♥ I recently purchased the Tory Burch Small Lee Radziwill Bag (in “new cream”), which I plan to review, but am currently struggling with the decision to keep or return. My main concern: it looks too much like the Hermès Kelly, a bag I intend to purchase one day (in a different colorway). For anyone with a strong opinion on this matter, I’d appreciate an email or a comment below.

Andrew Rosen Steps Aside After 22 Years, as Dinesh Tandon Takes Reins as Theory CEO (WWD): “Andrew Rosen will step down as chief executive officer of Theory and will be succeeded by Dinesh Tandon, currently chief operating officer, effective April 1 … Theory was cofounded by Rosen in 1997 and acquired by Fast Retailing in 2009. Besides Theory, Fast Retailing’s holdings include Uniqlo, GU, J. Brand, Comptoir des Cotonniers, and Princesse tam.tam … The changing of the guard had nothing to do with how the business was performing, Rosen emphasized … Rosen doesn’t expect there will be a radical shift in personnel under Tandon or the way they do business … Rosen plans to continue to be involved in the other companies in which he has invested … Rag & Bone, Alice + Olivia and Veronica Beard.”

♥ Why the Heck Does 165-Year-Old Levi Want to Be Public Again? (The Wall Street Journal): “Levi shares started changing hands [March 21, 2019] on the New York Stock Exchange … Why Mr. Bergh would choose this path for a 165-year-old has a lot to do with 271 investors who have closely held company shares for decades. Made up of fifth-, sixth- or seventh-generation descendants of Levi Strauss, this group is itching for more liquidity than regular dividends offer … Levi tried the public-company thing in the 1970s and 1980s, pulling the plug amid concerns that being public bred shortsightedness … The newly public company now operates in an environment where investors often judge … fashion brands less on the quality of their products and more on how well they juggle different tasks … The company will … face pressure to deliver on a diversification promise that is central to its investment case. Today, 74% of revenue comes from sales of jeans, Dockers pants and other bottoms … while Levi is dominant, it isn’t ubiquitous. About 4% of revenue comes from direct online sales, and 3% of total revenue from China. Levi is investing in becoming more of a multichannel retailer and growing in emerging markets, but companies need to pursue new initiatives at just the right speed. Go too slow, you’ll miss the boat; go too fast, you’ll jeopardize the core business. This much is certain: Wall Street is rarely satisfied with whatever pace you decide on.”

Are Bankers and Venture Capitalists Really Getting Fleeced by Patagonia? (The New York Times): “… the change will affect only new customers — and, going forward, the program will … have more to do with supporting companies that share the brand’s value system than discriminating against companies that don’t … what the change really reveals isn’t actually some nefarious scheme on Patagonia’s part, but rather how challenged the image of the fintech world and its members remains in the public mind … late last year Patagonia decided to change its mission statement from the relatively lengthy ‘Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis’ to the more urgent and direct ‘We’re in business to save our home planet.’ As part of that change, each brand sector started to look at policies to see if they aligned with the new mission statement.”

Madewell Names 1st CEO (Retail Dive): “Libby Wadle has been promoted to CEO of the denim-focused banner … Wadle … has served as president of the brand since 2017, after serving as J. Crew brand president since 2013.”

Can Alex Mill Figure Out What J.Crew Couldn’t? (GQ): “Without retail locations to manage and stock, as well as a more modern direct-to-consumer model, Alex Mill is like J.Crew if the brand were able to wipe the slate clean and restart with a refreshed-for-2019 business model. Alex Mill comes without the sort of financial obligations that anchor down traditional retailers … the pair heading up Alex Mill believes that even while the currents of fashion are ripping in the opposite direction, guys are still hunting for The Black Tee and want to dress the way Alex Mill is proposing: inside-the-box, maybe dipping a toe outside of it … They’re stylish, but not fashion.”

♥ For Many British Businesses, Brexit Has Already Happened (The New York Times): “If Britain leaves the European market, it will lose the benefits of the bloc’s trade deals. In short, just as Japan and Europe are liberalizing trade with each other, Britain is moving to impede trade with both … Britain sells nearly half of its exports within the European Union … The impact will probably fall heavily on areas that need investment the most: manufacturing-dependent communities in the north of England and Wales … More than 275 companies are in the process of moving or have already shifted business divisions, employees and legal entities from Britain to the Continent … Banks alone are transferring 800 billion pounds … while asset management and insurance companies are collectively moving £100 billion … Even if the politicians strike a deal for a smooth divorce, or shock the world by calling the whole thing off, the harm done to Britain’s aura as a haven for sensible governance is likely to endure.”

♥ Currently shopping: L&T’s Friends + Family sale via Walmart (for the better return terms): Vince Camuto Puffed-Sleeve Dress, Karen Kane Bow-Sleeve Top, Miss Selfridge Windowpane Dress, Tahari Arthur S. Levine Tweed Jacket, BCBGMAXAZRIA Sleeveless Trench Dress, Tommy Hilfiger Scuba Sheath Dress, Miss Selfridge Ribbed Dress, Calvin Klein Invisibles Bralette, Karl Lagerfeld Paris Tweed Dress (in more colorways here and here), Calvin Klein Sheath Dress, and Tommy Hilfiger English Garden Dress.

In Search of the Next Phoebe Philo (The Los Angeles Times) “… Since Philo’s departure [from Céline, other fashion houses have] cherry-picked through her design team to build up their own ranks. In these fashion-post-Phoebe times, the hottest name to have on one’s résumé is hers … right now, Philo is a subject of intense fascination and hiring one of her acolytes can give a brand immediate buzz … in fashion, where the alchemical ingredients of success can be hard to define … spending time with a designer of Philo’s caliber is especially enticing.”

