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Last week, MORE Magazine shuttered after almost two decades. Claiming the 2008 recession and advertising challenges in the luxury marketplace, Meredith Corp. ended this publication, laying off around 30 individuals. Over the years, More has changed its demographic to appeal to women in their 30s as well as those over 40, and also made a switch to target a more affluent female audience.
I’ve been a subscriber to MORE Magazine off and on for a decade. Feeling too old and honestly, too informed for Cosmo and not terribly interested in celebrity gossip and style, I looked to MORE to offer… well, more. I clearly am not the only one who was disappointed in what MORE offered. I get that most magazines recycle the same fluff, but MORE’s content was like reading my sorority alumnae magazine – extremely vanilla content for an extremely specific audience. And I didn’t understand why they were creating such boring and generic content for what seemed to be a target audience of very wealthy educated 35-50 year old women who either run corporations or are married to men who do.
For years I felt frustrated by MORE Magazine, even angered by the fact that over the years they became more and more part of the over-40 and invisible problem, not the solution.
As a blogger, I understand advertising dollars and as a blogger I know there’s some serious money being spent by women just like me, women who are craving such resources. I know my fellow over-40 bloggers are doing better not worse financially since the 2008 recession. I see quality brands – luxury and mall/drugstore partnering with us and paying big bucks. They see the opportunity is there. They see our audience and see our audience is willing to spend. The difference is my fellow over-40 bloggers and I listen to our audience, adjust with trends and feedback, and know that it’s even more important when your audience is older, to be authentic and relatable. We’re older, we’re wiser, and we can smell bullshit a mile away. You reading this piece, you’re who MORE should have targeted. I, a subscriber for a decade, was who MORE should have targeted.
I’m a successful career woman, but I don’t define myself as just that. I’m a spouse, a mother, a friend, but most important, I am an individual. I’m at a point in my life where I like me, and I want to make my current self the best possible. I am not alone in this desire, and this desire is not exclusive to those who are at a certain economic level. MORE, we wanted more.
Let’s talk about sex, baby. Let’s talk about how it changes, how to improve the experience. Let’s talk about hot flashes and menopause and dealing with the effects of it. Let’s discuss sensitive teeth and receding gumlines, options for a more youthful, strong, and healthy smile at different pricepoints and methods.
Let's talk knees and feet and lower backs. The best ways to get back in shape after years of caring for your family over yourself. Let’s see a 72 year old showing different yoga positions or stretches to help with flexibility, sitting at a desk all day, ways to start the day, provide better sleep at night. Easy and small steps towards better health and wellness.
Let’s see the faces of phenomenal women over 40, over 50, over 60, over 70, over 80 and have them write their beauty routines. Think Into The Gloss but for those in the second half of life. Let’s have the beauty experts interviewed be those who work on the faces of Helen Mirren and Cicely Tyson and have them share how they keep them healthy and looking great. Let's balance talk about Botox with discussion of nutritional supplements; we don’t all want to look younger, many of us just want to know how to best care for our specific skin needs. How about a Best of Beauty that is geared towards older women? Considering how every brand now seems to have an anti-aging formula I think this would become a coveted award like Allure’s or CEW’s.
Let’s see the best jeans not for the classic apple, pear, athletic, and generic “plus size” body but some real over-40 bodies styled in department store or online-accessible brands, brands that can be found in Manhattan but also Montana. Let’s review bathing suits, ones to lift, to suck, to flatter… but also ones that make you feel like a bombshell, hold up in the surf, or don’t slip off shoulders during laps at the indoor pool.
Let’s have regular book reviews – the intelligent novel that makes you sound smart at a dinner party but also that juicy one that will be so fun to read for your next beach weekend. Let’s read about useful websites and apps for living a better life. Recaps of new music, new books, new movies and art exhibits with a good balance of smart and fun. You can be intelligent and powerful and still love a good chick flick or a TV series like Younger or Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce. You can be 50 and still appreciate Santigold.
Let’s discuss finances – not how to handle your “estate” but maybe what to do when you’re 50 and your savings has been depleted by an unexpected emergency or health crisis. Let’s talk about transitioning from being daughters to caregivers to our parents and how to stay sane and find support. Let's talk about empty nests, divorce, love, and loss.
Let's talk travel – the best tour programs for those going solo, what to pack and wear for different events, recaps of RV camping in Colorado, experiencing a silent retreat, attending JazzFest, a weekend in Savannah, or hiking the Inca Trail to Maccu Piccu.
And let’s see fashion – great fashion and fun fashion, and explain how this season is about that certain color, that hemline, that style of shoe, being inspired by that movie or that decade. Let’s ban the noise about how you can't wear certain things at a certain age and instead show how to incorporate a current trend or hot color in a variety of ways we can relate to. And let’s see it on women our age – there’s so many hot older models now, plenty of over 40 bloggers who would love to be featured (and then would be your marketing and promotion – we love to show off when we’re featured!).
