Verily is very WONDERFUL.
Magazines are my very favorite indulgence. I usually only pick up a Marie Claire or Elle* on the rare occasion I need to reach a dollar amount for a grocery or CVS coupon or am taking a plane trip and want to settle in and escape.
This past week I had the chance to settle in and escape, right from my very couch, into Verily.
The cover girl: This first print issue and the preview issue depict a beautiful woman in a pleasant setting. It is fresh and feminine, without being stereotypical. What I love most is how the cover plays against the trope of typical women’s mag covers. Instead of depicting a celebrity in expensive clothes as the image of a woman the reader is supposed to fantasize being, Verily’s “cover girl” is recognition of the woman you already are. Rather than validating feelings of self-loathing (“I wish I had Christina Hendricks’ curves”; “I wish I had the budget for that cocktail dress;” “Maybe one day I’ll have Keira Knightley’s flawless skin, but right now my imperfections can’t compare.”), Verily validates your dignity as a human person (“She looks like me—and she’s also confident, warm, like she’s a good listener over a cup of coffee, like she’s interesting: I love riding my bike in the city, too!”) The woman I find in these pages is not going to teach me how to be some man’s ideal of a sex object, but a true friend.
The cover lines: Minimalistic and unobtrusive. I like that there is nothing screaming at me, but they do catch my attention with their content. They also tell me what the magazine is about and set the tone:
“One-Piece WOnders: Fun and Flattering Swimwear” (fashion); “Can Men and Women Be ‘Just Friends’?” (relationships); “Bare-Faced Beauty: Natural Makeup How-to” (beauty); “Prehistoric Dining: Flavorful and Healthy Paleo Recipes” (food & trend); and “Survivors Speak Out: Sex-Trafficking in America” (current event/issue of womanly concern).”
Each one of these appeals to a modern woman without sexualizing her, condescending to her, or ignoring her dignity by focusing on what she can do for a man, not herself.
Overall Interior Design: Clean, fresh, contemporary. Like Real Simple or Martha Stewart Living. It BREATHES. The white space gives the reader space to insert herself into the pages, and to breathe as well. So often lady mags can be full of graphics and gizmos that clutter the page and mirror our cluttered brains. I like that this mag is chill, not glib.
Style (fashion, beauty, accessories, etc.); Relationships (with men at any stage; with female friends; advice; weddings; co-workers, etc.); Culture (books, shows, movies, music, etc.); Lifestyle (news, social issues, food, drink, living, home, physical fitness, work, money)
Editorial Voice: Like your best friend, but not so casual that it sounds sloppy–like she’s had too much white zinfandel. Warm, inviting, affirming. Doesn’t try too hard to be trendy. Witty and intelligent.
Constructive Criticisms: This magazine is brand new, so I understand that there be kinks to work out. With the beautiful spreads of companies that produce accessories and cosmetics to benefit charitable organizations, I would have liked to see direct Web site listings in the blurbs to reduce the amount of time it takes me to go shopping. 🙂 Sometimes the light, airiness made elements disappear. For example, the nail polish page looked almost like an abstract art advertisement, and the faint green text was not readable in gray light. No woman was overweight.
What I Especially Loved: The first fashion piece “Runway to Realway” was all about affordable options for stylish clothes. Only accessories (one bracelet and one clutch out of three looks) went for more than $100. Plus, the models were real women, not professionals, and had REAL figures. The blurbs also explained how the outfits worked for each woman. Throughout the magazine, I don’t think I saw any signs of airbrushing. For the first-date-outfit feature, they said to think twice before reaching for a style that shows skin!!!! The rest of the relationship articles affirmed marriage. The Girls’ Night Out tips were incredibly fun sounding, if a little more for the under-30 set. The features respect that women have brains and want to read things that are interesting and thought-provoking, not just cotton-candy fluff pieces.
*These two mags have the least percentage of offensive material, compared to others. Cosmo and Glamour, I’m talking about you. Your presentation of the female human person has lost me as a reader from back in the know-little college days).