Weekly Link Roundup: July 24, 2020

Juliette Collarless Sweater-Blazer (pictured above in a cotton/polyester/wool blend; outfit from this post)

Sale styles at J.Crew are an extra 60% off with code SHOPNOW until the end of today. The Juliette Collarless Sweater-Blazer, an excellent all-seasons pieces, is currently on sale in five colorways in a linen blend. Shipping is free on all orders for J.Crew Rewards members. Read my warnings about shopping J. Crew right now here. My sale picks:

The Allure of the Nap Dress, the Look of Gussied-Up Oblivion (The New Yorker): “One could theoretically wear a Nap Dress to bed, but it is decidedly not a nightgown … It is not the same thing as a caftan, which, though often luxurious, is more shapeless and more grown-up. It is not a housedress, which we tend to associate with older women shuffling onto the stoop to grab the morning paper, the curlers still in their hair. A housedress is about forgetting the self, or at least hiding it under layers of quilted fabric. The Nap Dress, on the other hand, suggests a cheeky indulgence for one’s body, and a childlike return to waking up bleary-eyed hours before dinner.”

Ann Taylor Owner Files for Bankruptcy (The Wall Street Journal): “Total revenue for the third quarter ended May 2 was down 45% from a year earlier. The company ended the quarter with outstanding term-loan debt of $1.3 billion and about $439 million in cash and cash equivalents.”

Diane von Furstenberg’s Brand Is Left Exposed by the Pandemic (The New York Times): “… the British and French operations of Ms. von Furstenberg’s company had done the European equivalent of filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Just over 60 percent of the corporate and retail staff in the United States, Britain and France was laid off, creditors were complaining vociferously about unpaid bills, and Ms. von Furstenberg was making plans to close 18 of her 19 remaining directly operated U.S. stores. She was transforming her company from one rooted in bricks and mortar to a business focused on the intellectual property value of her brand name, which can be attached to products and e-commerce initiatives.”

What if Your Clothes Could Protect You From Viruses, Keep You Cool, and Simplify Your Life? (Vogue): “If our clothes could fight bacteria and viruses, block sun damage, regulate our body temperature, resist wrinkling, and even nourish our skin, we’d have a lot more time and energy to deal with more pressing matters, from the pandemic to the climate crisis to the chaos of our daily lives. Fashion is already turning its attention to values of longevity, quality, and timelessness … and a garment’s hidden technology could be the new determining factor in our buying decisions. Years from now, it won’t be enough for our clothes to just be beautiful and comfortable; we’ll expect them to be sustainably and ethically made too, and to benefit our wellbeing. In some ways, our clothing should behave more like our skincare, packed with hidden ‘ingredients’ that work hard throughout the day, virtually unseen.”

♥ Preview the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale starting today: the sale starts for everyone on 08/19/2020 (or as early as 08/04 for cardmembers). My picks: Longchamp Le Pliage Expandable Tote (reviewed here), Zella Live In Performance Jacket, SLIP Pure Silk King Pillowcase Duo, ALLSAINTS Fetch Leather Crossbody Bag, True & Co. True Body V-Neck Bralette, Halogen Hidden Button Long Sleeve Blouse, Longchamp Le Pliage Cuir Leather Shoulder Bag, True & Co. True Body Racerback Wireless Bra, and UGG®Whistler Throw Blanket.

Men’s Wearhouse, Jos. A. Bank Parent Looks to Close More Than Third of Stores (The Wall Street Journal): “The parent company of Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank menswear stores said it is considering closing as many as 500 retail locations, or more than a third of its total … Tailored Brands Inc. also said … it will lay off 20% of its corporate staff and reduce its supply-chain footprint … Earlier this month, Tailored Brands skipped a payment to bondholders after it reported that sales declined more than 60% year over year in the quarter that ran from February through April.”

