The Best and Worst Magazine Covers of January 2016

"Star Wars" dominates the cineplex AND the magazine rack.

Each month, we dissect the covers of the biggest fashion mags, using our patented Anna Wintour rating system.

Jumping into the first round of 2016, it’s obvious awards season is ramping up, as the stars, in most cases, shine brighter than the clothing. And that’s really what we see a lot of this month—clothing, not memorable looks.

(And because more and more publications combine December and January into one issue, we'll revisit a few we missed last month.)


Starting right off with an honorable mention for this Esquire cover that's conceptual and fun (And a little awkward). It makes you want to open it up, and not just because Jimmy Fallon is the most popular face on late-night television.

A special Christmas present to everyone who buys this issue: digital access to every Esquire ever. (Yikes.)


At first glance, it looks like an exclusive look at a Sofia Coppola-directed Princess Diana biopic starring Jennifer Lawrence. But it’s the real lady herself, folks. Long may she rest. (And Hollywood, lets make that movie happen.)


Not the best photo of Lupita Nyong'o, who plays a thousand-year-old pirate in the The Force Awakens. She's flawless as always, but that dress looks like a big swath of disco Band-Aid fabric that she got wrapped up in on the way to actually getting dressed.


Love Tina. Love Amy. Hate that someone thought it'd be a great idea to release Sisters the same weekend as Star Wars.

Maybe someone should have asked them if they had any ideas on how to make this cover less, I don't know, clinical?


If only because we wish we were a giant plush creature rubbing up against Years and Years frontman Olly Alexander! Not the hottest look we’ve ever seen for 2015’s breakout gay pop star, but Alexander's always swoon-worthy.

We itch for you too, Olly. Pity 'bout your recent breakup.

Glamour UK

Daisy Ridley, star of The Force Awakens, looks radiantly average here, even though sheas the spitting image of Kiera Knightley. Thank goodness they covered that denim-ish bow (shudders) with display type, but can we please move past this gross pink/orange combination? (And pink in general!)

“Hello, spring fashion week? Yes, please come early/at once!”


Thank Shonda for Viola Davis. Annalise Keating may not be having her best year ever, but Viola certainly did, and with a role in 2016's Suicide Squad, her future looks even brighter.

We did dock half-an-Anna for that hideous purple background, though.

Elle UK

Lupita looks so good, we had to include both the newsstand and subscriber covers.

She indeed inspires an awakening with these intriguing floral looks, which set us on a course for a spring worth looking forward to. Is there anything this woman can’t rock? Nope.

GQ Mexico

We omit some GQ covers because they refuse to dress their cover stars in anything but jackets, shirts and ties (zzzz). But no one can deny Jon Kortajarena is on his way to killing it even harder in 2016.


Just try to resist him! Mr. Issac summons all sorts of feelings here with his that almost Jedi-like gaze, #amirite? — and also an impressive range of roles he mastered this year.

But another suit? Sigh. We know, we know, Oscar. You didn’t dress yourself. You look great.

British GQ

What are you implying with this moody shadowing, British GQ editors? Is this a Star Wars spoiler? How dare you.

Otherwise, though, this is boring. Sorry, Han.


This year’s Best Actress race is Rooney Mara’s to lose. And with this Louis Vuitton cover look and the fab editorial inside, she looks run with the bulls of Hollywood. Watch. Out.

Harper’s Bazaar UK/Vogue

Speaking of Swedes, it’s not until you consider these Alicia Vikander covers next to each other that you realize how bizarre the Vogue image really is. The Danish Girl actress is barely recognizable between the two shots, but they do entice with a kind of weird, birdlike allure.

After starring in two critically-acclaimed indie flicks in 2015, will Alicia soar in 2016?

InStyle UK

We’re so sick of this same old shirt dress. Is this really a trend we want to be reviving, Selena?

O: The Oprah Magazine

Oprah's got all the secrets. You can see it in her expression, in her “oofs” and “ahhhs,” that you’re gonna love the way you feel, but it’s gonna hurt like hell getting there.

But if you don this sensible workout gear like her, you too can take some funny photos.

Vanity Fair

Another mini-trend this month: terrible covers featuring Australian actors. Is there any part of this image that wasn’t and pieced together from a dozen other shoots? Why the words on the t-shirt? Why the t-shirt at all? (I know! I know! I complained about all the suits, but for the love of Christmas, someone call Tommy Hilfiger or Ralph Lauren or something! Tremble at the thought of a sweater or outerwear!)

In 2015, we were so proud of Vanity Fair for finally ending its habit of routinely putting dead white women on the cover. But this is not a real improvement.

Cosmopolitan UK

Again, how many photos did it take to create this composite? And never, ever warp a headline on a cover! Don’t do it. I don’t care what you’re going to say. It’s almost rude.

Harper’s Bazaar Australia

Thigh moles are the new face moles! (What is Eva Mendes even going to do with herself?!)

But seriously, though, ass is never Anna.

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