Weekend Link Roundup

Nudge (“reviewed” here)

♥ For a book published ten years ago, Nudge has aged fairly well, and I would recommend owning it now that it’s on sale for $1.99 on Amazon. The writing is sharp and the underlying concept compelling, which makes up for the seemingly intuitive applications of the idea that the authors proposed.

Get Yourself a Nemesis (The Atlantic): “While having an opponent is nothing new, the nebulous concept of having a secret digital adversary is a more modern condition … It’s easy, when you see someone leading a seemingly perfect life, to want to tear that person down. As a result, the term nemesis is having a cultural moment … a nemesis is a special kind of foe … Nemeses … are worthy foes in any area of life. They require a particular kind of jealousy, because you compete with them, even if they’re unaware of your existence. They can drive you mad with their achievements. But they can also push you to work harder … Declaring a nemesis can be a way to escape becoming a hater yourself. While hating is about putting others down, a nemesis is about pushing yourself to be better than that person. You still might relish in her failings, but ultimately you value your nemesis. You’d still show up to her funeral.”

Ascena Is Exploring the Sale of Its Dressbarn Retail Chain (Bloomberg): “Ascena has tallied more than $1 billion in losses over the past four years and labors under about $1.6 billion in debt … In its earnings report on March 14, Ascena Chief Executive Officer David Jaffe said the company’s value-priced unit was ‘operating at an unacceptable level of profitability.’ Less than two weeks later, it announced the sale of a majority stake in its Maurices chain to a private equity firm.”

We Might Be Reaching ‘Peak Indifference’ on Climate Change (Wired): “‘peak indifference’ … refers to the psychology of problems that become too big to ignore … at some point, a crisis gets so bad that it becomes unignorable. Our indifference reaches a peak, begins to decline—and panic emerges. This could describe what we’re now seeing in the climate polling … But … When we ignore trouble for so long, we can slip quickly into nihilism … the current political moment is incredibly interesting. Anyone who wants to deal with climate change may have only a brief window to sell the public on a plan.”

J. Crew Turns Again to Debt Restructuring Lawyers (Reuters): “J. Crew Group Inc has tapped restructuring lawyers for the second time in as many years to explore options for reworking its debt … A bankruptcy filing is not currently on the horizon for J. Crew, which carries a debt load exceeding $1.7 billion … J. Crew … had about $25.7 million in cash as of the beginning of February, down from roughly $107 million a year earlier, and the company has booked financial losses in seven of the last eight quarters.”

Thousands of styles have been newly discounted (or further discounted) at Shopbop. My picks: Rebecca Taylor Vivianna Vine Silk Tie Top, Bop Basics Cashmere Joggers, Madewell Shawl Collar Coat, Free People So Soft Cozy Peacoat, Soia & Kyo Sundra Classic Down Coat, Bop Basics Cashmere Scarf, Tory Burch Block T Pebbled Zip Satchel, SMYTHE Peaked Lapel Coat, Rebecca Taylor Silk Charmeuse Top, 3.1 Phillip Lim Aran Wool Cardigan, Rachel Zoe Ami Gown, Soia & Kyo Samia Double Face Coat, Helmut Lang Faux Fur Coat, Salvatore Ferragamo Carrie Satchel, Frye Samantha Hiker Boots, MONROW Stripe Sweatpants, Eberjey Lucie Button Down Jumpsuit, Club Monaco Leanor Coat, Tumi Dori Backpack, Rag & Bone Mindy Crew Sweater, and Black Halo Caine Dress (additional colorway here).

What’s Behind Beauty’s Billion-Dollar Valuations? (The Business of Fashion): “Why do beauty brands seem to grow so much faster? For one, the markup on beauty products tends to be higher than for apparel. Beauty companies also receive fewer returns and don’t need to worry about sizing. Beauty influencers also have the power to whip millions of followers into a frenzy of anticipation around a new brand, in a way that few of their counterparts in fashion have mastered.”

Take a Look Inside Louis Vuitton’s Shoe Factory to Learn Why a Sneaker Costs $1,600 (Highsnobiety): “Beyond the high price and designer label, luxury sneakers are different because of how they’re made and their scarcity … As for who the shoes are for, it’s a cross-section of elevated sneakerheads and connoisseurs who want to buy into the luxury market in a way that reflects their sense of style. The shoes communicate a sense of status and taste that separates the wearer from their grandparents. It’s the next step for the kid who wears OFF-WHITE Air Jordan 1s today and then flips them tomorrow to buy something with more drip. Say what you will about designer sneakers, but for those consumers willing to pay the asking price, outside opinions probably don’t matter anyway.”

