Weekend Link Roundup

When it comes to oft-counterfeited brands like UGG and Canada Goose, do use their authorized retailer list

I Spent $925 on a Fake Canada Goose Coat (The Atlantic): “Amazon is rarely an authorized retailer of any specific brand. Instead, the platform allows individuals and companies to sell whatever brands they carry … A glaring downside to this arrangement is that it has inadvertently provided cover, in plain sight, for bad actors worldwide to create multiple digital storefronts selling counterfeit goods. When these people are caught and shut down, they can often pop up again under a different name … A representative at Amazon I contacted for this story seemed surprised that I would not know the site itself is rarely the seller. I was surprised that she would not know I would not know this. Or that I would not understand that when a coat appears to be sold ‘by Canada Goose’ itself, it’s not. And therein lies the rub. While plenty of consumers understand the rules of online engagement and are wary of fishy-looking third-party sellers, there are still many of us who once shared our first email address with our spouse … and fall right into the traps the counterfeiters leave for us.”

The New Mom Uniform of Park Slope (The New York Times): “… in Brooklyn recently, a decidedly more bohemian expression of middle-aged fashion has emerged. This ensemble is made up of two accessories: Part 1 is the No. 6 clog, which has become ubiquitous in upscale Brooklyn neighborhoods and on celebrities … Part 2 is the Salt strap, a thick, detachable handbag strap woven from bright colors, made to hook onto luxury bags.”

The Valedictorians Project (The Boston Globe): “Over the past year, the Globe has tracked down 93 of the 113 valedictorians who appeared in the paper’s first three ‘Faces of Excellence’ features from 2005 to 2007 … in an era when social mobility is in sharp decline, many of Boston’s valedictorians struggled after high school, their vaulting ambitions running headlong into a thicket of real-world obstacles — obstacles their wealthier, often white counterparts in the suburbs much more rarely encounter. Theirs are stories of inequality not just in income, but in opportunity. On paper, no students in Boston are better positioned for upward mobility than its valedictorians. In reality, many saw their opportunities begin to diminish soon after high school, perpetuating an epidemic of thwarted potential among young Bostonians. Many arrived at college only to learn the city’s chronically underperforming schools had left them woefully unprepared for the academic rigors ahead. Some lost scholarships. Others suffered depression and social isolation as they attempted to navigate a world entirely foreign to them, crushing in its demands and aura of privilege. Many ultimately transferred to lesser schools. Fully a quarter failed to graduate from college within six years, above average for all students, but below expectations for the best.”

‘Market Price,’ 2.0 (Grub Street): “Dynamic pricing remains a largely untapped tool within the industry, but its proponents say it’s an effective way to combat spiraling costs — without actually raising menu prices … for any change, whether that’s tweaking menu prices or eliminating tipping, not only do you have to train staff, but customers have to adjust as well. Both must occur simultaneously, too, making it an intimidating thing for restaurant owners to dive into.”

Tycoon of the Pre-Owned (The New York Times): “As legacy department stores continue to ebb at an alarming pace, and Amazon flows into Long Island City but not our hearts, TRR, which also sells furniture and art, is proposing a new model for how people of both means and conscience might shop IRL.”

Bloomingdale’s is running a “Buy More, Save More” event: take up to 25% off your order (eligible items are labeled with the promo code) with code SAVEMORE. My picks: Mackage Helina Fox Fur-Trim Hooded Cape, Stuart Weitzman 5050 Over-the-Knee Boots (reviewed here), Soia & Kyo Rooney Hooded Mixed Media Coat, and Mackage Belted Long Coat.

How MLMs Are Hurting Female Friendships (The Washington Post): “While the financial risks of getting involved with an MLM are well-documented, the personal ones are harder to quantify but are just as real. Namely: You could end up alienating every Facebook friend you ever had. The pressure to sell and recruit has led to underhanded tactics that strain, fracture and sometimes end friendships and family relationships. Is dinner with an old college roommate just about getting caught up on the past decade, or is something else afoot? Increasingly, it’s the latter, and it leaves women on the receiving end feeling duped, angry and not sure how to respond … 18.6 million Americans are involved in direct sales, and a staggering 74 percent are women.”

China Transforms, and a Factory Owner Struggles to Follow (The New York Times): “China has moved up the value chain, and its people have moved up along with it. They want higher wages and a better life. China is no longer the world’s cheap factory … workers [make] about 1,000 renminbi a month in 2004, or about $150 at current exchange rates. Now pay is at least five times that, and can go as high as eight times that.”

Instagram Food Is a Sad, Sparkly Lie (Eater): “Over-the-top, intensely trend-driven, and visually arresting, Instagram food is almost always something to be obtained, rather than cooked or created. It’s elusive and aspirational, something instantly recognizable yet only minimally available, the product of a long line … or a trans-continental flight … Its appearance in your timeline signals status: You went to the place. You got the thing. You’re the kind of person who lives that kind of life … It transforms an indulgent meal or snack from a physical activity to a status performance … Instagram food has almost nothing to do with consumption as a gastronomic endeavor; instead, consuming Instagram food means acquiring it, and sharing proof of your acquisition. This flattens it out from a sensory experience into an aesthetic one … It’s a visual-only binge.”

