Dec 2023

Editor's letter

"The most wonderful time of the year – definitively, inarguably, and I will not hear otherwise – is that time after Christmas and before New Year, and maybe into the week after if you’re lucky. The nothing zone."

I don’t know about you, but god, I’m so tired. And admittedly I’m writing this letter in November, which everyone knows is the tiredest month of the year, but it seems this time around that I’m feeling it more than ever. And I don’t think I’m the only one. Everywhere you turn, if you’re looking closely enough, you can spot that look in people’s eyes. You know the one, like they’re pushing through but they’re also clearly a little bit dead inside. That meme from a few years back of the little girl dressed as the cutest little bunny and crying her heart out as she still nails every move in her dance recital perfectly? She is all of us right now, the perfect sad bunny dancer summation of the collective mood. It’s been a tough year for so many reasons, and what makes it considerably worse is that we’ve said that every year I can remember since at least 2016. This time last year, we even gave this cumulative weariness a cute name: The Great Exhaustion. I don’t know if the realisation that we always feel this way at this time makes me feel better about my current lassitude, or even more hopeless.

As always, though, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. No, it’s not Christmas, and if you know me at all, this may come as a surprise because I adore Christmas. I love all of it, the carols and the gaudy decor and the chaos. Especially the chaos. (In the infamous ‘Fishes’ episode in the second season of The Bear, Jamie-Lee Curtis plays a mother descending deeper and deeper into that chaos as she makes the Christmas Eve meal. The fish burns, the sauce splatters, she eventually falls off an emotional cliff; it’s sweaty and anxiety-ridden and horrible, and while everyone else watched it with a sense of impending doom, I just felt nostalgic.) But Christmas, despite what the songs say, is not the most wonderful time of the year. The most wonderful time of the year – definitively, inarguably, and I will not hear otherwise – is that time after Christmas and before New Year, and maybe into the week after if you’re lucky. The nothing zone.

"The nothing zone is wonderful because it’s just that: a time for nothing. No plans, no deadlines, no rules."

The nothing zone is wonderful because it’s just that: a time for nothing. No plans, no deadlines, no rules. Ham becomes an always food, and trifle for breakfast is completely acceptable. Knowing what time or even day of the week it is feels like an obstacle too challenging to surmount. Napping on the sofa becomes de rigeur, as does day drinking with old people (one of my year-round favourite pastimes, tbh). Normal life is on pause and with it, all the scheduling and activity and productivity that has become our standard. Instead, we are aimless. It is glorious.

The nothing zone is better than annual leave at any other time, because almost everyone else is with you; there’s no build up you’ll have to face on your return. It takes the pressure off. And even if you work through, it comes with a kind of glee and novelty because the collective mood is elsewhere. (Unless you work in retail, in which case, sending thoughts and prayers at this difficult time, and thank you for your service.) It’s a universal liminal space: nothing can really get done, nothing is worth starting until the new year. For an all-too-fleeting moment, we’re all delightfully off the hook.

InStyle is quarterly, so this out-of-office themed issue isn’t specifically meant just to be read during that time, but it has been designed to evoke its spirit. It’s a celebration of that out-of-office mood, an encouragement to relax more and do less this summer, channel good vibes and be more of the person you are when you’re switched off – whether you’re a person who insists on table dancing at long lunches and jumping off seacliffs into the ocean, or one who is more about rolling corpse-like face first into the water straight from a pool float because you’re too lazy to do it any other way and are getting really good at picking things up from the floor (the remote control, sunscreen bottles, dropped Doritos) with your toes to avoid bending down. I’m not the boss of you – in the nothing zone, nobody is – but whatever form it takes, I hope you let this issue help you bottle that out-of-office state of mind. If you’re anything like me, you need it.

Love,

Justine


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Is this the end of the bra?

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Destination sex

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Editor-in-Chief
JUSTINE CULLEN
Managing Editor
Elle Glass
Executive Editor
Laura Agnew
Creative Director
HANNAH MARTIN
Fashion Director
RACHEL WAYMAN
Associate Editor
Kathryn Madden
Digital Editor
COURTNEY THOMPSON
Designer
Zahra Stockman
Market Editor
ANNIE DOIG
Content Writer
Maeve Galea
Content Writer
Noni Reginato
Commercial Director
Nicole Corfe
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Annaliese Gattelaro
Client Services Manager
Grace Hannah
Editorial & Advertising Coordinator
Delaney Ashton
Publisher and
CEO
SIMON BOOKALLIL
COO
DAVID ASTWOOD
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