Dear Lucky magazine…

This post probably means I will never be invited to the Lucky Style Collective or the mag’s even more clever concept, the Lucky Community—where bloggers get to become “contributors” and create original content for Lucky magazine’s site for free—but that doesn’t really matter, because:

A. I’m not interested in writing for someone else for free, and
B. I’m probably not in Lucky’s target demographic anyway.

Bearing that in mind, despite the fact that I am not Lucky’s target audience at the ancient age of 40, I am was a subscriber and a woman with a deep awareness of fashion and style, so when I opened up the January 2013 issue and saw this, I had to Instagram my WTF moment:

Lucky mag editorial
Seriously? No, Lucky mag, this #epicfail will not be on my list of looks to try. #mismatched #madness

I was not alone in my disappointment in this ridiculous look. These IGers had a few things to say too:

thecurvysocialite: They seem to live that trend. And then they try to say you can wear that mess in the office…smh
lovemaegan: So bad
ravenousreader: it’s a hot mess of F#%K NO!!
styleclosetlife: I stopped subscribing because of their crazy outfit suggestions #whomp
mattieologie: Girrrrrrrll. NO.
elegantbohemian: WAY too many layers….it’s like there is no where for the eye to rest! And I’m over the pattern mixing.

Anatomy of a Hot Mess

Lucky editors, I know you want to help us navigate trends like pattern-mixing, layering, and use of bold colors, but all in one outfit? No. No. No.

Let’s break this down:

  1. Three layers on top. Three layers of long sleeves. Can you fathom attempting to sit at a desk and type (with arms bent at the elbow) on your keyboard for oh, six hours or so? I’d lose all feeling in my fingers due to lack of circulation.
  2. The “unexpected” denim shirt paired with ANYTHING. Will denim shirts please just crawl back to the ranches they came from and DIE already?!
  3. Three different collar styles, two of which definitely don’t work together.
  4. There are roughly a dozen colors in this look. 12 colors, four patterns, four bracelets, one necklace, and a bright-ass clutch.

So yeah, it is indeed a hot mess, inside and out. Long sleeves in triplicate? Hope she was wearing anti-perspirant in triplicate too. You know girlfriend is only fake-smiling ’cause they paid her.

Lucky Magazine: Your Ultimate Printed Guide to Man Repelling

And then I turned a few pages and saw this and had another Insta-rant:

Lucky mag editorial
From fab to frump in 4 steps, courtesy of Lucky mag, your ultimate printed guide to man repelling!

They took a fantastic skirt by Suno that is a wearable work of art (and some killer LAMB kicks), threw a leather bra over a tee (who wears that?); added a coat that covers three-quarters of the focal point (the skirt); put a big sloppy bag in her hand that doesn’t complement the crisp, geometric feel of the skirt; and to top it all off, added the ugliest gloves on earth. GLOVES that are meant for warmth, not a statement. WITH BARE LEGS AND OPEN-TOED SANDALS.  The logic escapes me.

Oh, and I tested my man-repelling theory. When I showed the spread to my husband, as I lamented the travesty before my eyes, he said:

“She went from sexy to…Nana.”

Uh-huh. Not that looking sexy is everyone’s goal. But Lucky could help us by not suggesting impractical, crazy cat lady looks, don’t you think?

Have you discontinued a magazine subscription because of repeat offenses of this nature? Do you often look at an editorial and wonder what in the hell the stylist was thinking?



  1. When I saw this on Instagram I thought oh dear… It’s worse seeing it on my Mac!
    Such a shame since I absolutely love both of these printed skirts, and the layers of sleeves was something that crossed my mind too!

  2. I used to subscribe to Lucky but let the subsription lapse because their stylists were always pulling stuff like this. Their editorials were unwearable – but not in a good Vogue-unwearable editorial way. Also, they were so piss poor at featuring any non-leather options…ever.

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Jesse! There was this small space of time when things were starting to look good, but alas, it is gone. Funny thing, my subscriptions have always been gifts or freebies; guess I know why now.

  3. I saw your pic on Instagram and throught the same thing! I’m not in their demographic either, and I think the Lucky stylists are just trying to hard to be avant garde. Someone needs to tell them that there is youth in simplicity in some occasions.

    I did have a subscription, but I let it run out last year because I became uninterested. I’ve been doing a lot more book reading lately and just buy mags at the newsstand when they interest me. Besides, my fellow bloggers (present company definitely included) have plenty more style than anything I find in magazines!


