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The Best Substacks Written By Lifestyle Journalists
May 9th, 2023
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Reading journalists’ Substacks is great for those looking for industry insights and advice on how PR pros can work with journalists (not to mention the calls for sources often included in them), but even journalists who don’t write for publicists and other PR and marketing professionals have Substacks from which you can learn. Here, we’re breaking down some of the best Substacks written by lifestyle journalists so that you can keep up with what they’re inspired by and the work they’re doing outside of the more traditional media environment.

From beauty and fashion to pop culture analysis and beyond, there’s something here for everyone.

Back Row

Written by longtime fashion and culture writer Amy Odell, this newsletter—a Substack Featured Publication of 2022—features deep dives on fashion, influencer culture, pop culture, trends, fashion criticism, and more. There’s also a sporadic podcast that goes along with the newsletter. Odell wrote ANNA: The Biography, a best-selling biography of Anna Wintour, and Tales From the Back Row: An Outsider’s View from Inside the Fashion Industry.

The Unpublishable

Veteran beauty writer Jessica DeFino writes this newsletter, a critical take on the beauty industry. Rather than focusing on product reviews and the like, DeFino takes a closer look at the less glamorous, uglier side of the beauty industry and the trends that are taking over.

Culture Study

Anne Helen Petersen, a former culture writer at BuzzFeed News, pens this newsletter all about cultural issues. From overwork to paid leave to creative pursuits, the dark side of self-care, and more, Petersen covers so many of the biggest topics in American culture right now.

So Many Thoughts

Former WSJ reporter Elizabeth Holmes now writes her newsletter So Many Thoughts primarily focused on the messages sent through royal style. While royal style has traditionally been the focus, Holmes has expanded her focus to political style, motherhood, and beyond. Holmes is also the author of HRH: So Many Thoughts on Royal Style and a contributing editor, freelance writer, and royal commentator.

Hung Up

Former Vulture and New York Magazine writer Hunter Harris pens this newsletter about the things Harris can’t stop talking about. Harris publishes interviews, reviews, essays, and more, from musings on “Love is Blind” and “Succession” to speculation on who Taylor Swift should date next, and more.

Rich Text

Former enterprise reporters at HuffPost Emma Gray and Claire Fallon co-write this newsletter and host a podcast called “Love to See It with Emma and Claire” (“a feminist podcast about reality dating shows”). From product recommendations to entertainment ticktocks, to breakdowns of your favorite pop culture scandals, this Substack Featured Publication of 2023 has it all.

Side Chat with Stephanie

Reporter Stephanie McNeal covers all things internet and influencer culture. This newsletter primarily focuses on those same things. Read more on influencers in McNeal’s forthcoming book, Swipe Up for More: Inside the Unfiltered Lives of Influencers, coming in June.

From the Desk of Alicia Kennedy

Acclaimed food writer Alicia Kennedy writes this buzzy newsletter about food, politics, and media. From recipes and essays to critical discussions about the intersection of food culture and politics, this newsletter is a must-read. Kennedy has also written the upcoming book, No Meat Required: The Culture History and Culinary Future of Plant-Based Eating.

The Love List

Writer Jess Graves writes this newsletter all about the culture of shopping. Full of product reviews, trend coverage, interviews, playlists, and beyond, The Love List is a fun newsletter for lifestyle writing fans.

Words With Layla

This newsletter, by James Beard-nominated food writer Layla Khoury-Hanold, contains short essays and musings on all manner of topics, plus links to published articles, food and book recommendations, and more.


Written by former war photographer and TV writer Deborah Copaken, this Substack Featured Publication of 2022 is full of reporting on various health stories that mainstream publications declined to publish. Primarily focused on health (initially women-focused, but now more human-focused), this newsletter contains tons of important stories you’ll want to read.