Circulation: 980,000 (estimated monthly readership: 7 million)
Special issues: "Men of the Year" (December)
Background: In a world of saucy lad mag upstarts, GQ serves as the genre's poised, sophisticated older brother. It was originally conceived in 1931 as Apparel Arts, a trade publication for men's fashion retailers that was so regularly stolen from stores by customers that its publishers decided to create an offshoot magazine in 1933 that they called Esquire. Apparel Arts became Gentlemen's Quarterly in 1958, and before long it had solidified its status as an arbiter of cool and refined urbanity among affluent and upwardly mobile male professionals. The term "metrosexual," in fact, was coined in 1994 by a British writer who was describing a visit to a GQ exhibition in London.
The magazine's tone shifted subtly after Jim Nelson became editor-in-chief in March of 2003, due partly to a more competitive market filled with raunchier men's publications like FHM and Maxim. GQ still remains a place for fashion, lifestyle, culture and at least a few in-depth features and political essays, but it has also made greater efforts to be a tad snappier in tone and sexier in content. (Read: more photo spreads of ladies in lingerie.) Senior editor Will Welch described it as a men's general interest magazine that "always has a fresh and original take on the topic at hand."...