And dammit let’s have some color! Why is it that everyone thinks older women want to wear, decorate with, and view elegant neutrals? We’re not dead, we’re finally at a point where we know ourselves and it’s time to love and enjoy ourselves and that deserves a CELEBRATION not a golf clap!
We still love to pour over a beautiful, glossy magazine on a Sunday morning with a cup of coffee or a Friday evening when we get the luxurious chance to take a bath with a glass of wine. That being said, most of us spend a good portion of our day on a computer and/or a phone and want to be able to get related content on a website, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and yes, even Snapchat or Periscope.
MORE, you could have been so much more. I get that you re-marketed yourself to a wealthier demographic, but the things I want and I think other women my age and older want don’t have to do with our annual salary. I think you missed the point, I think you’ve spent too much time in your New York bubble and don’t realize that the rest of the world has different priorities and is living life with colorful zest even though they’re at or past middle age.
I’m sad MORE Magazine shuttered because I am sad when any resource for women who don’t fit in the stereotypical bucket disappears. MORE may not have been what we all needed, but it at least realized that we women exist, we desire and possess style and substance, and we deserve a community. For that person who sees this amazing opportunity for us and creates our new resource… email me, I’ve got some ideas and I’d love to be on your team!
Nicole Palmeter says
I was really hoping to get to the end of the article and find a link to a new magazine! I am 43 and really just want a magazine that talks about women’s health issues (uterine prolapse, peeing on yourself, colonoscopies, breast cancer, perimenopause, menopause, post-menopause, etc, etc), sex, marriage, living single, fur babies, human babies, among other ‘middle age issues (diversity, how to recognize your micro aggressions, how to be an ally, etc, etc). I NEED that connection!
I felt the same way! I’m always reading a book but was hoping this article would provide a close alternative to More. I am a 44 year old administrative assistant, mother, wife and daughter. More magazine covered it all and it blows me away that there is nothing on the market similarly geared to women 40 and older. Both Prevention and Health magazine offer valuable perspectives but don’t come close to touching upon the interests of bright, active, intellectually curious and health conscious older demographic of women.
Jennifer Velasquez says
So where is this conversation now? Various blogs, Instagram…It was nice to have one magazine that focused on this demographic and now I’m overwhelmed by where to find information.
It was annoying that the magazine only focused on the super rich, not everyone can afford Chicos, or likes their style, but we still need to know how to cover senior knees and legs in the summer!
Don’t know if anybody is still reading this, but —
I was a features editor at More from 2006-2009, and I’d like to comment from my perspective as the editor of the 2008 Michelle Obama cover (written by Geraldine Brooks, and first ever Cover on Michelle in a women’s mag), the article someone mentioned here about transitioning to gray hair, and many of the politics, economics and international features (Hillary coverage, first national profile of Kamala Harris and other women in political pipeline, the American prosecutor who worked on Rwanda crimes commission, etc ) —and the More.com sex channel when it started up.
So! These articles were the kind that were losing space as the magazine slid ever further from the 40+ demographic on down—and as the integrity of the vision and the pieces themselves degraded. (My then-teenage daughter described the More editorial seesaw as “you’re great the way you are ! you’re great the way you are ! You better fix yourself! You better fix yourself” —perfect.)
All these changes were consistently explained as “necessary” because we couldn’t get advertisers for a magazine devoted to women over 40, women of unconventional beauty, women (readers or subjects) who made less than six figure, anything not upbeat enough, etc. To a large extent this is simply true. BUT.
Part 2 of former editor’s comment.
BUT there are subtleties to this argument (Ads won’t come) that aren’t usually acknowledged. All have to do with commitment to the idea and vision. The more committed editor will publish less conventional pieces—for example, tell the truth about whether all those “reinvention” ventures and boutiques we wrote so much about were ever profitable (not many) or could have been started without family money or stock options the “reinventors” got for idealistically quitting their regular jobs (not many). A committed editor can also better resist business-side pressures, push for inventive ways to build revenue that are not dependent on the usual advertisers, and so on.
A company as profitable as Meredith (which since bought up Time Inc properties like People and Sports Illustrated) —if committed to the idea of, say, a true 40+ More with brave editorial content —can also choose to settle for a lower profit margin on a property it really wants to publish.
But none of these things were true.
For example, Editor in chief Peggy Northup (who hired me for my not-typical-of-womens-mag skills —I hailed from WSJ and Newsweek) and her deputy Joanna Coles (Mademoiselle, Project Runway etc) were much more committed to the vision of More than Leslie Jane Seymour, who came in about 2007.
