They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but that’s entirely untrue when it comes to magazines. That’s why each month, we’ll dissect covers far and wide using our patented Anna Wintour rating system.
It may be too late for the editors to heed our advice, but there’s always next month.
It’s October, and we’ve just come off a slew of huge September issues. This month, we see the usual influence of fall television, a few early nods to the Oscars and one milestone 1,000th-issue cover without a face on it.
And remember the old fashion editor axiom: If you put someone smiling on your cover, you’ll both turn into pumpkins!
You might be able to be basic and a badass, Lauren Conrad, but definitely not both at the same time while wearing that nightie. Also, aren’t all basic badasses required to be drinking PSLs in October? Tsk tsk.
In the spirit of Halloween and football season we ask, “How many different images did they Photoshop together to achieve this quarterback aesthetic?” Was Caroline giving better face before or after they made her left arm/hand do that?
Again with the weird anniversary choices (see next cover). Either do something special or don’t point it out. Nothing joyful about this cover. Nothing. Look, two of the cover models are trying to flee the shoot! (And take that purple nameplate with you!)
You’d think you’d want a man on the cover of the 1,000th issue of Esquire. (Jon Hamm would have done nicely, Emmy win or not.) In another thousand issues, this one surely won’t make the list of best Esquire covers of all time. That said, Esquire’s covers are usually a mess of MAN teases, so this is a nice respite.
Selena Gomez just can’t catch a break. No one told her Gigi Hadid’s W cover last month turned out so well.
(Could be more but WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT, SELENA?)
What’s the difference between this photo of Anne Hathaway and any photos of a wet Komondor? Thousands of dollars of styling and good makeup.
Taraji’s cover takes the cookie of Glamour’s trio cover stars this month. Gina Rodriguez, you can touch your mouth, but not while it’s open. And damn, why’d Emma Roberts get the best dress?
David Gandy could get handy with us. Sam Smith is on another of their “Men of the Year” covers, but for our purposes: David Gandy.
The ’90s are so back that SJP has bangs on the cover of a magazine, and Sex and the City is free to stream for Amazon Prime subscribers.
Harper’s Bazaar UK
Do yourself a favor: When you feel tempted to share that Labor Day meme from Serial Mom again next September, share this cover with Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery, instead. That way people won’t unfollow you on Facebook.
Harper's Bazaar UK
Congratulations—it’s hard to make Sofia look so boring.
If Vogue hadn’t put Lupita on the cover and W hadn’t raised our alert level with Claire, Sienna could’ve won the month with his one. Also, she has been starting over for YEARS. Get a new shtick, girl.
O, The Oprah Magazine
Do as Oprah says, not as Oprah does (or dresses). And follow her on Instagram if you don’t already because it is marvelous.
O, The Oprah Magazine
This is simply an honorable mention because the only way to make us more excited for Freeheld was to shoot this cover. A photo composed like this would never be on Vogue, but still. Flawless.
I accidentally typed “Claire Danes” first instead of “W Magazine” because hers is clearly the winner of the mag’s New Royals covers. (Also featured in the issue: An uncomfortable-looking Allison Williams and a shirtless Adam Driver.) This Inez and Vinoodh portrait is the exact mood of late September/early October.
VF’s been doing a good job of keeping dead white woman off the cover recently (Sorry Liz, Sorry Di, Sorry Jackie), which is the reason I finally resubscribed. But here, Maybe Mark could have been doing something a little more, I dunno, antiestablishment? Like Snapchatting?
I hate to second guess Anna, but that September Beyonce cover was clearly just a warmup to this. Yes, Queen Bey may perform miracles for newsstand sales, but she couldn’t even give the magazine an interview. Lupita, meanwhile, answered 73 questions. Don’t underestimate the power of the Force, Anna.
Spreading Taylor’s #girlsquad message far and wide is easy when you’re Karlie. (To Tim Cook: What, no new Apple Watch with Hermes band? Hmm.)