Master of Science (MS)


Human Ecology

Document Type



Fashion magazines are the most accessible source for women to learn the latest about fashion and trends. Publishing company Condé Nast owns many consumer fashion magazines including the American editions of Lucky and Vogue. Even though both magazines are classified under the genre of fashion, these magazines are branded differently. Vogue features editorial styling, which is garments arranged lavishly and creatively for the glossy fashion spreads. However, Lucky magazine contains both editorial and lifestyle styling. To reinforce the styled image, fashion magazines place captions in these editorials. Captions transform these garments into written language. Since each magazine uses different types of styling, editors are writing captions in different formats. The purpose of the study is to investigate the stylistic similarities and differences of fashion captions in Lucky and Vogue. Additionally, semantic-syntax tree diagrams were used to determine how the fashion captions communicate meaning. This study followed a mixed methods approach using a purposive sample (n=14). The March and September issues were examined from 2010-2013. Data results show magazines are written primarily in grammatical modifiers. Different from prior research, nouns were the largest category, and adjectives composed the second largest category. Some captions did not have verbs resulting in mainly a descriptive narrative. Each magazine differed in the types of verbs used, frequency of proper nouns, and types of prepositions. Furthermore, when editors are not telling a ‘fashion story’, then captions are written as imperative commands. When telling a ‘fashion story’, the garment is often personified to take on human characteristics or described as possessing certain characteristics. Both magazines use these writing styles to convey different ideas and content to the reader. The results of this study strengthened the belief that a distinct stylistic form of writing exists in fashion captions. From this study, fashion editors and scholars may become more aware of the current stylistic formations featured in fashion captions, and further enhance their knowledge of how to communicate editorial trends and themes to their intended audience.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Hegarty, Michael



Included in

Human Ecology Commons