“Ghislaine, Is That You?”: Inside Ghislaine Maxwell’s Life on the Lam (Vanity Fair): “The woman who once had everything money could buy, only to lose it all because of a man, was once again living a life of luxury. All she had to do to keep it was to give the monster what he wanted. And what he increasingly wanted were women—’on the younger side,’ as Donald Trump would say—for whom Maxwell is said to have searched everywhere: spas, massage parlors, parties. Once she found them, she would invite them to ‘tea’ at Epstein’s mansion … several victims claim that Maxwell not only lured them into Epstein’s web, but also fondled or sexually abused them. When asked about Maxwell’s role in his sex crimes during a deposition, Epstein invoked the Fifth Amendment at least 14 times.”

401(k) Plans No Longer Make Much Sense for Savers (Bloomberg): “In the 1980 environment, the 401(k) plan had a 2.5% annual advantage over tax-efficient investments in a taxable account. In 2020, there is no tax advantage remaining to the 401(k) … We have been slowly raising the temperatures on 401(k)s for 40 years, and we’re nearing the point that they no longer make sense for workers, except those fortunate enough to be offered the best plans or good employer matches.”

Did a Cult Hair-Care Line Cause Thousands of Women to Lose Their Hair? (The New York Times): “Dr. Wesley recommends washing the scalp at least three times a week to remove sebum, which contains cortisol and DHT, both hormones that contribute to shedding and gradual hair loss. Plain old water — no label reading required there — can work perfectly fine for the task … When you’re buying products, choose ones that specifically state they’re fragrance-free. Companies are not required to detail ingredients used for fragrance, and many are irritants.”

Rachel Zoe Suzette Lace Sheath Dress // Size 0 // Black (reviewed here)

♥ It will be a long while before many of us have need for a special occasions dress, but one of my favorites, the Rachel Zoe Suzette Lace Sheath Dress (reviewed here) is currently very well discounted at Amazon in select colorways/sizes.

With Indoor Dining Upended, Some Restaurants Call It Quits (The Wall Street Journal): “Uncertainty surrounding indoor dining is prompting tough decisions at restaurants across the country. Government aid has run out, and breaks from landlords and suppliers are coming due as fewer diners are willing to eat inside … Thousands of restaurants have closed so far, and as many as 10% of independent operators could shut by year’s end as a result of the new coronavirus.”

What Luxury Can Do About the Tourism Crisis (The Business of Fashion): “In 2019, about 40 percent of purchases of personal luxury goods were made by travelling consumers … The overall market is expected to contract by as much as 35 percent this year. Most of those travelling shoppers are from China, representing 35 percent of luxury purchases in 2019, only 11 percent of which took place in mainland China … Luxury brands that count on travelling shoppers to hit their sales targets in Europe and the US are now doing their best to engage them in their home countries, especially in China where consumers have increased local shopping in recent months … By 2025, Bain projects that 26 percent to 28 percent of luxury sales will take place in China, up from 11 percent in 2019.”

Laughing at Quibi Is Way More Fun Than Watching Quibi (WIRED): “In the past five years, a cascade of Jackass Icarus narratives have outraged and delighted the public that consumes them. From Fyre Fest to Theranos to the rich parents behind Operation Varsity Blues, this is a flush era for grifting, trickery, and fraud. One of the central pleasures of taking in these stories is watching the players at the center get their comeuppance. They are morality fables, capped off with finales that produce shivers. While the emotional response it elicits is similar to that of a scam story, Quibi isn’t a scam. Delighting in Quibi’s foibles is distinct from, say, rejoicing when Elizabeth Holmes’ hubris was finally exposed. What’s the difference? Quibi is a good, clean goof, a majestically pure screw-up. No malice, no harm—just a flop. It’s ‘snackable.’ It is a symptom of a fundamentally absurd system, an example of the rot of Hollywood patronage and American kakistocracy.”