And Meredith management —as you commenters point out—was dominated by middle aged white men with conservative values, based in Iowa. To give you a sense of how really conservative they were: the company refused to participate in Working Mother’s Best Companies protocol. They didn’t WANT to develop working-mother-friendly policies. (This isn’t rare among for-profit and non-profit organizations In the women’s space, sadly.) In fact, when Michelle’s staff in the new White House wanted to negotiate —with More editors (me + a willing-but-skeptical Seymour) and F 500 corporate sponsors eager to sign on— to do a national conference on women in the workplace (at the time, Michelle had planned to make this one of her key issues as FLOTUS), Meredith management REFUSED to even take a meeting. Again, they didn’t want to be under any pressure to be a good workplace for women. Yes, this would have meant great revenues and publicity (ie more subscribers, advertiser interest) But no matter.
(Personally, I discovered the depth of management hostility to working mothers when my daughter became seriously ill in 2008, and I began to ask for my rights under The Family and Medical Leave. The HR department stonewalled me for a year, literally ignoring my emails, while the editors tried to make life uncomfortable enough that I’d quit. i offered to literally sweep floors—to do any job to preserve my benefits and a salary. Finally, with a lawyer’s guidance, I formally demanded my rights in a letter. Two weeks later they eliminated my job (a day or two before I would have accepted my third-year-in-a-row company-wide Creative Excellence Award, this one for the Michelle cover).
I signed one of those famous NDA (common in discrimination and other cases, not just sexual harassment) —just to get some reasonable severance pay. (I’m hereby violating the ND requirement.) Id so carefully documented my struggle to get FMLA rights that I could have easily won a suit on the law—but I could never have survived the expense and onslaught of their law team. )
Sorry for the very long narrative. I started at More full of optimism and energy and three years later, my disillusion was total I’d love to see you all start projects that do all good things. But I think the reality of the magazine business (and its successors) is often pretty harsh. If you want to make enough money to survive, be very strong, very strategic and very realistic.
Thanks for listening.
Bottom line: it’s a very depressing reality.
Best reply ever.
Thank you for for setting this straight, being honest, and letting me know the reality of magazine publishing.This story about your FMLA is DEPLORABLE.
Thanks! Appreciate the affirmation too
Thank you for this reply. As a 35 year old breadwinner working mom, I really was inspired to have More in my life and was sad with the reality of how it spiraled. Still hoping for something to hit the mark.
Lisa Simon says
Thanks for this insight into the strategy (or lack of) behind the magazine. I was also a huge fan and your daughter was right about the whiplash messages, “change!” “don’t change you’re great!” I rolled my eyes every time there was an article about “reinventing yourself” which seemed to increase exponentially with every passing month. It always suggested that I needed to change. I was (and still am) happy with my current self so this never resonated with me. There’s still a void in this space. I wish we could fill it. All my best to you.
Thank you for sharing the behind the scenes greed & bias in More. I enjoyed the magazine & am not some snooty, tooty rich broad w/a wealthy hubby. It would be heartening to say things have changed but they haven’t much. And, some women in positions of power are demons in heels.
If women are not showing their tits & a’s they are deemed over the hill by some. Perhaps, that’s why celebrities like Berry, Cindy Crawford come out w/some tiny bikini as they age to deem their bodies still relevant whether they are or not. SMH.
It’s awful you had this experience at MORE! Every person has a right to FMLA and yet many people shy away from asking their HR instead they use their vacation or paid sick days to cover a health related absence. The problem with that is without the addition of FMLA an employee is not protected. Thank you for sharing your story. It sounds like poor ethics— they absolutely didn’t deserve you.
On a different note, does anyone know if another magazine has come out in the years since this was written that fills the need of the more mature age group? I am in my late 50’s and would love to find some solid recommendations whether it is a magazine or sites on social media. Lastly, ageism is a thing that seems to creep in and it is noticeable in many encounters. Ugh. So annoying! I wasn’t fully aware of it until I listened to Katie Couric’s podcast. She opened my eyes and it is important to be aware and navigate it by speaking up any time that creeps into our personal space.
YES! I loved MORE, as an early 30s rising career woman it gave me some examples to look towards of women owning it, looking beauitufl and yes, I wish the content had been in line with your reccomendations. I keep missing it. Time to start it up??? not sure where to start but inspring…
I was an early subscriber to MORE magazine. In the beginning it was marketed to me. I was a subscriber for at least and possibly longer than 10 years. I was in my early 40’s and had outgrown Cosmo, Bazaar and Vogue. MORE helped me celebrate my womanhood as I matured and I looked forward to each issue. Then it began to change or I did. I stopped subscribing but would still purchase it if the cover model was in my age range. As the audience became younger and younger it lost its relevancy in my life. I hadn’t realized MORE was no longer being published. I had recently started looking for it and wondered what happened as it wasn’t available. I’m now nearing 70. I’m still active, still working in a challenging career, still physically fit and healthy. I care about my physical appearance and have that stubborn 10 pounds I would like to get rid of for good. I still like reading about female role models … for mature women. I cannot help but believe there is still a market for more mature women. Presently the “original” MORE magazine concept would have no competition and a market of the 40+ American woman.