♥ Styles that are part of the H&M winter sale have been further discounted; shipping is free on orders over $40. My picks: Bow Blouse, Mohair-blend Sweater, Cashmere Sweater, Knit Mohair-blend Sweater, Trumpet-sleeved Dress, Cable-knit Sweater, Block-heeled Pumps, Wool Scarf, and Chiffon Blouse.

As Tech Invades Cycling, Are Bike Activists Selling Out? (Wired): “Companies like Uber, Lyft, Bird, and Lime have made enemies of some city governments and communities by sidestepping public approval processes—the opposite of grassroots activism … Some activists feel antipathy toward the tech space, to venture capital, to capitalism in general. Questions remain about what happens if bike- and scooter-share collapse, and the money and support disappears. Some are skeptical, too, about whether these new companies are truly willing to invest their time and cash in disadvantaged communities, which can need specialized outreach and tech solutions. These are profit making companies, after all.”

The Death of the Sick Day (The New York Times): “The shifting definition and expanding mobility of the office — thanks to remote work and the rise of contractors in the gig economy — is also making the sick day somewhat passé, at least for some jobs.”

BuzzFeed to Cut 15% of Its Workforce (The Wall Street Journal): “The cuts could affect around 250 jobs … One impetus for the changes is to get BuzzFeed on the path to profitability and in proper shape as it scouts out potential merger combinations with other digital media players … Another driver of the cuts is to help the company avoid raising money again … BuzzFeed has raised about $500 million and was valued at about $1.7 billion following its last funding round in 2016 … BuzzFeed, for its part, has struggled at times to meet its own ambitious revenue targets and has scaled back its expectations.”

♥ The Hinge Maxi Sweater Dress which I own and intend to feature at some point is now 40% off online in two colors. Sizes come in and out of stock, so bookmark the page if you are interested. The fit is large to size, so size down.

Canada’s Vast Pension Fund Is Gaining Even More Financial Clout (The Economist): “The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) is a state-run earnings-related pensions scheme, but its investment board is run as an independent entity. The fund’s portfolio size has more than tripled over the past decade, and is going to become only more gigantic. At the end of last year its portfolio was C$454bn.”

The Gay Penguins of Australia (The New York Times): “Penguin keepers cannot say exactly why one penguin chooses another, especially two penguins as different as Magic and Sphen … But it was clear early on what Sphen and Magic were doing when they met one summer day at Sea Life Sydney Aquarium. First, as is the Gentoo way, they began to bow to each other. They brought each other carefully selected pebbles for the nest they hoped to build together. If either had not been interested he would have rejected the pebble, pushing it away with a beak. But each admired the pebbles he was brought. Ms. Lawrie described it as ‘consent.’ Then they started to sing. Standing close together, they sang to each other until they had learned each other’s voices.”

Jack Dorsey Has No Clue What He Wants (HuffPost): “My only real goal was to get Dorsey to speak in specifics, about anything. In almost every interview he does, he’ll lament his past mistakes and talk about his various high-minded visions for improving the platform: improving conversational health, reducing echo chambers, increasing transparency and about 10 other rote, buzzy phrases. But press him for a clear, unambiguous example of nearly anything, and Dorsey shuts down.”

♥ Take an extra 60% off sale styles at Banana Republic; no code needed, discount taken in cart. And use your Gap Inc. credit card for an extra 20% off with code 20BRCARD. Some picks: Washable Merino Turtleneck Sweater, Sloan Skinny-Fit Plaid Pant, Ponte Flutter-Sleeve Dress, Cropped Wide-Leg Jumpsuit, Plaid Bi-Stretch Wrap-Front Pencil Skirt, and Ruffle-Cuff Sweater Dress.

Does Journalism Have a Future? (The New Yorker): “In the age of Facebook, Chartbeat, and Trump, legacy news organizations … have violated or changed their editorial standards in ways that have contributed to political chaos and epistemological mayhem. Do editors sit in a room on Monday morning, twirl the globe, and decide what stories are most important? Or do they watch Trump’s Twitter feed and let him decide? It often feels like the latter. Sometimes what doesn’t kill you doesn’t make you stronger; it makes everyone sick. The more adversarial the press, the more loyal Trump’s followers, the more broken American public life. The more desperately the press chases readers, the more our press resembles our politics. The problems are well understood, the solutions harder to see. Good reporting is expensive, but readers don’t want to pay for it … Good reporting is slow, good stories unfold, and most stories that need telling don’t involve the White House.”

The Revenge of the Middle-Aged Frenchwoman (The New York Times): “… Mr. Moix has made plenty of provocative statements before. But this time he committed the twin sins of inelegance and indiscretion. As a public intellectual he’s supposed to play the ‘seducteur’ who engages in a chaste flirtation with his audience. Announcing that he wouldn’t sleep with some of them kills the mood. And in a country that lives by the maxim ‘Not all truths should be told,’ knowing what not to say — and what parts of your life to conceal — are key social graces … his remarks caught Frenchwomen in a take-no-prisoners mood, and feeling a new solidarity. #MeToo has made them more alert to the discrimination they face … while women don’t want to be reduced to their sexual allure, they also want to prove that they’ve still got it.”

♥ Recently ordered: Ann Taylor Spotted Bow Blouse (reordered now that it’s on further sale. FYI, sale styles at Ann Taylor are now up to an extra 70% off), J. Crew Textured Lady Cardigan, Tory Burch Colorblock Flat Espadrilles, Clinique The Chubbettes Set, and Topshop Rouleau Button Shirt.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Hi, I am Elle!

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