What’s the Point of a Fashion Magazine Now? (The New York Times): “Fashion magazines are vehicles for luxury fantasies … The new coronavirus pandemic and lockdown orders have derailed those dreams. As a result, fashion magazines have been derailed both in production and purpose … From a creative standpoint, editors and publishers said they are taking advantage of the chaos. It’s an excuse to try new things; to shake up familiar visuals and stale formats; to introduce more originality at a time when the line between editorial content and advertising is blurrier than ever.”

Meet Your Career Coach—You May Know Her as Mom (The Wall Street Journal): “With many college grads sheltering at home since March, parents are stepping in to steer their job searches … About half of graduating seniors said they enlist parents or relatives in looking for jobs, but only 26% of those said family members were a useful resource … Entry-level postings in May fell almost 70% to 14,752 open jobs from 45,531 in May 2019.”

The Porn Industry’s Biggest Scandal Is Also an Unsolved Mystery (Vanity Fair): “Traci Lords was the biggest porn star in the world in the mid 1980s. Then, in July of ’86, it was revealed in dramatic fashion—the FBI busting down Traci’s door—that she’d been underage for virtually her entire adult career … Traci’s story … properly told, provides the key … to understanding late-20th-century and early-21st-century American pop culture.”

Sézane‘s Summer Archives sale has been restocked. Shipping is free to the U.S. on orders over $200; returns are free on all orders. My picks: Odalie Dress, Alienor Dress, Magdalena Jumpsuit, Giovana Dress, Marisa Blouse, Annie Dress, Cecilia Jumpsuit, Maelys Dress, Alexandra Dress, Emilia dress, and Rick Top.

Welcome to the New Buffet, Which Isn’t a Buffet Anymore (The Washington Post): “Buffets — along with salad bars, hot bars, continental breakfasts, condiment stations and anything else that allowed customers to serve themselves — were one of the earliest victims of the pandemic … the problem is people, in all our glorious and maddening unpredictability … buffets … require vigilance, from people on both sides of the line. Cooks and managers must monitor the food to make sure hot dishes stay hot and cold dishes stay cold. They must switch out common utensils on the regular to keep them clean and sanitized. They must toss food that has sat for two hours or longer at room temperature. But even with careful management, a buffet is only as sanitary as its customers, and this is where the horror stories multiply faster than bacteria on room-temperature tilapia.”

End of $600 Unemployment Bonus Could Push Millions Past the Brink (The New York Times): “The benefits program, Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, expires at the end of July … Most will be left with regular unemployment benefits, which total only a few hundred dollars a week in many states. That means that more than 20 million Americans could soon see their weekly income fall by half or more … Congress returned from recess this week to consider a new relief package, which could include at least a partial extension of the extra unemployment benefits … But Congress seems unlikely to act before benefits lapse. And because of the antiquated computer systems in many state unemployment offices, which do the processing, it could take weeks to restart payments. That means that millions are likely to see their income drop at least temporarily.”

As $600-a-Week Jobless Aid Nears End, Congress Faces a Quandary (The Wall Street Journal): “… analysts say the $15 billion a week in federal spending has provided vital support to an economy staggering from the effects of the pandemic. But critics say the money, paid on top of regular state jobless benefits, discourages some Americans from returning to work as businesses try to reopen, holding back the recovery. A University of Chicago study found 68% of unemployed workers who are eligible for benefits receive more in jobless payments than their lost earnings—with the median payment 34% more than their former weekly paychecks … The Labor Department reported … that more than 30 million Americas were receiving unemployment benefits in late June through either regular state programs, which cover about 90% of workers, or a new pandemic assistance program. However, economists caution that inconsistent state reporting with the new program likely means the number is inflated. States drew $16.32 billion from the federal government to pay the $600 enhanced benefit for the week ended July 11 … That would pay for 27.2 million $600 payments, but the total likely includes some back payments.”

♥ Recently ordered: Uniqlo Tucked Shorts (the Uniqlo sale section has just been refreshed and is worth a browse!), J. Crew Front-Pocket Cropped Sweater-Blazer, Pendleton Long-Sleeve Thermal Henley, and TOMS Alpargata Slip-On.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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