MARTI S STERIN says
I was an early subscriber to More and recommended it to friends. At first it didn’t bother me that they kept celebrating women who had the means to enjoy successful second careers but it starting getting old. When it was announced that they were going to bow to the wishes of the 30 somethings who said “What about us?” (yes, I remember that quote and remember thinking that they had every other magazine on the planet) I had enough. At first I was going to just let my subscription run out but as they started featuring women young enough to be my daughters I wrote to cancel my subscription and told them why. I guess I wasn’t alone. I didn’t even know that they were gone until I stumbled on this article just now.
Oh GOODNESS, I agree with you about MORE mag.! It was definitely not for a middle class over 50 female just wanting a magazine with ideas to be more stylish, find humor, and healthier. I am now 62 and still looking for that magazine to sit on the patio and enjoy with an ice cold “beverage ” on my days off!
Gloria Sims says
I tried to get into MORE, however, just like most magazines, there was a lack of diversity and/or international sisterhood. I have waited for a magazine that offered that kind of diversion all of my life. A magazine where no topic was off limits. I really hate that MORE magazine couldn’t do more.
Mature women aren’t invisible, we are visible and a lot of fun.
Would you like to take a guess as to why there is no new offering similar to More from Meredith? Take a look at this page and then you will understand.
I would also like to add my talents to any new adventures. I am an IT profession with 15+ years experience in cybersecurity and IT operations for large healthcare companies. I could provide monthly advice on technology including and personal healthcare wearables and using technology to improve health.
Alison Gary says
Wow, that’s a lot of middle-aged white men! Thank you Lisa for your offer, this is something I keep thinking about and if something comes together I will reach out!
Rosa M Bivens says
Thank you so much for helping me find out what happened to MORE. It had a lot of potential. There was no diversity but could have been. After seeing the executive team for Meredith that completed the puzzle and answered a lot of questions. So will fill the void and lead the way?
Got a good laugh when I pulled up the page on the people in the high-ranking positions at MORE’s publisher, Meredith. With that particular demographic it’s a little like me (an emotional health counselor) showing up at an OR to perform surgery! I’d have very little idea how to proceed and looks like they had the same problem.
Allie, I know this post ended in 2016 so I’m a little late to the party, but I read all the comments with great fascination as this is what I’ve been saying as well!
I’m in my fifties and looked around for role-model MODELS and fashion advice/ideas for NORMAL people around my age and I wanted tips on hair-styles and how hair extensions help thinning hair and how to survive hot flashes…you get the idea.
I have decided to do this as my “second career” which is how I found this page (doing research). If you have any updated information on this topic or advice or ideas I’d love to hear! I’d also love to find other people that might want to help and/or contribute. Maybe as a community of intelligent women over 40 we can – together – come up with a magazine that has style, editorial and other content we want and can use.
…Any help you can send my way would be appreciated!
I didn’t realize More was no more. I was just about to subscribe again. I loved the magazine. Is there another like it? I need something for my age group.
Carol Robbins says
Fantastic article! Yes, please, start a magazine. Your ideas are spot on! I would subscribe in a NY minute!!
Alison Gary says
Thank you Carol!
Me too. Sadly some of us Boomers are not
real women, which is why I can go to the store with messy hair and no make up and be just as invisible aaa I would be if I had just come out of a spa.
I really enjoyed More magazine. Too bad.
Mary Offringa says
More Magazine inspired me to stop coloring my hair and let the silver shine through. I held on to that article which included photos along with a diary of another woman’s journey. It was my support during the difficult transition. Thank you More. Miss you More!
I loved MORE magazine in the beginning. My first word when I picked up their first issue was “FINALLY! A MAGAZINE THAT GETS ME.” Sadly, as others have stated, their content was boring, bland and just as plain as all those other 20 something mags. They finally lost me as a reader when they did an article written by women “who had lost everything during the recession.” One woman who submitted her story had this to say: We had to sell our vacation home, sell one of our cars and put our children in public school.” Uh…buhbye MORE!!!
E. Smyth says
I loved MORE magazine, too. I needed articles addressing topics truthfully, not cheerleadingly cheerfully. Myopia, greed, insecurity seem to have shuttered this good publication.
Janet Nelson says
Great article! Please start a magazine; you’ve hit every point perfectly! I’d also love some articles about bras for older women. The density and lift of our breasts change with age, and I’d like to look put together but not voluptuous.
Sandra M Brown says
I am saddened to see the magazine go. I swear I must have been one of its first subscribers. MORE Magazine (and Proactiv skin care) took me through the last near 2 decades. I would have advertised for them both for free. The magazine started out really great. It was one of my biggest treats to get the publication in my hands each month. I would savor the cover article for last, scour the features, especially the articles on health and new reads, all of it! And then in recent years I began to become disinterested. I get it—-magazines need to put people on the cover who can get them sold, but golly, Meredith couldn’t find more people of color than the token few who appeared over the years?! Still I read on. I thought at first the pieces were well written, that they had personality. And heck. I’ll just say it! I liked that it was a magazine for US. The 40 and over crowd. On more than one occasion I gave a subscription as a gift. Things though, kind of started to seem like they were repeating themselves. One month’s issue didn’t feel much different from another anymore. I will miss the magazine but this is what happens when we don’t take our audience into account. As an educator I know that well. They ‘tune’ out. I have regrets that a great thing that came onto the scene for the mature, savy, educated, yet not always affluent woman is now gone. Maybe I should take on the monster of creating such a magazine myself!
