I had this one in the hopper ages ago but kept forgetting about it, which ended up okay because InStyle served up another one in a similar vein. So, let us begin with Gwyneth on the October 2012 cover.
First, a detour, because you know we love cover lines. And this time, my favorite is the arbitrary italics on “15 Magic Pieces To Rework Your Wardrobe,” as if they were absolutely desperate to differentiate this from a competing piece called, “15 Magic Pieces To Rework Your Mother-In-Law’s Wardrobe,” which I believe led off Gentle Masochism magazine’s October issue. Also, aren’t stylists out of best-kept secrets at this point? Is that really an endlessly self-refreshing well? Honest question.
But what I really think when I look at this cover is: Janice Dickinson. Because on Top Model, Janice used to complain when the girls would pose like this, as she firmly and correctly believed that armpits are not attractive. And it’s true. Gwyneth is pretty; armpits are not. Even hers. This whole pose feels easy-breezy-CoverGirl in a way that Gwyneth herself really is not. And I don’t think InStyle’s readers particularly want her to be. Put her in this pose wearing a pair of Levi’s and a t-shirt, and it’s Good Housekeeping. Which is perfectly fine. But commercial, cheerful, sunshiney, regular-girl Gwyneth doesn’t feel like a fit with InStyle. Sure, it’s not Vogue, but neither is it a place you go for relatability. So while GOOP herself looks lovely, it’s just… strange. And pitty. Pits are for peaches, girl.
InStyle apparently really likes them, though. Here is November’s issue:
Okay, so this one isn’t overtly Pit Central. But it’s definitely adjacent. It lives in a suburb of Pitsburgh. And I think this cover, overall, is worse because the pose itself is ridiculously awkward. Nobody stands like this. Clearly they had Halle leaning on something that later got erased, but without the object, it makes no sense. Have you ever in your life walked by anyone, in repose or otherwise, cocking his or her body at this angle, with the arms arranged thusly? She’s like a freeze-frame at the end of an old ’80s sitcom — I can hear the studio audience clapping — or perhaps that moment in Dirty Dancing when Baby skips the lift in their mambo and improvises by doing some weird herky-jerky nonsense with her thumbs. Halle Berry is the last person I think of when the words “herky-jerky” ooze out of my poisoned fingertips. Or at least, she was. Now she just reminds me of someone at a party who’s trying really hard to air out her pits without actively fanning them.
And let’s not forget, it forces them to cut out both her elbows. Scandal: InStyle is an anti-elbowite. You heard it here first.
May we conclude by celebrating that in NEITHER instance did I resort to, “This cover is the pits,” nor a joke about Gwynnie going from the future Mrs. Pitt to the current Ms. Pit? I’m so proud of me.