  4. I used to wait excitedly EVERY month for the new issues of Lucky and In Style. This past year, that has completely dried up, especially for Lucky. I still like In Style, but usually not enough to buy it. I’m just having a hard time lately justifying ANY magazine purchases as their are so many FREE web fashion sources. I’m usually tempted to buy Vogue’s latest issue, and if I can ever get Anna Wintour’s smug mug image out of my head, I may just enjoy the magazine!! Great post Vahni!! Serene

    1. I agree, Serene. My #1 is Harper’s Bazaar. #2 is Elle. #3 was Marie Claire, but it just changed editors and I’m not loving it. All the rest rank about the same, with Lucky at the bottom.

    1. Yeah…I wonder how the whole editorial staff looked at the first outfit and said, yeah, that works. Things that make you go hmm.

  5. I’ve been worried about Lucky for the past couple of years, with the major change in staff, and with the economic downturn. When I first met them, their styling was pretty…arty, let’s say, largely thanks to Andrea Linnett of _Sassy_ chops. And it wasn’t a bad thing. It was cool and metropolitan and rock and roll, or other distinctive style paths. Boho, or French chic, or tongue-in-cheek prep, or vintage kitten… The head to toe looks were not usually suitable for me, but fun to look at, and the looks could be dissected. I knew that somewhere in there I might find some affordable quality pieces for myself.

    But the taste level has gone down, in the styling as you show here, in the pieces shown (February 2013 p. 16: (I’d wear this bright pink peek-a-boo push-up under a silky white blouse for a subtle yet flirty contrast), and in the magazine in general — the advertisements, the paper thickness… and there were no page-saver stickers in February 2013!!! And they’ve begun throwing in outstandingly expensive designer pieces in some attempt to….I don’t know. Have Chanel and Prada advertise with them more often?
    Anyway, I still get enough inspiration and deals from Lucky to keep my subscription, but…I worry.

    1. Hi Sarah, thanks for sharing your thoughts! I’m with you…been scratching my head about Lucky’s editorials for years, actually. Lovely to hear from you!

  6. Oh one should never follow magazines like this. They try so hard, and they fail so bad! I mean, I know that nowadays every trend is trendy, and every brave move expects a reaction like “ooooh look how new that is, I would have never though about it!” …. BUT: there always will be some sort of boundaries. Like class. Style. Fucking sight! I don’t want to go blind and I don’t want to look like a freaking sandwich! Oh God, this “I want to be different-crazy-a walking statement” madness should stop already! I sooo agree with you!

  7. V, my favorite thing about you is your honesty. I saw these on IG as well, and thought that your comments were justified, no one wants to wear three long-sleeve tops, especially not to work! I haven’t outgrown my subscriptions, I actually feel like I’ve grown into them – I’ve been reading Elle for a few years now and have yet to be disappointed with content, though I’m aware of the increased number of ads (but that’s every mag.)

  8. Yeesh. I don’t even know where to begin. I don’t subscribe to any magazines…never really have unless they were gifted subscriptions…and these pictures make me happy I don’t! I also live in Florida, so the style here is much different than a state that actually gets all of the seasons. Ex – layering is totally lost on me. I can’t layer here; I’d sweat to death. MAYBE for 2-3 weeks in the winter I could do it, but that’s about it. The thought of THREE long sleeve layers together?!?! I’d have heat stroke, even if I lived in a cold climate! 😉 I mean…I get it. They’re trying to show off some trends with their heinous combo….but dang – how about breaking it up a bit? They had the potential for some great outfits in there, but they totally overworked it. I’d love that Suno skirt and LAMB heels, but what ever happened to taking 1-2 statement pieces and letting them shine. Can you say – editing???? 😉

    1. This: “but what ever happened to taking 1-2 statement pieces and letting them shine. ”

      Exactly! That’s always been my approach, and I think that’s why I’m fortunate enough to receive compliments on my outfits and accessories regularly. When there’s too much going on, it’s not only uncomfortable and impractical, as you pointed out, but no one know where to look first. So your fab _________ (fill in the blank) essentially goes unnoticed.

      Thanks for commenting, Katie!

  9. you are like a breath of fresh air from a landscape of “omg i LOVE THIS!” and so on.

    bloggers are lining up to share fresh content with lucky because it makes them feel legitimized, and lucky abuses that power. how about paying contributors for their work? it’s not like a publication of this size can’t afford it…

    and as for the styling, i think it’s about more than the hideous look itself… the more they want us to pile on, the more money we spend on said items, and that’s a win win for the fashion industry… they must really think women are stupid: “hey, let’s tell them to wear this hideous outfit and see if they actually fall for it”.

    tsk, tsk all around.

