Weekly Link Roundup

Espadrille sneakers currently sit atop my summer wishlist. Since late winter, I’ve ordered just about every available pair in the $50-$300 range, but have yet to find a winner (the Schutz Juanna Lace up Espadrille pictured above is currently the front-runner). A review post with some attractive options is currently in the works. If you own a pair that you love, please recommend them to me!

Why Rewards for Loyal Spenders Are ‘a Honey Pot for Hackers’ (The New York Times): “… loyalty programs, as they shift from paper and plastic to apps and websites, are increasingly tracking a currency that can be more valuable than how much you spend: personal data … One loyalty-fraud prevention group estimates, conservatively, that $1 billion a year is lost to crime related to the programs.”

Stop Wasting Money on Unnecessary Monthly Subscriptions (The Wall Street Journal): “The average American pays $237 a month for subscription services … Eighty-four percent of Americans also completely underestimate how much they spend every month.”

Inside the Battle to Be the Next Sephora (The Business of Fashion): “… beauty appears to be the one … thing people still shop for in stores … Specialty beauty boutiques are popping up one after another, selling curated assortments of prestige products and buzzy new brands. They’re gaining the patronage and loyalty of not only the millennial and Gen Z customer, but more mature shoppers … to whom the emphasis on in-depth one-on-one service appeals … As the industry at large inches toward new universal formulation standards, clean beauty continues to be a source of significant growth: Non-toxic skin care grew 44 percent in 2018, ‘about three times faster than total skin care’ … it falls to the indies to be the scouts to find, and nurture, rising stars, and in turn to establish themselves as master curators, and expert eyes who intimately understand their customer. The strength of the specialty store … is that [they’ve] edited the selection for you.”

Why Can’t Men Say ‘I Love You’ to Each Other? (The New York Times): “… men in America have learned repeatedly: that tenderness must be tamed in accordance with a set of codes we must become fluent in, as if our survival depends on it. This lesson is learned over many years, passed between generations, and like the best-taught lessons, it claws into you until you can hardly distinguish where the lesson ends and you begin. Somewhere inside each man is a list of all the other men he’s loved without ever finding the words to tell them so … The codes men follow in love are tricky. For example, while saying a straight ‘I love you’ is frowned upon, sometimes saying to another man ‘Much love’ or ‘I got love for you’ is O.K. ‘I love you’ might even be passable if it is quickly followed by ‘bro’ or ‘man.’ These are the linguistic gymnastics masculinity asks us to perform, the negotiations we make through language to keep within the acceptable bounds of manhood.”

Instagram Can Find Misleading Posts—but Won’t Take Them Down (Wired): “Since 2016, Facebook has referred questionable posts to a team of over 50 news organizations from around the globe. Any item determined to be false is labeled and demoted in News Feed; anyone who tries to share a false post is warned against doing so. The same fact-checkers will review Instagram posts, but those found to be false will not be labeled as such, nor will they be demoted in users’ feeds or in the Instagram Stories carousel. An Instagram spokesperson said the company is focused on making it harder for new users to be algorithmically exposed to misinformation, rather than stemming the reach of misinformation … Accounts whose posts are repeatedly flagged as misinformation won’t be penalized beyond the reduced reach through Explore and other recommendation sites.”

At Louis Vuitton, Marketing Is a Four-Letter Word (The Wall Street Journal): “‘We don’t do marketing,’ says Burke [LV CEO]. ‘Show a product, pitch it heavily—that’s fast-moving consumer goods, that’s not our business’ … for the time-being, [LV] will not be embarking on any new product categories and that Vuitton will be abstaining from brand collaborations following 2017’s much-hyped dalliance with cult streetwear brand Supreme.”

♥ Currently shopping: 50% off ready-for-summer styles at LOFT; no code needed. My picks: Tie Waist Button Jumpsuit, Floral Flutter Tie Waist Jumpsuit, Floral Tie Waist Jumpsuit, Tie Waist Wide Leg Pants, Drapey Utility Romper, and Floral Fluid Wide Leg Pants.

Elizabeth Holmes’s Possible Defense in Theranos Case: Put the Government on Trial (The New York Times): “Ms. Holmes’s lawyers in the filing demanded records from the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services related to their interactions with John Carreyrou, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal who broke the story about problems with Theranos’s technology … In demanding the communications with Mr. Carreyrou, Ms. Holmes’s defense appears to be creating a picture that government regulators overreacted when a reporter … pushed them to investigate and misunderstood what was going on at Theranos … There is at least a possibility [this tactic could succeed]. The prosecution bears the burden of proving conspiracy and fraud beyond a reasonable doubt. One way the defense could undermine the government’s case would be to raise questions about possible bias and create enough doubt among the jurors that they vote to acquit.”

Goldman Sachs, Patagonia, and the Mysteries of “Business Casual” (The New Yorker): “The importance of the Patagonia vest is that it is both an evolution of the business-casual costume and a reversion to the waistcoat of the ancient three-piece suit. The fleece vest harmonizes with values that have been invested in the suit since its emergence … The amazing thing about the recent Goldman Sachs memo is that it decrees a standard without stating its terms. In its metaphysical proclamation that ‘all of us know what is and is not appropriate for the workplace,’ the memo bespeaks a Babylonian code of unspoken rules. It says that professional conduct is identical to ruling-class savoir-faire, and its manners are too circumspect to say much else.”

