The March issue of In Style is a doorstopper, with much of the weight coming from ads and editorial featuring bags. (As in very big, very expensive, Prada-, Gucci-, Hermes-sort of handbags, the kind the Olsen twins often carry when they turn up in photos looking like withered -- but rich! -- miniature bag ladies.)
But as a cruel month, March is known for its lion/lamb issues, and In Style goes to similar extremes: While the issue might be heavy on giant purses, it's also filled with questions from star-struck readers -- and these tend to be lighter than air.
''How do I get my skin to glow like Lindsay Lohan's?'' Katelyn Paquette, of Scottsdale, Ariz., asks.
Is this a set-up, or what? The editors provide a list of products that Ms. Lohan swears by, starting with ''Clarins Energizing Morning Cream," and why harsh their mellow? "Dear Katelyn," I could imagine another sort of editor responding, ''Yes, there is a Lindsay Lohan, and she brought us such joy while starring in 'Herbie Fully Loaded' and 'Freaky Friday' and the 'Parent Trap.' And this Lindsay lives in the hearts of all who want to believe that Clarins Energizing Morning Cream is what gives her skin that amazing glow.''
Meanwhile, Allison Murray of Cincinnati writes, ''Stars are wearing ties on the red carpet. How can I pull this look off?''
Jesus, these In Style editorial-type question-answering people have patience. "Recreate this trend as Gwen Stefani does,'' they say. ''Layer a bold gold necklace over a skinny tie." My answer would be a bit less polite. "Allison, if you attempt to pull off this look, you will appear to be an idiot, not to mention, a problematic cater-waiter or a refugee from Amber the stripper's 'All That Jazz/Down and Dirty' routine. My advice would be to stay away from the ties at all costs.''
Moving on from the mail, we get a perhaps-too-thoughtful profile of Sandra Bullock, who tends to talk a lot about her warring male and female sides. (I hear a lot of this from women searching for the proper way to wear neckties - as well as denim overalls, which another reader asks about later in the issue. "I enjoy putting on my ridiculously expensive dress and my Christian Louboutin heels -- putting on the girl -- and then feeling comfortable when I go home and am able to deal with other stuff,'' Bullock tells interviewer Phoebe Eaton. Later we hear that by ''other stuff'' she means that in an emergency, she could install a toilet. ''It's all about the wax ring,'' she says.
And who are we to question that?
Leaving the plunger behind, the magazine provides quite a nice spread on cheap-chic-type jewelry -- rings, necklaces and (non-wax) earrings. The editors are great at showing how to put together a look -- in many iterations. And the section called ''Fashion 101'' (which includes more reader questions!) provides everything we need to know about trench coats. We also get the down-low on peep-toe flats.
For awesome amounts of annoyance, try the profile of Maria Menounos (she of "Access Hollywood" fame), at home in her L.A. mansion. She keeps a pair of worn-out shoes that her immigrant father wore as a boy out in the living room, as a ''nod to her past struggles'' but obviously, she struggles no more! While showing off a shoe closet to rival a certain Filipina strongwoman's and a residence fit for an old-time Hollywood studio head, she explains, ''I always said I wanted a house with white columns that looked like the White House. It's so weird how that happened!'' Yes, and it makes me want to write the magazine and ask, ''How do I get the special glow of a mansion like Maria Menounos'?''
The final page offers ''Rose McGowan's Guilty Pleasures.''
''There's a massive misconception about me'' she says. Oh, yes? Perhaps that she invented Saran Wrap, or cold fusion, or singlehandedly helped refugees leave the Sudan? Uh, not so much. ''Makeup companies send me red lipstick,'' she says, ''But I wear pink -- that's my color. I mean, that kind of says it all.''
Yup, that and the wax ring.