Americans Are the Unhappiest They’ve Ever Been, U.N. Report Finds. an ‘Epidemic of Addictions’ Could Be to Blame. (The Washington Post): “Americans are unhappy, according to the report, an annual list ranking the overall happiness levels of 156 countries — and it’s only getting worse. For the third year in a row, the U.S. has dropped in the ranking and now sits at No. 19, one spot lower than last year … The United States’ current rank marks its worst showing since the report was first released in 2012. The country has never cracked the top 10 … Researchers posit the country’s declining happiness is likely due to an “epidemic of addictions,” which includes everything from substance abuse and gambling to social media usage and risky sexual behaviors.”

L Brands Faces Pressure to Separate Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works (The Wall Street Journal): “New York hedge fund Barington Capital Group LP has built a small stake in L Brands and is urging the company to consider splitting its booming Bath & Body Works operation from the struggling lingerie chain … The activist investor doesn’t detail the size of its stake in the letter, but it is less than 1% of the company, which has a market value of roughly $7.4 billion … Last year, L Brands opted to close or sell smaller brands such as Henri Bendel and recently replaced Victoria’s Secret’s chief executive and re-entered swimwear … Shares in L Brands had dropped roughly 32% over the past year as of March 1 … This drop is primarily due to Victoria’s Secret’s lagging sales. Victoria’s Secret reported a 3% decline in comparable sales in the holiday quarter … Bath & Body Works, meanwhile, is thriving, with strong demand for its scented lotions, body washes and other personal-care items. The unit’s comparable sales in the holiday quarter jumped 12%.”

Airbnb Has a Hidden-Camera Problem (The Atlantic): “Like many other businesses in the … sharing economy, Airbnb is a middleman. It does not own its rental properties or employ its hosts; the innovation that propelled it to a $31 billion valuation was organizing, branding, and putting a professional sheen on the idea of sleeping in a stranger’s home. But even though guests book and pay through Airbnb’s interface … Airbnb is just a broker. The company imposes rules, mostly to comply with local tax and housing regulations, but company rules don’t supersede local laws, even if guests assume they will. This makes for all kinds of tension, especially when something goes wrong.”

Gilt is currently running a Longchamp event and while the discounts are modest, there are quite a few styles available. It’s worth browsing if you are in the market for a new bag.

What Does Misogyny Look Like? (The New York Times): “The word used to be a strong, personal indictment, ugly as it hit the ears. Now, it’s less harsh to hear. But paradoxically, even as the term becomes more commonplace, it has grown more trenchant. It captures the cognitive dissonance of our moment, in which women are seemingly reviled and revered, running for president and still fighting for paid maternity leave.”

How a Couple Worked Charter School Regulations to Make Millions (Los Angeles Times): “California law … enables troubled charter operators to escape sanction or scrutiny by moving to school districts more willing to accept them … Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation earlier this month requiring more transparency and stricter conflict-of-interest rules for charter schools. Those reforms could lead to changes when they take effect next year. But they are unlikely to fix the structural issues that have allowed problem charter school operators to circumvent oversight.”

Want Apple Card’s Security Benefits? Just Use Apple Pay (Wired): “When you add a credit card to Apple Wallet to use with Apple Pay, whether it’s an Apple Card or another credit card, the service cryptographically morphs the credit card number and other details into a unique card identity … Completing a transaction through Apple Pay then requires that unique identifier and a one-time-use security code, along with additional biometric verification from you via FaceID or TouchID. This way, your real credit card number is never even transmitted for the transaction, and a fraudster would need the one-time transaction code and your face or fingerprint to make unauthorized charges. These same security benefits will extend to Apple Card … Apple’s arrangement with Goldman Sachs and Mastercard—as issuing bank and payment network, respectively—is a standard setup for a branded card.”

The World’s Greatest Delivery Empire (Bloomberg): “Across [China], millions of people … are ordering in two or three meals a day, as well as groceries, office supplies, haircuts, massages, and whatever else they might want. Behind this $35 billion delivery market isn’t exactly efficiency, though—it’s a fight between Meituan and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., China’s most valuable company. Alibaba and its various subsidiaries dominate the country’s online retail market for physical goods, but Meituan is leading the way in services. Its namesake app … has 600,000 delivery people serving 400 million customers a year in 2,800 cities. Alibaba is betting it can undercut Meituan to death. Both companies are spending billions in an escalating war of subsidies that might persuade even Jeff Bezos to cut his losses.”

At 71, She’s Never Felt Pain or Anxiety. Now Scientists Know Why. (The New York Times): “In a paper published Thursday in The British Journal of Anaesthesia, researchers attributed Ms. Cameron’s virtually pain-free life to a mutation in a previously unidentified gene. The hope … is that the finding could eventually contribute to the development of a novel pain treatment. They believe this mutation may also be connected to why Ms. Cameron has felt little anxiety or fear throughout her life and why her body heals quickly.”

♥ Recently purchased: WAYF Off the Shoulder Midi Dress, Bishop + Young Tie Bodice Midi Dress, J. Crew Pleated-Front Sailor Skirt in Stretch Linen, Ann Taylor Flowerbox Scarf, and Banana Republic Linen-Blend Cropped Jumpsuit.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Hi, I am Elle!

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