Weekly Link Roundup: August 14, 2020

♥ One of my favorite Nordstrom Anniversay Sale items is the FP Movement Moon Rising Long Sleeve Top (read more reviews here), and it’s starting to sell out before I can feature it so I thought I’d plug it again. It has a relaxed (and slightly cropped) fit, and is most practical worn over a base layer (and you can wear it with the twisted-side in front). The sale has now opened to all Nordstrom cardholders.

All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go (The New York Times): “Social feeds have lately teemed with … colorful, often wickedly over-the-top fashion portraits and selfies. They proliferate these days on strikingly varied individual accounts and with hashtags like #quarantinelookoftheday and #quarantinefashionchallenge, reinforcing a sense of joy and connection, serving as a platform for self-promotion … and restoring, for many, a sense of self as fragile and faded as an old postcard … To some social media die-hards, posting in that kind of vacuum is life affirming … The impulse to fan out one’s feathers can be deeply ingrained.”

What Happens to All of the Unsold Clothes? (The Wall Street Journal): “In the U.S., brands and retailers locked out of an entire fashion season are flooding charities with unsold products, in addition to sending goods to discount stores and liquidators … In France, home to much of the world’s luxury fashion industry, the government this year passed the world’s first law forbidding companies from destroying unsold, usable goods. The European Union has proposed a similar ban that would cover the entire 27-nation bloc … LVMH said it works with a specialized recycler … to avoid the destruction of unsold goods … jewels and precious metals are recovered. Items bearing the logo of a brand are shredded and reincarnated as fiber or insulation.”

Vanity Can Be Fatal (The Economist): “Elizabethan women caked themselves in ‘ceruse’: white lead diluted with pungent vinegar, a mixture that had ghastly side-effects, including baldness and tooth loss … In the late 19th century American companies sold popular ‘arsenic wafers’, an edible make-up that promised to clear up freckles and blemishes.”

Lost Summer: How Schools Missed a Chance to Fix Remote Learning (The New York Times): “… American educators spent the late spring and summer planning to welcome students back to classrooms. They did so at a time when the outbreak appeared to be under control, and the message from politicians, pediatricians and many parents was clear: Reopening schools, in person, was a priority to restart the economy and educate children … Most of the country’s largest districts settled on some mix of in-person and remote learning, but they have been forced to shelve those plans in recent weeks as virus cases soar in their communities. Of the nation’s 15 largest school systems, only two, New York City and Hawaii, now plan to start the year with open classrooms, even part-time … Local control of education is a centuries-old American tradition, but one that may not be well suited to emergency planning during a pandemic.”

Is Spain’s Royal Family Finished? (Foreign Policy): “… 82-year-old Juan Carlos I, the king of Spain from 1975 to 2014, announced his decision to leave the country … The most recent royal flight from Spain has been presented by both Juan Carlos and Felipe as a last-ditch attempt to save the monarchy from further reputational damage. But it’s hard to believe that the former king is not more concerned about protecting himself from Swiss and Spanish authorities and from the backlash that will follow if their inquiries prove justified … The Spanish monarchy is at a critical moment in its history, with polls suggesting that Spaniards are roughly split down the middle over whether Spain should remain a constitutional monarchy or become a republic once more.”

♥ Shop J. Crew’s “End of Season” sale and take an extra 70% off final sale styles (enter code EPIC at checkout); shipping is free on all orders for J. Crew Rewards members (membership is free). My picks: Cashmere Crewneck Sweater, Eyelet Flutter-sleeve Slub T-shirt, Diagonal Cable-knit Crewneck Sweater, Silk Organza Slip Skirt, Daisy-chain Peplum Top, Pleated Midi Skirt, and Parke Blazer in Stretch Linen.

Stir-Crazy Travelers Are Ordering Airline Food to Relive the Flying Experience (The Wall Street Journal): “… in the age of coronavirus, with most flights canceled and vacation plans ruined, would-be fliers are now longing for a taste of a trip that could have been. Erstwhile travelers snapped up 40,000 snack packs from Imperfect Foods that were originally destined for JetBlue and another airline.”

Retail Chains Abandon Manhattan: ‘It’s Unsustainable’ (The New York Times): “In the heart of Manhattan, national chains including J.C. Penney, Kate Spade, Subway and Le Pain Quotidien have shuttered branches for good. Many other large brands, like Victoria’s Secret and the Gap, have kept their high-profile locations closed in Manhattan, while reopening in other states … New York’s stringent lockdown and methodical reopening may have brought the virus to heel … but it is also wreaking havoc on businesses with so few people going to work, virtually no visitors and many residents … worried for their health.”

Now That Everyone Has Sweatpants, What Else Do They Want to Buy? (The Business of Fashion): “In the US, consumer spending is down just 6 percent compared with the start of the year … Online sales of exercise equipment in the US were up 183 percent year-on-year in June … Biking, in particular, saw a huge uptick … Online home improvement spend in the US increased 64 percent year-over-year in June, while home furnishings e-commerce sales were up 110 percent … At the RealReal, sales of Cartier earrings are currently up 40 percent month-on-month, while sales of gold necklaces have surged with 72 percent month-on-month growth. Moda Operandi’s fine jewellery sales have increased 35 percent since the pandemic. Indie fine jewellery businesses report similar results.”

