December 12, 2008  ·  culture  ·  style

Gents' Magazines for Hunter-Gatherers

As far as we're concerned, the primary purpose of mens' magazines is to help us assess new stuff and make purchasing decisions. One of the main reasons Unrefinery exists is that we think, overall, they don't do a very good job of this. So we decided to crunch the numbers. To create our Unrefinery Buying Index (UBI), we awarded points for the number of pages in each magazine dedicated to reviewing products. Then we charitably added 1/2 point for each page in which products worn by an article subject were identified and/or priced. Adjustments were further made based on density of product per page. Here's the scoreboard.

Esquire | UBI 20.0
We didn't deduct points for having drillhole Vince Vaughn on the cover of the issue we evaluated; this was their score fair and square. In their defense, Esquire does offer a consistently high quality of writing. Their articles are actually informative and readable. But the magazine won't help you dress better.

Men's Vogue | UBI 24.5
As previously mentioned, MV is cutting back to twice a year, and we can see why. You really have to pore over each issue carefully to find anything that will actually help a gent evaluate and acquire apparel or gear. The voluminous ads are generally more useful than the articles.

Complex | UBI 31.5
Our clear winner in breadth of product, sort of a "Consumer Reports" for stuff gents might buy. The writing in Complex is a bit stilted, lots of forced references to sneakers as "kicks" and the occasional "peep this". Frankly it comes across as a bit of founder Mark Ecko in blackface. But it has succeeded where competitors like Cargo failed, and as a buyer's guide, the magazine is second to none.

Note: We omitted GQ this time around as it didn't place in the top 3. (We'll do this again.) And DETAILS was disqualified on the basis of its utter suckage.

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