An education

I’ve been counting down the days until fall—I know the official ushering in of the season is still a few weeks away and the nippy, autumnal weather even further down the calendar.

But I’m ready. Oh-so ready to say goodbye to the heat and hello to cooler temperature—and the new wardrobe that comes with it.

Since childhood, September has meant back to school for me, which, in turn, means the assembling of a carefully curated fall wardrobe.

Of course, at this point, I’m several decades removed from the corduroy pinafores, knee socks and oxfords of my elementary-school days, but this year’s bumper crop of fashion magazines is still giving me quite the education.

Indeed, it seems that everything important I need to know in life I’ve learned from a fashion magazine.

Even though I can’t afford most of the clothes they’re selling (nor would want to pay the exorbitant prices even if I had the means), it’s still entertaining to flip through them for amusement and inspiration—never mind that my own seasonal switch-up only involves trading T-shirts for hoodies and flip-flops for boots.

So, on a whim, I purchased the September issue of Vogue. The mag, featuring Halle Berry on the front, covers 726 pages, weighs 3.6 pounds and caused my husband to make the kind of face that makes me embarrassed to be a girl.

I tried to tell him that its existence in our house—along with hefty copies of Elle and Marie Claire—is purely educational.

Lesson 1: Everything old is new again—and infinitely more expensive than it was the first time.

Remember when you sported ratty thrift-store flannels and Doc Martens and drove around listening to Nevermind on the CD player you hooked up to the tape deck in your Dodge Neon?

Well, you’ll have to shell out more than $2,000 to recreate that look (the nubby tan sweater alone will set you back $1,095). Keep an eye out for updated versions of the stirrup pants, floral baby-doll dresses, backpack purses and full-length overalls and try to not cry because, a) you already gave the originals to Goodwill, and b) good lord, who the hell sanctioned the return of such fug, anyway?

Lesson 2: You will always be fat; size four is considered a plus size; Kate Moss is the ideal standard and why don’t you just give up already, because even if you could afford our clothes, you’d look like hell in them, anyway.

Lesson 3: Jeggings is a word. No really. Say it out loud. Explain it to your friends (jeans plus leggings equals jeggings) and try not to feel hot with shame that you actually know and understand this word.

Lesson 4: It’s OK to wear fur again! Really—the animals don’t mind.

Lesson 5: Smiling is passé. Please, stop showing your teeth already.

Lesson 6: Shootie is also a word. Practice rolling your eyes when you explain to someone that it means a ”boot/shoe combo.”

Lesson 7: Leather pants? Totally work-appropriate.

Lesson 8: Anything Mary-Kate Olsen does is golden.

Lesson 9: Unless you are an Olsen twin, your lack of height is an affliction—a disability that threatens to strip a woman of her “emotional power.” The only suitable remedy of course is a pair of towering high heels.

Lesson 10: Don’t listen to Ben Bernanke or Wall Street—the recession is over (see also lesson 1). A custom-made Ralph Lauren suit starts at $5,800 and represents a “challenge” about “learning to think about one’s wardrobe in the long term.”

Or, think of it this way: That suit should keep you warm long after you’ve foreclosed on your home.