    1. Hi Erin! Thanks for your comment and for the share on Twitter.

      This is a VERY common problem with bloggers and brands in general:
      “bloggers are lining up to share fresh content with lucky because it makes them feel legitimized, and lucky abuses that power. how about paying contributors for their work? it’s not like a publication of this size can’t afford it…”

      Unfortunately, bloggers, especially hobby and newbie bloggers, never think about what they are actually doing…driving traffic to another site! They just think the exposure will be worth it. Sometimes it is, but people rarely leave sites like Lucky to explore individual blogs. I think I may need to post about this topic again. I touched on it somewhat in this post; it’s been a few years:

      1. actually, that was the very first post i read of yours and the reason i became a regular reader! you put everything into words that i felt. i do think the community as a whole needs to give it’s head a shake. if you think what you do is valuable, you should ask for compensation. it’s appalling. and blogs that use affiliate ads on the margins of their blog… drives me nuts. you only get PAID if the advertiser sells something? how about all that free exposure you’re giving the brand for them to advertise for free on YOUR blog? common sense, is it not?! would love to see another post in regards to this topic, v… would simply love it. x

  10. ha ha ha ha! I think their gave up being about fashion and more about shopping loooong ago! But this is a wake up call, right? I’m tired of “experts” giving not just inane advice but LAME advice. Case in point; denim shirts- NOT for the OFFICE. More for the weekend. Or for you, the ranchera. I think lately fashion has been so focused on making a statement they forgot the main purpose of clothes right after the function of skin protection: and that is to make the wearer look good. Great post, V!

    1. “I’m tired of “experts” giving not just inane advice but LAME advice. Case in point; denim shirts- NOT for the OFFICE. More for the weekend.”

      WORD. Why is everyone trying to look like sh*t instead of like they’ve got their sh*t together?

      Thanks for the comment and the share, babe!

  11. Hilarious post, especially about the denim shirt. I hate the denim shirt. I cannot go back to it, I did this style back in the 90s. My problem with Lucky magazine is that it feels so very young, and yet I love the writing of Jean Godfrey-June. She was seriously the one reason why I was buying issues of this magazine last year. Then I realized, just before I almost became a subscriber, that I read this magazine in 15 minutes, literally, and I’m done with it. There’s very little I’m saving from it in terms of editorials or writing, so I decided to leave it alone and now I’m hoping Jean will start writing for Into the Gloss or just some other magazine, pronto.

    1. We are of like minds, lady. Hopefully your favorite writer will spread her wings and fly to a better publication.

      Thanks for commenting, and for your ongoing support. Stay warm up there!


  12. I’ll admit that I liked the concept of the second look, albeit with some serious editing (completely agree with your bra/t-shirt, bare legs/coat & gloves, hideous bag comments.) I also made the assumption that the coat/gloves would be removed indoors. No defense for look #1, that’s just bat sh*t crazy.

    I’m with most of your readers in agreeing that Lucky started as a fantastic concept with realistic looks and sophisticated yet trendy styling. In the last few years it has just lost it’s way. Working in advertising and having seen their ad campaign (because only your intern follows you on twitter, because the pool boy won’t sleep with you), I can tell you everything they do wreaks of desperation. They’re trying to find their place in the overcrowded niche of fashion/beauty magazines and unfortunately have subscribed to the idea that being uber trendy is the ticket, using bloggers as justification and traffic drivers. I would like to see them take a step back and re-evaluate, but sadly I do not think they will. I also would not be surprised if they go web-only or disappear completely before the end of the year.

    1. What an excellent comment, Neahle. You echo my thoughts precisely. They really have lost sight of their original concept.

      What I find interesting is that the mag IS so blogger-focused, so why not invite more really chic bloggers to “guest style” shoots? That is more of a win-win than that silly Lucky Community. They really are grasping, but if they REALLY wanted to reinvigorate their subscriptions and circulation, they would find a better way to harness the talent of bloggers.

      And I, too, would not be surprised if they go Web-only. Maybe that would be a better fit for them.

      Thanks for your intelligent and thought-provoking comment.

  13. Unfortunately I’ve seen this kind of mash up being touted as the way to be uber fashionable in plenty of mags now – including UK Vogue who one season labelled it “blogger style”! (Speak for yourselves!) I guess there are some bloggers out there that do that kind of thing and are considered avant garde because of it – but if I were to turn up to an office in London in a get up like these you have shown here I am pretty sure I would be sectioned.

    1. Hi lovely, we’re on the same page. They’ve taken the goal of not being matchy-matchy and have swung too far in the other direction.

