Blast from the Past: Allure Magazine 1998

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Every time I go to visit my mom, I try to grab a few of my possessions. I'm 37, I think it's crazy I still have sorority composite photos and high school text books at her house. So I go and either tell her something can be donated, or I take it home. On my last visit, I found this:

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Near-perfect condition, stuck between two college text books in a bookcase. This did NOT get donated, I totally plan to stow it away somewhere and give it to Emerson when she's 18. It would be so entertaining then… but it's even darn entertaining now.

So entertaining, I just had to take terrible pictures with my iPhone and share them with you.

August 1998, I had finished college and was working as an Assistant Manager at Express.  My father had passed away earlier that year, and I was living in a spacious yet sketchy apartment with my sister.  My haircut was “The Rachel,” 75% of my wardrobe was plum (the rest was black), and one of my favorite lipsticks was Revlon's “Toast of New York” and some brownish-plum shade from L'Oreal.

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From these pages of Allure, it looks as though I was very on trend.  I didn't even realize at the time how… dark makeup was at that time.

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Look how young Catherine Zeta-Jones looks! I remember reading this article on her, finding her so pretty and unique looking it made me want to go see The Mask of  Zorro (a movie I still love – just caught it on cable the other week!).

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I had a black pair of slides like this and felt they were very chic and “timeless.”  They seemed the perfect shoe for menswear-inspired trousers.  And speaking of which:

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Is that Tatjana Patitz?  Any model from George Michael's “Freedom” video is '90s fabulousness in my book.  The ankle tattoo is also very 1990s.

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Wow look at all those celebrity couples who are still going strong…

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1998 fashion – tips on stylish cargo pants (and who else had a faux fur bag a la Gucci?).

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Still one of my favorite parts of Allure magazine – asking celebs the same question.  I love the combo of celebrities – such a snapshot of that year!

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Check out all that brown lipstick!  And Elizabeth Berkley's dress?  I wore a similar one to a sorority formal a year or so prior.  Have to say it's not one of the pieces I am storing in my attic for the future…

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Though Stephanie Seymour, the former Axl Rose Arm Candy was on the cover, Lara Flynn Boyle was the feature interview in this issue.  Remember when she was the It Girl of the red carpets?

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Oh Amanda Woodward, you had such covetable hair.

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This ad is more awesome when you realize Christy Turlington is again a spokesmodel for Maybelline.

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The biggest shocker to me were all the cigarette ads in Allure – there had to be a good dozen of them.  You never see that these days!

Do you remember 1998 beauty and fashion?  And how do you think we'll look back at 2012 fashion and cosmetic trends come 2026?

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  1. Thank you so much for posting this. If only magazines were half as good as they were back then. My parents had a clean out and my old magazines were carted off to the recycling centre (the horror!). I love 90s fashion and I’m glad to see that it’s making a comeback.

  2.  Allie,

    Probably no one else will be interested in what I have to say, but I think you will.

    I’m giving my age away here, but what the hell. It’s not like anyone here is going to offer me a job, or even takes me seriously.

    Once upon a time I was very interested in fashion and makeup. But not so much for me as for the people I shot pictures of. I was going to photography school. I think a lot of us in photography school were strongly influenced my the movie “Blowup”. Blowup’s main character was a fashion photographer. The movie included the then famous 6’3″ model Veruschka.

    I think my classmates had fantasies of shooting Vogue covers,  working with beautiful models, and traveling to exotic locations for shoots. My classmates, who were poor, as I was, had no idea about business or the real world realities of fashion photography. I was only 19 but I had quit high school at 16 to work full time and support my mother. I already had been in the working world several years and had acquired my (early) share of hard knocks. I knew there would probably be no Vogue covers or National Geographic in my near future, if at all.

    At that time, I was the only girl in my school studying to be a professional photographer. I suppose I did have one advantage in that I was better at dressing and doing makeup on the models than the guys were. I could have done a little modeling myself, at least in class.I am reasonably tall and then I was thin from ridiculous starvation dieting. I was constantly asked to but my preference always has been in back of the camera.

    So, in those days I paid a lot of attention to fashion magazines. My very favorite fashion model was Jean Shrimpton. Actually, she is my favorite model of all times. She had the most beautiful face and grace. Twiggy was very popular at the same time, but I never did care much for her. Ask your Mom about Shrimpton, Twiggy, and Blowup. She’ll know what I’m talking about.