Where Will Everyone Go? (ProPublica): “For most of human history, people have lived within a surprisingly narrow range of temperatures, in the places where the climate supported abundant food production. But as the planet warms, that band is suddenly shifting north … By 2070, the kind of extremely hot zones, like in the Sahara, that now cover less than 1% of the earth’s land surface could cover nearly a fifth of the land, potentially placing 1 of every 3 people alive outside the climate niche where humans have thrived for thousands of years.”

Publishers Are Investing in a Second Generation of Audio Articles (The Wall Street Journal): “Unlike podcasts, which are often free and include advertising, publishers tend to keep most of their audio articles ad-free and behind a paywall. They are also cheaper to make than podcasts because the reporting has already been done and they don’t need production add-ons such as music … Not all publishers are ready to let go of voice talent. Apple’s operating systems include text-to-speech technology that users can apply in a variety of ways, but the company hired an audiobook director to cast voice artists for its Apple News+ audio articles. The New York Times has also stuck with real human voices. Along with its work with professional voice artists, Audm is training reporters and columnists to read their own stories.”

Nordstrom Uses Influencers to Promote Safety and Draw Anxious Shoppers (The New York Times): “Even before the coronavirus pandemic, retailers were struggling to get more people into stores. Now foot traffic to malls, including outdoor shopping centers, is down about 30 percent from last year … It was down as much as 57 percent earlier this year, as widespread shutdowns essentially ended in-person shopping in many areas of the country. By hiring influencers to highlight safety measures, retailers, especially those that sell apparel and other discretionary goods, are trying to restore a sense of normalcy to activities like in-store shopping that were utterly banal six months ago but now may seem dangerous to many customers. Influencers are offering a reintroduction of sorts with their posts.”

Uber Ridership Has Cratered and No One Knows When It’ll Come Back (The Washington Post): “… the ride-hail industry may take months or even years to start to recover, but companies already are seeing ridership vary according to what cities are reopening, recovering or reimposing restrictions … Markets such as Hong Kong and New Zealand, which were hailed as early success stories in fighting the pandemic, exceeded their pre-pandemic ridership. But U.S. ridership has continued to suffer. Uber said gross bookings on rides were down 75 percent in the three months through June … Lyft … said its April ridership was down 75 percent from April 2019.”

♥ Starting today, shop Sephora’s store re-opening event (in store or online) and take $15 off $75 or $20 off $100 with code WELCOMEBACK. Terms here. In my bathroom: Fresh Soy Makeup Removing Face Wash, dae Daily Shampoo, Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair!™ Deep Conditioning Hair Mask, L’Occitane Cleansing And Softening Shower Oil, Perricone MD Firming Eye Lift, Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel, and Shiseido Urban Environment Sunscreen SPF 42.

Would You Trust a Lawyer Bot With Your Legal Needs? (The Wall Street Journal): “These services have attracted users largely by promising to save them money and time, as well as allowing them to draft documents or pursue smaller-value disputes without shouldering the high costs of hiring a lawyer. Many of the services work the same way: Using information from the user, a program draws on stores of legal data to intelligently fill out a small-claims court filing, challenge a fine or write a cease-and-desist letter. Because the algorithm is tuned to make the optimal choices on the user’s behalf, it theoretically results in a better outcome than a person would get on his or her own. If the dispute subsequently becomes more complex, however, people might find themselves in over their heads … The question of who would be responsible for an erroneous filing by a legal bot on your behalf is largely unanswered by courts around the world.”

Here’s What Extreme Heat Looks Like: Profoundly Unequal (The New York Times): “… a hotter planet does not hurt equally. If you’re poor and marginalized, you’re likely to be much more vulnerable to extreme heat. You might be unable to afford an air-conditioner, and you might not even have electricity when you need it. You may have no choice but to work outdoors under a sun so blistering that first your knees feel weak and then delirium sets in. Or the heat might bring a drought so punishing that, no matter how hard you work under the sun, your corn withers and your children turn to you in hunger … Extreme heat is not a future risk. It’s now.”

Number Fever: The Pepsi Contest That Became a Deadly Fiasco (Bloomberg): “Why had the contest sparked such anger? It was the money, of course, but it wasn’t only that. The scandal tapped into rising anticolonial sentiment in the Philippines, which was then flaring over the American military presence. Following fraught, failed negotiations, the U.S. was withdrawing from the last of its six bases. The closures were a victory for nationalists, but they came at the cost of hundreds of millions of dollars in yearly aid and tens of thousands of jobs.”

Brooks Brothers Poised to Be Acquired by Authentic Brands-Simon Venture (The Wall Street Journal): “… apparel-licensing firm Authentic Brands Group LLC and mall owner Simon Property Group Inc. [are] poised to take control of the bankrupt retailer … Sparc Group LLC, the Authentic Brands-Simon venture, had bid $305 million for Brooks Brothers last month. That ‘stalking horse’ offer includes a commitment to keep 125 Brooks Brothers stores open. The retailer has roughly 200 stores in North America. The Sparc offer had been subject to better bids, but the deadline for rival offers passed last week … Sparc owns hundreds of Aéropostale, Forever 21 and Nautica stores.”

♥ Recently purchased: Alice + Olivia Rosio Lace-Trimmed Stretch-Knit Top (! Can’t believe this top is on sale… and still available in all sizes), Eric Javits Champ Visor, MsLure Double Breasted Belted Trench Dress, Lancôme Advanced Génifique Trio, Helen Kaminski Wide Brim Raffia Hat, Free People Side Swept Ruffle French Terry Hoodie, and Madewell Kent Colorblock Cardigan.

Have a great weekend!

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