When Did America’s Heart Turn Cold on Buffet Chains? (Vox): “A buffet is a glamorous idea; it provides you with the otherwise difficult-to-accomplish joy of eating many small servings of many different delicious things all at the same time, regardless of whether they are meant to be served together … Somehow, Golden Corral is the sole remaining successful buffet chain in the United States … Golden Corral … survived not just because of its superior franchise managers and tight corporate control but because many of its competitors died.”

♥ It’s Possible Leggings Are the Future. Deal With It. (The New York Times): “In general this existential interrogation of the soul of a garment … centers on women, women’s bodies and the general discomfort with seeing too much of them, or believing you are … for Gen Z-ers, who largely reject uniformity and traditional labels, [leggings] are simply a basic, the equivalent of jeans. They are something you put on without thought … leggings are about a lot of things, and sex may be the least of them … what the leggings uproar may have exposed is not so much anyone’s physique per se, but rather a cultural fault line that runs through generations.”

Lululemon Set to Debut Selfcare Product Line (Retail Dive): “Lululemon is launching a personal product line … The ‘selfcare’ line currently includes deodorant, dry shampoo, basic balm and face moisturizer and will be available in the late spring … A move into personal care products is another way Lululemon is broadening its efforts to become a lifestyle brand … a strategic move at a time when the beauty industry shows no signs of slowing down.”

Die, Robocalls, Die: A How-To Guide to Stop Spammers and Exact Revenge (The Washington Post): “Register on the Do Not Call list. It won’t help much, but it takes 30 seconds, so why not? … Activate your service provider’s free protection … technology the carriers offer to identify and block certain robocalls … they cross-check your contacts list to make sure they don’t block someone legitimate … Get a robocall-blocking app … they’re not all effective, and they might be after the personal data on your phone … but it does helpfully transcribe [voicemails], make them accessible online and offer fun outgoing message options … [lastly] Get revenge … The $4 per month RoboKiller … fingerprints your voice mails but adds a clever twist — ‘answer bots.’ They’re voice-mail messages that try to keep robots and human telemarketers on the line listening to nonsense. Answer-bot options range from President Trump impersonators and extended coughing sessions to someone doing vocal exercises. Even better, RoboKiller will send you an often-hilarious recording of the interaction.”

♥ Why Soft Power Is in Style in Qatar (The New York Times): “The importance of shoring up soft power as part of a broader national security strategy has grown in importance for Qatar lately, as it faces the most serious external threat in its four-decade history. Since June 2017, a land and sea blockade led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates … has cut the kingdom off from its neighbors … Rather than being called to heel, the state scrambled to adapt to its new status quo. It has invested in its military, strengthened its alliance with Washington, shifted imports and shipping routes … and doubled down on its economic ties to global powers … Qatar has taken stakes in a wide variety of things, including the French soccer team Paris St. Germain and London’s Heathrow Airport …In fashion, Mayhoola for Investments … a secretive state-backed conglomerate linked to [the] mother of the emir, owns several luxury brands, including Valentino and Balmain.”

♥ Hudson’s Bay Profit Beats Estimates as Saks Fifth Avenue Sales Rise (The Business of Fashion): “Comparable sales at Saks rose almost 4 percent, while the company’s total comparable digital sales … rose 8.7 percent in the quarter … The company’s total fourth-quarter comparable sales decreased 1.4 percent. Same-store sales at Hudson’s Bay, Lord & Taylor and Home Outfitters tumbled 5.2 percent in the quarter … HBC, which has been shutting underperforming stores to cut costs, posted a C$226 million ($170 million) loss from continuing operations in the fourth quarter, on the back of a restructuring charge of C$194 million.”

♥ How to Take Criticism Well (HBR): “… how to be resilient when being criticized … Be prepared; don’t freeze … prepare a list of three to five ways to respond to critics in the moment … Calibrate; don’t catastrophize … try to keep things in perspective … Instead of jumping to conclusions, ask what’s going on … Accumulate; don’t react … Apply the criticism to your role, not yourself … Connect with your personal board of directors; don’t isolate yourself … Cultivate a diverse group of six to 12 people who are invested in your success and who will tell you the truth … Take care of yourself; don’t try to push through … Identify two to three small rituals or practices that help renew your energy.”

♥ Why Is Silicon Valley So Obsessed With the Virtue of Suffering? (The New York Times): “… the people of Silicon Valley seem determined to make themselves miserable. They sit in painful, silent meditations for weeks on end. They starve for days … Cold morning showers are a bragging right. Notoriety is a badge of honor … the most helpful clues to understanding Silicon Valley today may come from its favorite ancient philosophy: Stoicism … Elizabeth Holmes … would often cite ‘Meditations’ … Rank-and-file tech workers frequently have more than one Stoic text on their bookshelves.”

♥ Recently purchased: Madewell Button Waist Dress, LOFT Utility Romper, Uniqlo Linen-Cotton Pants, J. Crew V-Neck Sheath Dress in Multicolor Tweed, LOVE SADIE Maxi Dress, Ann Taylor Sweater Jacket (46% off with code HELLOSPRING until next Tuesday; shop next month’s collection here), Design Lab Oni Strap Sandals, Time and Tru Seersucker Top, and Reformation Velma Button Minidress.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, everyone!

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