      I have seen some bloggers with some really tragic fashion sense who WOULD try to do the above. But there are a whole lot who really nail it. I wish Lucky would invite them on board—THAT is a quality way to contribute and bring blogger style to print.

  14. Couldn’t agree more. Always cringed at the “style Collective” and “Contributer” *cough* free labor. I mean, wth? I can see being a guest contributer for a page in the magazine or an article, but simply taking outfit photos and posting them (and, by the way, not giving bloggers website credit) is hideous.

    Also, I too am disappointed by this issue. I have to say I did initially like the change in direction the magazine started having last year, but the “articles” (and i say that skeptically) are just fluff now. No seriously original styling ideas (that we would actually wear). The man-repelling thing is novelty, but who in their right mind would want to REPEL the opposite sex? (Actually, don’t answer that.)

    Definitely disappointed in Lucky lately. But I’m not throwing in the towel just yet! Good thing I never subscribed–I just pick up issues every month. Maybe not March 2013.

    1. Hello Dr. Kristina! Thanks for ringing in here, and for sharing this on Twitter. I never expected Lucky to reply, but it’s nice that they took it in stride and they did!

      I guess we’ll have to see how things play out. Maybe they really will take this to the table as feedback. If they do, I hope they read the comments. Not one person has said they disagree with this post.

      Big hug to you!

  15. I am so so so so so glad you posted this! I totally thought the same thing about this specific spread I the magazine and recycled my January issue the day I read it (usually I keep it and look through it over and over). It’s like they are trying TOO hard with fashion bloggers and the whole lets throw on a million trends and layers together. Sometimes it just doesn’t look right! Simplicity and looking classy will always be in style!

    1. Hi Rachel, thanks for your comment. I did the same thing with the January issue, though I must admit December wasn’t half-bad. Hopefully (since they tweeted me about this post) they will learn from this mistake and future issues won’t hit the recycle bin the same day we get them!

  16. I totally felt the same way when I saw this particular spread…well for the past few years actually.
    What’s funny is that I still refer to my Lucky Shopping Manual book that came out YEARS ago. I loved that Lucky helped put together looks that were fashionable but not too complicated for REAL WOMEN. I feel like that has been missing the past couple of years. Come back to us..come back!!

    1. Oh, you reminded me…that manual WAS really good! They seem to have lost sight of their initial concept, and stylists and editors come and go. Hopefully they’ll get some new staff in there that can right all these wrongs.

      Thanks for your comment!

  17. I have a subscription to lucky because one of those child leukemia charities talked me into it, and big pussy that I am, I couldn’t say no. Now I’m saddled with the silly magazine. I do like their makeup reviews, but their fashion editorials have been goofy for a while.
    I wonder if the problem isn’t also with fashion at the moment. I’ve seen a lot of girls walking around wearing some very confused looks recently. It’s like the put a hand in their closets and put on whatever they reached first. I myself created a complete mess off a look in my most recent post. I thought it was good. It wasn’t. Maybe the same thing is happening at Lucky?

    Very few people can pull of that whole man repeller thing. Maybe the only person who can is the woman who coined the term, mostly because she’s so geeky cute ant those clothes cost a fortune. The rest of us end up looking like a mess.

      1. HAAAAA, OMG, I did too!

        And Heather, yes, Leandra is the only one who can pull it off, and that’s because she’s wearing amazing designer pieces, but more important, it’s because that’s who she really is.

  18. Well, as previously mentioned on Instagram and Twitter, your commentary on all of this blasphemy is hilarious. And your husband’s statement is also amazing. Okay, I need to go now because looking at these outfits is stressing me out.

    But one last thing: Thank you so much much for your recent, encouraging comment on my blog. I’ve obviously been through a lot, but blogging friends like you remind me that there are wonderful people in this world who care. I really appreciate you being out there for me. I hope you know how much you’ve influenced and inspired me over the past two years I’ve been blogging.

    1. Hey Steph, thank you and you are welcome!

      Your comment is so sweet—every time I get one like that, I remember why I persevere. I love the connections I have with other bloggers, and the support group that we are for each other. That’s what it’s really about. The fashion is just a common interest that brings us together.

