumper and pairing it with $200 earrings is completely at odds with your message that “looking good is about so much more than spending a fortune.” As they like say where I grew up: You done LOST YOUR MIND if you really believe that the cutoff mark for affordability is a paltry $500 per item.

It’s this type of completely insane financial rationale that continues to propel women into credit card debt by encouraging poor financial decisions in the name of looking “unbelievably chic.” And it really turns my stomach. I want better for my fellow boss ladies, because I promise you that your money does not actually look better hanging in your closet.

You want to talk about affordable, Lucky? Get back to your roots and reality and publish mostly items under $50, or even $100. Feel free to give me a call when you’re ready to get serious about promoting responsible consumption again… style on a budget is kind of my thing.

Until then, get the heck out of here with that crazy talk.

  • Mai T.
    April 15, 2015

    I receive my tax paper yesterday and it says I have to return over 1000€, so I’m in a really big disappointment at the moment since I’d thought I’d have some money to buy gifts on Christmas.

    • Lisa Tufano
      April 15, 2015

      Do you use an accountant, Mai? Many professionals will provide free consultation and I have had great luck significantly reducing the money owed by employing an accountant.

      For example, you may end up paying 100€ or so to the accountant, but they might be able to help re-evaluate and itemize lesser known deductions to bring the 1000€ down to say 600€. Which means that over all you’d be holding onto 300€. It just depends on your situation, but it’s worth a look if you haven’t already checked it out.

  • courtney b
    April 15, 2015

    yep pretty ridiculous!!!

    that was a pretty funny post though I like the picture !:) xoxoxox

  • Lulle
    April 15, 2015

    Well said!
    That’s one of the reasons I completely stopped reading womens’ magazines years ago: they make it seem like happiness can be bought in the form of a pair of shoes/jeans/earrings/whatever, and if you don’t buy and buy and buy the latest fads, you are BOUND to be unhappy.
    There’s that, and all the implicit shaming these magazines are filled with. If you take them seriously, it seems like everybody has a perfect life (perfect body, perfect relationship, perfect friends, perfect job….) but you. I harbor enough self-doubt on my own, thank you very much.
    As for the tax refund, we had to send a $3 check with our return :/

    • Lisa Tufano
      April 15, 2015

      Ugh, Lulle, so sorry to hear that about the return. Do you use an accountant to file, or self-file? It costs me a few hundred dollars, but my accountant is really great about minimizing the impact. I’d be paying the IRS a lot more each year if he weren’t there to help me itemize and identify the deductions that aren’t obvious or easy to understand as a layperson. Sometimes he even manages to get me a decent refund!

      And obviously I totally agree about the mixed messages being communicated in magazines and most advertising. It’s really hard to keep things in perspective when you’ve got all the pressure from people around you, social media, and constant advertising designed to make you want more, spend more, and then want more again. It really takes constant reminders and reassurance from positive role models, friends, and family in order not to feel overwhelmed by those moments of feeling inadequate or abnormal.

  • Denise Vertiz
    April 16, 2015

    Where was this blog when I was younger? I was very naive with credit cards in my younger years. (-.-)

  • Sandra Watts
    April 17, 2015

    I would much rather put $500 into my mortgage than to buy a pair of shoes or a pretty shirt. Lucky Magazine is for the lucky in wealth for the rest of us its just a dream.

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