Few leisure activities are as pleasurable or informative as flipping through old magazines. They offer a window into the past, transporting us back to eras we knew as children or that we never lived through but can via the magic of the magazine. In many cases, magazine covers alone are enough to trip us back through them, offering often provocative glimpses of the fads of the day and the local and global concerns that shaped people’s lives.
With that in mind, let’s take a brief stroll through the decades in magazine covers, starting sixty-odd years ago in the mid-twentieth century, on up to the recent past, the first two decades of this century. These selections are not meant to be wholly representative of their eras; they’re just fantastic covers that I felt were worth sharing. That said, I’m pretty sure each one does say an awful lot about the decade in which it was produced. I steered clear of political imagery, mostly because I’m utterly exhausted by the politicized world we live in at this point. Also, a quick aside: I worked at WaldenBooks in the 1990s when that Cindy Crawford and KD Lang Vanity Fair hit the shelves and I still remember how transgressive it felt for that time. It probably seems tame now, but then it was positively momentous.