Madison fashion: Remember these looks?
Styles changed by the decade
Like most fashion trends, the style pages in Madison Magazine changed by the decade.
Sweatbands, hooded capes and sequined crop jackets — you all sound so wrong, but looking back at you in our ’80s fashion spreads, you seem so right. Along with cars, says co-founder Gail Selk, fashion was the bread and butter of advertising for the magazine in the 1980s. Which explains why spring, summer and fall fashion features graced the covers so frequently throughout the decade. Looking back, one of our favorites is the March 1981 cover depicting three fashionable women striking serious poses in front of a firetruck and firefighters in full gear. Trends so hot they were on fire? Public servant chic? We’re not sure.
Large fashion features continued into the early 1990s, but they were nothing like the themed shoots from the decade before. “I probably didn’t pay enough attention to [fashion] as I should have,” says former editor Doug Moe. We get it, Doug. You’re not exactly what we’d call a fashionista. The April 1990 spread below (in all of its ’90s pastel perfection) featured styles for the entire family. Mom, Dad, brother and sister wore outfits — from loungewear to church attire — that could be found at Madison retailers. By 1997, the magazine stopped featuring season style guides and fashion coverage dramatically decreased.
Style editor Shayna Mace (then Miller) resurrected fashion and style coverage in the mid-2000s with her column, “Window Shopping.” Most of her columns featured photos of Madison-area stores along with information about available items, prices and the shops’ owners. The magazine often featured an article called “Style Sheet” that showed trendy items based on a certain theme, like luxe jewelry or summer picnics.
Style and fashion coverage remained a crucial part of the magazine’s content in the early 2010s. Large fashion spreads reappeared, and more coverage went to stylish Madisonians. Unlike the off-the-wall themed spreads from the ’80s, Pattern Play from May 2015 showed new spring styles with backgrounds that made the clothes and accessories pop.
Shayna Mace was not originally hired to do fashion or style writing for the magazine, but the shoe fit for her to become our resident style guru for nearly 13 years.
Starting as an intern in December 2003, she transitioned to assistant editor in 2004 and later became style editor. Mace says she pitched to then-editor Brennan Nardi the idea to start a retail column to add consistent coverage of fashion and style to the magazine.
“My goal was always to make Madison Magazine the go-to source for fashion and style and push the boundaries of what could be done and shown in a midsized Midwestern city,” Mace says.
Along with coordinating fashion shoots, Mace added “Style Sheet” to the magazine, a one-page spread on trends. The “Window Shopping” column, which was renamed “Stylist” in June 2016, was Mace’s project until she stopped writing for us in 2017. Madison Magazine’s sister company WISC-TV also ran segments featuring Mace as its style expert, asking her to comment on celebrity awards season hits and misses as well as share local fashion tips, trends and merchandise.
“I’m still proud of all of the spreads we’ve done looking back,” Mace says. “We certainly didn’t have a Vogue budget, so to me, the work we did – with not much money, very few people working on it and just a vision – was very cool.”
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