Kathryn Costa says
Alison, you nailed it! This is just what I’d love to see.
Patricia Crouch says
So, anything recommended for women over 40, etc.?
Lynda Randall says
I LOVED MORE magazine!!!
I was a subscriber to More from their first year of publication. I enjoyed it so much that I would give it to a friend whenever they offered the free gift subscription promotion. There has been dislike of some of the articles, expressed by some readers. I, however, found them to be an interesting assortment of subject matter, written in a fairly “fleshed out” manner. The fashion sections left me disinterested. I worked for Vogue in my earlier career, and later owned a Manhattan jewelry store with my husband, so had plenty of exposure to all aspects of fashion. I felt their styling, as well as price points, missed the mark. The clothes did not have enough “zing” for a real fashion lover, and the clothes that were more conservative were too pricey for something like a skirt and blouse. There may be people who have enough money to pay the prices, but simply choose not to spend their dollars that particular way. Another consideration in clothing choice is retirement. Ones life style changes and there isn’t the same need for “dress up” on a daily basis.
I am a happy, svelte, widowed, 78 year old great grandmother who has never dyed her gray hair. I maintain it in a sharp angled chin length style and get many compliments on it. Women will say, “if I thought my hair would be as pretty as yours is, I’d let it go gray”. They don’t even know what’s under there. We need a magazine that encourages you to love yourself, inside and out, at all ages. Gratitude and contentment are great beautifiers. Financial security should be covered more thoroughly in women’s magazines, not just Fortune or Money mags. If you’re looking for an upper crust WASP replacement for More, Town & Country does a good job of that. More satisfied me for the most part until they revamped their format in an effort to save the sinking ship about 2 years ago, that’s when they lost me. I’ve been watching to see what became of Ms. Seymour, the editor.
CJ Peepers says
I am so disappointed they shut down the magazine and even more disappointed they made a Magazine for Millenials.
Rb Wayne says
Went to the library & was told about its demise. Such a loss. I’m turning 60 in 2 months and was a mostly on subscriber for most of the mag’s life. Now its marketed to Millennials (do you Really care what the Zodiac says about your love life????) All those ridiculous topics – Been There Done That (decades ago). Can’t possibly translate Vogue fashions to my lifestyle; Cosmo is a total joke to anyone over 25 (I hope); Bazaar & Elle are running close behind Cosmo with mindless drivel. I think that Vanity Fair’s articles are interesting on a wide variety of subjects but it is all over the map. So the industry just took a giant step backward. Shame.
Colleen Kochannek says
I’m late to the game. I just realized More was gone when I looked for it at the grocery store and couldn’t find it. I Googled it only to find out about it’s demise and rebirth online for the millennial set.
Annoying. Frustrating. Short sighted. I’m about to turn 50 I know I have more money now than I did as a millennial. I certainly want to buy things of quality.
Why do marketers begin to ignore the older set (the ones with money). My guess is because most of the decisions are being made by a younger set.
I was an original subscriber to MORE, and loved it…until toward the end when everything I saw there pertained to the types in academia or upper echelons of business. I’ve always been a high-school graduate with an office job. And I’m not saying I’m not intelligent, but they were focusing on the small percentage of women, not those of us that struggle every day with life’s inconstancies that seem to be more common to the rest of us! And the high-end goods they were selling were so out of my realm of possibilities, that I eventually dropped my subscription. I hadn’t really even noticed MORE was gone, but still I’m sad. I mourn the loss of the idea, not the publication. I agree with the blogger above. There has GOT to be something better
Thank you! Finally! Someone who agrees with me! I stopped my subscription to MORE for the very same reason. They lost me when, during the recession, they featured a story on a woman who was a “victim” of the recession…”she had to sell her vacation home, get rid of one her cars, and send her kids to public school.”
I’m a little behind on this news and I’m devastated! I’m just a woman in my mid-40’s who felt I finally connected to a publication that didn’t totally get me but got me. Well, I’m not holding my breath for another…oh well…
Elitist rag. I believe it began with a good idea. Then it turned its nose up to the vast majority of American women. Come on people who drove this magazine into the ground. Did you really think appealing to only multimillionaire business women was going to work? Who
Dawn Priestley says
So which magazines do you recommend we read now my darling over-50 ladies?
Bre Roz says
This article inspired me. Thank you.
Janina Martin says
Amen sista! I’m 51 and so often feel ignored by the media at large. More mag was the closest we got to something for us gals over 40. I agree, they had so many missed opportunities. Your ideas are fantastic! I hope someone is inspired to produce content for us in the future. Meanwhile keep telling it like it is.