  19. Although I don’t agree about the denim shirt (wear mine constantly and hope it never dies) I hope that I wear it better than the above look. TOTALLY agree…what the hell? My first thought is if you are trying to say you can wear this to the office..why is she carrying a CLUTCH? Who brings a clutch to work??
    Separately the pieces are great..together…they are disastrous.
    I have felt like their outfit ideas were a hot mess lately too…and I usually will find “inspiration” from a piece or two..but NEVER would try the whole look. They need some new stylists…Should I tell them I am available??? But I don’t work for free either, haha. Happy New Year lady! C

  20. So my question is this, when they said Man Repelling did Leandra has anything to do with this? Because while I think she is pretty Kicka** when it comes to styling herself and making it work, that’s her thing. These magazine are trying to capitalize off of that niche IMO. Since she was on their panel at the LuckyFabb event I honestly hope she didn’t just put these together. I love layering but they should have drawn the line with some of this, it just looks like she is trying to wear too many of her clothes at once instead of it all blending and looking great together. Its time to get over the trend of putting a denim shirt on over everything, it doesn’t fit and there are plenty of other pieces that would look better. I love denim shirts bit it’s not for everything, and while i think Leandra legit dressed that way because she love it and many can relate to her wearing things that they love w/o thinking of a man this what you’ve posted in legit man repelling…and woman repelling and style repelling all in one.

    I hope they weren’t trying to push that as work attire? Where on earth are you going to put an outfit like that on at?

    1. Hi Michsi!

      Leandra did not style these looks, and I don’t think they were intentional “man repellers,” they just turned out that way! She does do the look well, as you said, because it’s just her, not a look she’s trying to create.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  21. Thank you, just thank you! I used to subscribe to Lucky before I had children, and I recently subscribed again via a free gift with purchase from a store. I thought maybe I was just getting too old for the magazine, but I’m so unimpressed with their outfits, and last month’s were especially terrible. And I’ve never understood their community, either. I won’t be renewing when my free subscription runs out. I’m too old for that junk.

  22. I was catching up on my magazine stack last night and came across the January 2013 issue of Lucky. My rant against them lately is more of a: Is Lucky Magazine about “fashion” or about the new Windows phone and Surface tablet? I can’t be sure, but I think they’ve sold their soul to Microsoft with all the s–t advertising that has devoured their magazine in the past 3 months.

      1. Hope you’re doing well, too!

        And, yes, totally agree. Every time I open Lucky, I’m so confused what they’re trying to do. Half the time I read it, I think their magazine is very much “For us, by us,” meaning I think the editors and writers throw together things THEY would like instead of what their readers would like. For example, ever notice how most of their “makeover” pieces include people affiliated with their staff instead of their readers? I’m sorry, but what’s the point of that?!

  23. Well I am really in the minority here; I loved the January issue! Yup, I’ll save it and refer to it. Call me crazy but I like most of the mixing but admit they did take some of it a step too far. I’m just not an lbd type person~
    I think this has been the only good issue since the new editor took over. I did like it better before.
    Oh the work outfits were ridiculous tho–lol

    1. There are some looks that are OK, but that’s the point: I don’t think the editors realize it comes off as trying too hard (aka a step too far).

      Thanks for commenting!

  24. I totally appreciate the honesty of this post, first! I totally agree with EVERY single word, waaaayyy to much going on. The pieces were great independently but to add them all together was a horrible concept.

  25. this is exactly what i adore about you: honesty. I also thought the outfit was insane — mostly the second one (hello, bra!), however since I live in Florida I kinda bypass anything with more than two layers atop. 🙂

  26. Ha! But Lucky Magazine is not the only magazine that suggests these “creative work environment” type outfits to a general audience. I also really hope that no one really creates these outfits in the real world and wear them as shown in Lucky or any other magazine. I think a good edit of the first…Wait, no there is nothing about that look than can be saved. In any case, I have to agree with the comments regarding the decline of Lucky. I subscribed to them faithfully for the last 5 years or so, but I also allowed my subscription to lapse recently, although I am a contributor. I read on WWD today that they have a new editor so I will see what happens with the magazine in the next 6 months.

  27. I don”t personally have a problem with submitting a post on the Lucky Community website because it’s my work. I use to subscribe to Lucky but not anymore, their styles just began to not appeal to me however if I see one idea out of an outfit I can run with that vs trying to look at the whole coordination. I never did that. I always have to dress for what looks good on me, never been a part of a trend and never followed the crowd so maybe that’s why I only subscribe to Fitness and Threads on my IPAD these days.

  28. Amen. I’m a little late to this string o’ comments, but I thought the same thing of Lucky’s February issue, too. At 37, I asked myself, “so am I too old for this magazine now??” Things really changed back when they got the new editor and lost some of their most talented girls.

  29. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, everyone! Lucky Mag did respond to this on Twitter, indicating that they do consider all feedback. Perhaps they will try less hard in future editorials, which will probably yield much better results.

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