  3. I started subscribing to Vogue in 1997, when I was a freshman in high school, and this brings back such lovely memories!  I stumbled upon a collection of old Vogue issues circa 1997-98 a few years ago and was surprised to find how much I remembered.

  4. Ah, those were the days… I do miss darker lipstick, actually. Plum and some of those taupe-y browns suited me!

    I love looking at old fashion mags to see what’s changed and what’s truely ‘timeless’. I realised pretty early on that there are ongoing trends like every summer they do a feature about wearing white from head to toe and each winter there’s a ‘gothic’ style fashion spread. The details change, but over all look is similar.

  5. Let’s see in August 1998 I would have been living in Chattanooga, TN working at my first job designing low-mid-end residential upholstery fabrics.  I love looking through old magazines – I actually still have that Tatjana Patitz editorial page in one of my (many, many) inspiration notebooks and I remember being obsessed with sthose Louis Vuitton slides, oh I lusted after a pair.  Still do.   This was a great post! 

  6. Oh yes, Wet n Wild’s 666 was very close to MAC’s Spice liner and toted by Allure and other mags as a cheap alternative and a “classic” color.

    Who else had those Steve Madden platform slides? Big, black, bulky and a “classic” that went with everything? I can recall going to an Express corporate meeting and there had to be at least a dozen of us women all in the same shoe.

  7. This is too awesome!  I was 15 in 1998 and just getting into make-up.  I definitely had the Plushed Plum lipstick!  I also did a lot of creepy nude lips–this matte nude color that literally made your lips the color of the rest of your face.  So, so bad.  Does anyone else remember Wet and Wild lip liner in color “666”?  It was pretty dark, and I went through it like crazy.  I only remember the color because…well…the number is self-explanatory.  I also wore a lot of spaghetti straps with bras that had CLEAR STRAPS.  Don’t judge…I was 15.  

    Also, my mom bought me a pair of those ubiquitous black slides to wear with dress clothes.  I hated them and just wore my Doc Martens with everything.  I remember she had three pairs of them and thought they were just as timeless.  

  8. This is so awesome! Think of what it will look like to your daughter when she’s 18. Although, who knows… by then it might be cool again. I also rocked the plush plum and only wore grey and black.

  9. I wore Vixen too.  And the matching lipstick!  

    Ah, 1998.  I was in my second year at university.  I’m going to go and dig out some photos and have a laugh

  10. 1998 and I was just graduating high school… I remember everything was about spaghetti straps, which was a complete 180 from all the baggy jeans and flannel of a few years prior. All the girls wore camis as tops and all the formal gowns were spaghetti strap. My busty self was very depressed about this trend because I had needed a nice, supportive bra since the time I was 13.

    I still think the cover is pretty timeless, and her darker coloring can pull off the brown lipstick without looking too dated. But damn… those are some ugly shoes on the flats spread!

  11. Weird… I’m only a few years older than you (41) but I feel like I fell into some kind of time warp… stopped looking at fashion magazines circa 1990 (when I was 19, and pretty much a hippie kid for a while…) until about four years ago.
    My take-away?
    It’s all fun, silly, and only worth worrying about as much as you want to! 🙂

  12. I’m pretty sure I bought that issue when it came out. I, too, had forgotten about all that brown lipstick. Thanks for the blast from the past, most entertaining!

  13. So fun!!!! I loved the brown lipstick fads- I had several from Revlon, but sadly I can’t remember the names. However, I will NEVER forget how badly I wanted Chanel Vamp nail polish! Of course I was a junior in high school so I couldn’t buy it, but I could buy Revlon Vixen. I wore it ALL the time and thought I was soooo edgy!

  14. Oh my goodness! What a fun trip down memory lane! I’m surprised at how dated some of it looks, because I actually don’t feel like it’s that long ago….and at the same time, some of those things look like another lifetime! (brown lipstick anyone?)

  15. Love this!  I love looking at ads and magazine editorial just to see how fashion and beauty have evolved.. (I have a couple of shelves in my library devoted to September Vogues going back to 1980.)  There are a few pieces in “The Cool War” spread that could be worked into outfits today. I myself would wear those pointy boots and carry that Costume National bag!  Thanks for sharing your blast from the past! 

  16. OMG – I had that Revlon Plushed Plum lipstick and I’m wearing it and pale make up on my university id card. Along with the hairdo from the cover – I look like a vampire!

  17. This made me laugh! I was a sophomore in college in 1998. I remember the makeup being very dark! Thank goodness the shoes have changed since then!

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