Sunday, June 29, 2014

My First Teen Vogue

6:35 AM

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Do you remember the first time you were introduced to the field you would later on fall in love with? Some people remember their first trip to the zoo or the first time they picked up a basketball – I remember my first fashion magazine. Fashion and style have always been a part of my life; as a toddler in nursery school, I would pick my own outfits and only wore dresses – but there’s another momentous fashion-related “first” I remember to this day: In June 2007, I bought my very first copy of Teen Vogue.

It was actually my very first fashion magazine, period. I was twelve. Mostly, what attracted me to it was the cover – Teen Vogue’s cover stars that month were Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson, and since the age of seven I had been a huge Harry Potter fan (still am now!). Although I had always been interested in fashion, Teen Vogue introduced me to the world of high fashion - designer brands, with the kinds of accessories, clothes, and shoes I could only dream of owning. At an age when most of my clothes were either hand-me-downs or from the kids’ section of Gap, this magazine was like an escape for me. It whisked me away to a glamorous world and eventually, without my realizing it, influenced the way I dress and view fashion and fashion media today. From that first copy on, I was hooked. I would save up and every couple of months, buy a new copy of Teen Vogue from the first bookstore or newsstand I would see. I now have a whole shelf filled with editions of Teen Vogue from my early teens, but the very first copy I bought is still my favorite. As most things go, you never forget the first time.

Looking back at the issue seven years later, I’m surprised to find how much that June/July 2007 issue of Teen Vogue has influenced the way I dress, despite how dated the issue now seems. There’s a photo of Lydia Hearst wearing a casual cotton shift dress, with the words “EAT OR DIE” imprinted on it in bold lettering, wearing sheer brown stockings and brown leather heels. The sexy, casual, yet also bold street fashion look is one I’ve tried to emulate, both successfully and unsuccessfully, over the years. It’s usually either hot or raining in Manila, but I am a huge fan of sheer, dark-colored stockings and I wear them whenever I can. It’s funny to think that it all started here. 

On another page is a Dooney & Bourke ad of Emma Roberts in a white tank, a huge, brightly colored tote bag dangling off her shoulder. I remember what it was like for twelve-year-old me, in the days when I still wanted to be Emma Roberts, staring at that ad and wishing I could be her. It’s funny because without my realizing it, that look is something like a default outfit for me now. Whenever I’m plagued with “Outfit Block” or cursed with a horribly blah ensemble, I just reach for one of my brightly colored or “statement” handbags and suddenly I look decent! I like the tank top and fancy large handbag look because it’s casual but elegant - laid-back enough to be street fashion but also polished enough so that I can walk into a restaurant and not feel underdressed.

This issue also introduced me to vintage fashion, especially icons of the 60s. Agyness Deyn and Henry Holland, icons of the House of Holland fashion line and statement tees (remember when those were in?), were also featured heavily in the article. I wasn’t particularly influenced by them per se, but there were a couple of comparisons between them and Andy Warhol and his muse, Edie Sedgwick.

I absolutely love Edie Sedgwick’s style, and ever since, I’ve had this fascination for Andy Warhol’s art - the Factory scene that surrounded him, and that whole 60s pop culture society underground movement that he began. Looking them up on Google led me to a whole world of 60’s fashion icons: Audrey Hepburn (who is now, hands down, my #1 idol and life peg of all time), Anna Karina, Jane Birkin, Jackie O, Marianne Faithfull, and Brigitte Bardot, to name a few.

Brigitte Bardot was in this issue, too! There was an article on Chanel’s classic ballet flats and she was one of the many flat-shoes-wearing women the article mentioned, but she stood out for me because of the style and allure that she seemed to bring along with the way she carried herself. There was one line in that article that struck the very insecure tween-aged me: “(Chanel’s) ballerina-inspired shoe featured a beige base and black toe to create the illusion of a longer leg and shorter foot. It was as chic as it was groundbreaking.” Chic and groundbreaking indeed. I had been insecure of my height and of my legs,and finding out that I could sort of optical-illusion my way out of this insecurity through fashion was groundbreaking indeed. Needless to say, a constant fashion staple in my wardrobe to this day is a pair of beige ballet flats with black toes.

My love for the carefree mix of high street, designer fashion, and vintage wear also began with this issue - particularly with the article on Kate Moss. Looking back, it was probably little more than a promotional piece for Kate Moss’s then-new collaboration with Topshop, but I was seeing her outfits for the first time and so I fell in love with the way she dressed. So effortless, so chic! It’s something that I try to mimic nowadays when I dress up to go out. At my sister’s birthday dinner, I wore my mom’s black thermal camisole (because the fabric was thin and clingy, which I liked), black Sinequanone evening pants with colored paisley print (they were handed down twice before they got to me, but I love them!), brown wedges from Aldo, and a bunch of other accessories I got from various places. All in the spirit of Kate Moss and her effortless throwing together of random cute pieces! That is not, of course, to say that I have reached her level of style – it’s pretty hard to do justice to Kate Moss – but this issue of Teen Vogue did introduce me to her as a style icon, and she has been one for me ever since.

There are countless of other items in this issue, of course, that have influenced me in a number of ways: an article about beauty standards in the fashion industry, a snapshot of Keira Knightley in a red gingham dress and a fedora hat, a fashion editorial called “Pretty Persuasion” where the model wore, in several photographs, sneakers and casual sundresses , Mary Elizabeth Winstead in a yellow cocktail dress, an editorial on structured leather handbags, even a feature on denim skirts where it was the model’s drape-y gray top that interested me more than her denim skirt.

There’s just something about that June/July 2007 Teen Vogue that will always have a place in my heart. It was a very memorable “first” for me, a very “kikay,” style-conscious girl who also loves to write. There was something so esoteric about the subjects and the people the magazine featured. I could barely understand any of it – “Who is Brigitte Bardot?” I remember thinking to myself, yet everything seemed to sparkle in front of me. My confusion led me to research and that was how I came to learn about important figures in fashion and its timeless style icons. Teen Vogue didn’t just introduce me to fashion. It gave an insecure, dorky kid a chance to live vicariously through the beautiful models and actresses it featured on its pages until later on, I stepped out of my dorky shell and used the fashion tips Teen Vogue gave out to mold myself. Discovering my own personal style and dressing the way I wanted to, later on gave me a newfound confidence, so that I no longer had the need to live vicariously through the beautiful women of Teen Vogue – I was happy just being me. I don’t read Teen Vogue anymore, but when I flip through the pages of my old issues, I do so with fondness, remembering the wistful, childishly dressed girl who bought them in the first place.

Image sources:
emma roberts dooney and bourke:
agyness deyn and henry holland:
andy warhol and edie sedgwick:
brigitte bardot:
chanel flats: 
teen vogue pretty persuasion editorial:

Article by Monica
Art by Isa
Monica grew up in Manila and is currently a college student majoring in Creative Writing. Her favorite food in the world is chocolate, but bacon is a close second. She loves fashion, art, travel, old TV shows, films, and music. She is also a singer-songwriter. You can check out her music at :)

Isa is 18 years old, currently studying graphic design and illustration. She is known for her erratic sleeping schedule and over usage of exclamation points and smiley faces so she doesn't sound mean on the Internet.


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