I’m in my late 50s. I have read every issue of More all the way back to its test issue (which I still have). I loved the magazine, so I can’t really say that I agree with all of your feelings about it, Alison, but I respect them.
With Susan Crandell as the editor-in-chief, I thought More was brilliant. When she left, I said, “What the heck happened to my smart, sassy magazine?” I was still a subscriber but In the last year, all I did was leaf through it, find (maybe) one good article and pitch it. I used to devour that magazine; its demise just makes me sad.
Kate Sandman says
Alison, you could be my new best friend. BUT if I have to settle for reading the content that you curate, so be it! Right on, girl!
Jacqueline Gray Endlich says
Oh my! I could have written this article. Where are all the female entrepreneurs that could translate your vision (and mine) into a beautiful magazine? I can’t believe how marketing has missed the mark. Not only in meeting a need, but tapping into the vast dollars our market could spend on products suited to us.
So much this. Forty is still around the corner for me, but I’ve already dealt with being caregiver to children and parents simultaneously and now, learning how to be authentic in my own life while adjusting to not being anyone’s daughter. I would love to talk about creaky knees and how to cultivate happiness right here, right now, with my current income and situation. Or how to transition into working after being a stay-at-home mom for nearly 18 years. Let’s have some honest conversations with people who have lived it and come out the other side.
Robin Waltenberger says
Alison, So very well said! And ditto Une femme, terrific ideas!
beth djalali says
ok, i may be late to the party, but better late than never. you are dead-on with your observations! hopefully, albeit slowly, we can change the perception of what we women want from the marketplace. it always starts with the artisits and creatives – so keep goin’ girlfriend!
OK, Alison. I’m a technical writer by day, foodie by night. We could totally put together something that works for women like us. There are so many women who want what we’re looking for! You be the voice, I’ll take care of the rest!
Yes, wishful thinking. I, too, need the day job for the very reasons you do. But, it’s so fun to dream!!!
I think it may have been the original Mode, which according to wikipedia lasted longer than I remembered. Apparently it was associated with getting designers to create plus size lines and folded after a lot of the luxe merchandise they wanted to display stopped being produced. You can see some of the issues here:
Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen says
Yes, I remember Mode! Ahead of its time!
There was a magazine many years ago – so long ago I don’t remember the name – that was the opposite of what you’re describing. I loved it because it didn’t have articles about how to diet or exercise or improve yourself. I can still some of the editorial pics in my mind. Might have been focused to plus size women and I wasn’t plus sized but they looked so luscious and content. It folded very quick. I’d love a magazine about not striving but I guess that cuts out a whole range of advertisers . I sometimes have picked up GQ because they had cooking articles focused on red meat and I remember one gorgeous spread of men in European bars wearing linen suits. Made me search out a linen pantsuit for myself.
Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen says
The thing is Vogue and Bazaar and Elle are all there to fill that niche and you’re right, the advertisers are necessary to pay the bills. I also think this is what makes blogs so great. You can look at a low-text blog like Atlantic-Pacific and not necessarily afford or fit in what she’s wearing, but be inspired for a new silhouette, color combination, or shape of bag. I follow her, Sincerely Jules, and a few other blogs not because I can relate or because I am envious, but because they inspire me to look at silhouettes, colors, and trends with fresh eyes.
I never read More but I can tell you that the magazines I now get, Instyle, Health, Real Simple, take me about two minutes to read. There is nothing in there that is interesting or creative. There is more real and creative content on the Internet for free then there are in the magazines. That is why they are struggling to survive.
However, I have to say that many fashion blogs also are becoming boring. Too many bloggers are quitting their day jobs to blog full time. As a result, all they do is sponsored posts and show clothes that most women cannot wear on a daily basis (ripped jeans, studded high heels, etc.) Plus all the content is exactly the same at the same exact time since the sponsors are sponsoring multiple bloggers. The best fashion blogs are still the ones where people have a day job.
Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen says
I think it’s less about having a day job and more about focusing more on advertisers than readers. I see it happen even to bloggers who have kept their day jobs. The brands pay more to those who create those blogs, they’re creating the monsters. If I skipped around a town square in Valentino Rockstuds with skinny jeans and a bouquet of fresh flowers in my Madewell tote laughing at my pigeon toes and tucking back my hair to show my Baublebar ear cuff, I’d be offered twice as much for sponsored posts and get better deals with bigger brands. Money is the root of all evil and of all evil blogger fashion.
Great post. I gave up on fashion magazines years ago for all of the reasons that have been mentioned in the many thoughtful comments to this post. Blogs like yours have much better fashion content than any magazine that I have ever read. You give better fashion advice and your outfits are more fun. Your style is “real”, not airbrushed and spanxed to death. And the variety of styles represented in the many blogs out there is just stunning. You and other talented bloggers like you are the fashion magazines of today.
Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen says
I do think blogs are a big reason why magazines are folding, but why does it have to be that way? Why can’t we have both? We have longform blogs and books, we have movies and TV, I love magazines and I hate to see them disappear!
I never read More magazine and have sort of stopped reading all magazines in recent years. I have found that many of the articles were getting to be identical. I have a Redbook subscription and I do enjoy the variety that they offer.
Hope to see you Thursday for TBT Fashion link up.
Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen says
Redbook does a good job with variety
I’m 64 and I have subscribed to More for at least a decade. I have been disappointed in it over the past year or so. I recently received my latest issue with a subscription renewal notice. I definitely won’t be renewing!
Another MORE reader over the past decade here. I bet many of you also fondly remember Ruth Whitney’s Glamour magazine, which had a lot of the elements Alison describes.
My suspicion is that both advertisers and the publishing staff were so focused on the magazine “not being for old women” that they eventually blinded themselves to a lot of obvious good choices. On the advertising side, here’s a case in point: the March issue of MORE has one two-page pharmaceutical ad, while the same issue of Real Simple has eight two- or three-page pharmaceutical ads. Many of the same women reading both magazines, but we only want to be reminded of our maladies when we’re making life easier, not when we’re thinking about being 40+?!
Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen says
I think that’s a big issue, people making the decision that older women don’t want to admit they’re older. If they’re old they’ll read AARP or Prevention. But we’re stronger than the previous generations. We have more access to nutrition, to fitness, to information, to fashion, to beauty and health products. Not too long ago, 70 was seen as elderly. My mom is 72 and she does yoga several times a year, is on the dancefloor at every wedding, goes to concerts, is very politically active and goes to rallies and other events. She shovels her snow, mows her lawn. She loves fashion, seeing new movies, has a boyfriend and a social life. People need to get out of the past and see that the second half of life is not being treated like a death sentence nor do we have to put our head in the sand, Botox our faces and pretend that we’re 35 forever.
The realities of being a 40+ woman have changed so fast you kind of can’t blame people for perceptions that lag behind. I have a picture of my grandmother at my age (49) looking the same as she did in her 70s, and my mom (who would have turned 75 this year) was the flip side of the coin to your mom, Alison.
But more realism about older women has the potential to affect everything from consumer purchases to politics and health care. I guess we have to … what’s the expression … be the change you want to see.
Wow, I’m surprised that you think Prevention is aimed at seniors. I’ve read Prevention since my early 20s and am still reading it decades later. I don’t think it’s aimed at a particular age group. To me it has always been a good source of health and nutrition information. It does seems to be pointed at women, but many of the articles are about human bodies, not women’s bodies. I’ve had several male friends who read it. They just skip the articles that are specific to women.
As a 38-year-old who has given up on fashion/lifestyle magazines in general because they represent such an idealized life that is way out of reach, I would totally read the magazine you describe. I get that fashion and lifestyle mags in particular are supposed to be aspirational, but there’s a fine line between swinging for the fence and aiming for the stars.
Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen says
Michelle Van Ellis says
I get trial magazine subscriptions, unsolicited, all the time. Vogue and Teen Vogue, Cosmo and Cosmo Girl, Parents, Stay at home Mom, etc. When I received MORE several years ago I ended up subscribing for a year but then didn’t continue beyond that. I’m about to turn 50 and Cosmo’s definitely not for me, traditional “women’s” magazines that are still out there, geared toward homemaking and child rearing are also not for me, no children. I think it’s going to be up to the individual to assemble their own magazine. You can do this via flipboard, pocket, email newsletters and subscriptions and even pinterest.
Your ideas are great and if I could get digital content, with a drop and drag UI with the subjects that I want to see in each of my “issues” I think I’d like that best.
You mean like Redbook and Lady’s Home Journal? We are not seeing ourselves anywhere are we?
But I didn’t know you could create your own! Thank you for that idea Michelle!
Ally, you said it, but I might add let’s see some color as in women of color! I got so tired of More not being who I was, and I already feel marginalized in the fashion world. And Essence and Ebony do such a poor job of it. I was just saying the other day I long to start that website and magazine, for all of us older women who don’t have trust funds. Thank you for saying it loud and accurately. Its just one of the many reasons I love your blog.
Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen says
YES! We live in such a diverse world, it’s ridiculous that our media doesn’t represent real life!
I am really sad to see it go as well. I know it wasn’t great of late but it was one magazine that I could turn to repeatedly without having to compare myself to Kylie Jenner or whichever Hadid is modeling that day. So why don’t women over 40, or 35 for that matter cry out for a magazine that reflects our demographic? One of my favorite magazines of the 90s (I think it was the 90s) was the short-lived “Lear.” It was very smart, very stylish, slim for a women’s magazine but full of content. And I think it only survived for a year or two. I don’t know where to look now. Suggestions?
Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen says
I honestly don’t know. I’m over Real Simple, which is doing less with style and life and focusing more on housekeeping and recipes. Redbook feels too… bloggish for me (very surface and noisy). O often gets too self-helpy for me. Bazaar is my favorite fashion magazine of them all, but I even let that subscription lapse. The only magazines I read cover to cover any more are Rolling Stone, Bust, Bitch, and National Geographic.
Fabulous post — spot on with the problem, not just with MORE but the market for over-40 women generally. I will say I subscribe to Real Simple and In Style, and between those two, I think it gets closer at some of what you’re talking about. But nowhere near as on point and great as it could be. I echo the comments — if you decide to go for it and do a Kickstarter, I’m in!
Janice Harper Jones says
Allie, love your ideas. Run with it!
Kathy Frazier says
YOU would be an amazing editor for a magazine based on your ideas and input! Amazing! I’m 55, and just simply stopped buying any magazine – none of them were in any way relevant to my current decade of life. I would stand in line to buy a magazine like the one you are describing. I hope someone reads your blog post, and decides to publish such a magazine! (the little picture is my Mom and I – she would read such a magazine, too!)
Well stated. I was like you an off and on again subscriber. Hopefully, someone will take note of your suggestions, and create a magazine that encompasses the woman that you described in your blog post. I agree with everything you stated, and I hope that magazine comes to light.
Allie, I would read the heck out of a relaunched MORE with you as editor-in-chief!
I purchased exactly one issue of More from the newsstand. I guess I fell for their advertising and thought the magazine would be for me. It wasn’t and I never bought another issue. It was a great disappointment. What a fabulous opportunity lost!
I agree with others here that you could do a super job with a magazine! I’d offer to help fund such a venture if I had any $. I could, however, purchase several subscriptions.
Charlotte Peck says
I completely agree with the other comments-you should start your own magazine. Everything you said was spot on and everything as an on-again, off-again More subscriber that I wanted from that magazine. Great post!
Kathryn Braun Fenner says
Sign me up to subscribe to your magazine! Yes to all this!
Janice Riggs says
Start your own magazine. Seriously. There are a lot of us who would be behind you 100%, and we represent a LOT of our own readers who would be on the bandwagon immediately. Consider it, please.
Kathryn Costa says
I was thinking the same thing!
Sing it sister!
Amen and amen, sister! Well-thought and brilliantly written.
Maybe you should start your own magazine. 🙂
DC Celine says
What she said.
Agree. Start your own magazine, Alison!! 🙂
Agreed! I can help with writing and design!
Hey – let’s start a digital magazine!
Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen says
That sounds like a ton of fun but I don’t have the time with two jobs. I’d have to drop something I have right now, and I can’t drop the 9-5 which pays the bills and provides the insurance and benefits for my family. To do so would mean I would end this blog, and I’m not ready to let go of my baby 🙂
Judy McLane says
Alison, I think you nailed it! I’ve been a subscriber of MORE since they started, and have become increasingly disappointed with the magazine. Instead of poring over its pages, it would take me about 15 minutes to breeze through it because there was usually nothing that caught me and made me want to sit down and take it in. And all the articles about incredible life reinventions, transformations and do-overs made me crazy. How about a little “updating” advice for lives and styles that we’ve worked hard to build and are pretty darn happy with right now? Not that many of us need complete life-transformations. Like you, I am sorry to see them go, but maybe, just maybe someone with your sensibility and great ideas will come along and fill in.
Kathryn Braun Fenner says
They would manage to have one or two articles, often in the back, that caught my attention around the time to renew my subscription, so I would, and then regret it. I was considering cancelling after reading the last issue, but I guess I won’t have to!
I’m still part of the 30-and-under set, but used to find More a really good read – it was a style magazine, sure, but it was also significantly more intelligent, well-read, and interesting than most of the fashion/style magazines I picked up in my mid-twenties. The last five years or so it really, really went downhill. Now, I’m about to turn 30 and More felt too… young to me, in tone. I know they aimed themselves squarely at “wealthy white women in NYC” and that’s part of the problem, but de-ageing their content was a big part of it, too. Older women don’t want to pretend to be 30 again, they want to enjoy being 40, or 50, or 60. The models never seemed to truly represent the variety of women the magazine claimed it wanted to speak to.
A magazine like More could work really well – but More tried too hard to be young like Cosmo, with pricier clothes.
I also think their shift into pricier brands/designers was a problem. Most older women I know, regardless of their income level, are interested in timeless, long-lasting, quality pieces that can represent fashion trends without succumbing to them entirely or going over the top. My mother-in-law, an eminently stylish 62-year-old, even said she gave up on More because it was just “trends, not style.”
Kathryn Braun Fenner says
YES! I am 56, and I want to find brands besides Eileen Fisher that are timeless, well-made and not going to break the bank–that look good on an older body (and fit one that is statistically only slightly larger than average) and I can wear to meetings and look dignified, not frivolous or dowdy.
Susan B. says
Alison, I love your ideas!