‘Why Is This So Cheap?’ Chinese Shopping App Falls for American Bargains (The Wall Street Journal): “China is hooked on live-stream shopping, and stores around the world are feeling the effects. The services … aim to entice buyers with the urgency of live TV and limited-time deals. They add in the attention of a personal shopper, since hosts can directly interact with viewers.”

A Fake Heiress Called Anna Delvey Conned the City’s Wealthy. ‘I’m Not Sorry,’ She Says. (The New York Times): “… while Ms. Sorokin made excuses for her actions, she did not apologize for her character: ‘I’m not a good person.’ … Ahead of trial, she said, she was offered a plea deal with a sentence of three to nine years in prison, but she considered that too long and took her chances on a trial. Although she was sentenced to a longer term than she had been offered in a plea deal, she said she did not regret going to trial. She said she has balked against authority in Rikers and has been disciplined 30 times, including a few weeks in solitary over Christmas. Because of her behavior, Ms. Sorokin said, she has been held in a maximum security section.”

The Birth-Tissue Profiteers (ProPublica): “For more than half a century, the regenerative possibilities of stem cells … have tantalized the medical community. Bone marrow transplants for cancer patients, which rely on blood stem cells, fulfill this potential. But alongside legitimate, scientifically proven treatments, an industry has sprung up in which specialized clinics offer miracle remedies from poorly understood stem cell products … Because amniotic stem cell treatments don’t undergo the clinical trials required for FDA approval, there’s little data or research on them. Their efficacy is highly questionable and, in one case where bacteria contaminated the supply, the lack of accountability in the industry has led to serious infections for a dozen patients … Amniotic stem cell products are made solely from tissues related to childbirth, not from embryonic cells. The scientific consensus is that they may be able to turn into a limited range of tissue types — namely bone, fat and cartilage — but they can’t turn into liver, heart or brain cells … Until this regenerative capacity is proved, some researchers say, these birth-tissue cells shouldn’t be called stem cells at all.”

Rihanna, Breaking New Ground, Joins With LVMH for Fashion Brand (The New York Times): “Rihanna will become the first woman to create an original brand at LVMH, the first woman of color at the top of an LVMH maison, and her line will be the first new house created by the group since Christian Lacroix in 1987 … LVMH has been making strides in recent years to right the gender balance in luxury, appointing the first female designers of Givenchy in 2017 and Dior in 2016. It has also begun to address the need for diversity, naming Virgil Abloh as the first African-American to head Louis Vuitton men’s wear in 2018.”

Don’t Be Blinded by Your Own Expertise (HBR): “… expertise can also severely impede performance, in two important ways … overconfidence is one form of what I call the expertise trap. Another is when leaders’ deep knowledge and experience leaves them incurious, blinkered, and vulnerable—even in their own fields.”

Fashion’s Sustainability Efforts Are Stalling (The Business of Fashion): “While the industry’s environmental and social performance has improved in the last year, it’s still far from sustainable, and the speed of progress has decreased by around a third … Most of the improvement in the last year is the result of rapid progress among brands that are just getting started, laying the groundwork to operate better … Meanwhile, progress has slowed among larger companies who have already taken the first steps and now need to figure out how to build more systemic changes into the way they operate.”

Should These Clothes Be Saved? (The New York Times): “… the unofficial Smith College Historic Clothing Collection: 3,000 dresses, suits, shoes, bags and accessories. They are crammed among costume racks and cardboard boxes, jammed together on padded hangers, stacked on shelves and squirreled away in any available nook and cranny … As the fate of the collection becomes a subject of debate within the college, it has stirred up uncomfortable questions about what constitutes ‘value’ in the context of clothes, the liberal arts and the current conversation about how we talk about women’s history.”

How the Apple Store Lost Its Luster (Bloomberg): “… the stores have become mostly an exercise in branding and no longer do a good job serving mission shoppers … Before [Ahrendts’s] arrival, the Apple Store excelled at three key tasks: selling products, helping customers trouble-shoot their devices and teaching them how to get the most out of their gadgets … Over time … Ahrendts upset that finely tuned balance … The overhaul of the Genius Bar has been especially controversial. Customers looking for technical advice or repairs must now check in with an employee … Ahrendts was determined to get rid of lineups, but now the stores are often crowded with people waiting for their iPhones to be fixed or batteries swapped out.”

Are Socks With Sandals Ever OK? (The Wall Street Journal): “… the divisive pairing is a much riskier trend for non-icons to pull off. ‘You have to get the right sandal and sock … you have to be savvy’ … But pick the wrong combo and instead of persuasively channeling a fashion insider, you could end up looking like ‘a teenager leaving soccer practice.'”

They Were Promised Coding Jobs in Appalachia. Now They Say It Was a Fraud. (The New York Times): “Many West Virginians like Ms. Frame signed up for Mined Minds, quitting their jobs or dropping out of school for the prized prospect of a stable and lucrative career. But the revival never came. Almost none of those who signed up for Mined Minds are working in programming now. They described Mined Minds as an erratic operation, where guarantees suddenly evaporated and firings seemed inevitable, leaving people to start over again at the bottom rungs of the wage jobs they had left behind.”

♥ Recently purchased: Halogen Aster Wedge Slingback Sandal, Madewell Blossoming Vines Maxi Dress, Maje Vega Tweed Jacket, Ann Taylor Scarf Print Blouse, Abercrombie & Fitch Wrap-Front Romper, and J. Crew Midi Sarong Dress in Seersucker.

Have a great week, everyone!

Hi, I am Elle!

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