Weekly Link Roundup: September 4, 2020

Happy long weekend! I have a sale roundup teed up for the long weekend, so check back later. And thanks for all of your comments and emails about the blogiversary!

J. Crew Gets Green Light for Reorganization Plan (WWD): “… the retailer won approval from a Virginia bankruptcy court for its reorganization plan that would convert some $1.6 billion in debt into equity … the remainder of the retailer’s $400 million debtor-in-possession facility would convert to new term loans, and the plan includes a $400 million exit facility on top of that … The retailer … expects to formally exit the bankruptcy proceedings in early September.”

♥ Shop J. Crew’s “End of Season” sale and take an extra 70% off all sale styles with code BYESUMMER. Shipping is free on all orders for J. Crew Rewards members. Note that most sales are final with the code. My picks:

What Happens When No One Invites You to Their Pandemic Pod? (The New York Times): “For many Americans, the salve for an extended period of limited social interaction has been the quarantine bubble, the informal arrangement with another household to exclusively spend time together. Agree to a set of safety precautions, and there’s a reprieve from the numbing boredom. Add to that the proliferation of learning pods, where families pair up to educate their children at home, and bubbles are seemingly everywhere. But with such exclusive invite lists, not everyone can be on one. For those without a bubble to call their own, the world can feel like a series of tiny cocktail parties that never includes them … People make pod choices for myriad reasons that have nothing to do with you — their children are the same age, they share similar social distancing behaviors, or they have schedules that align. But when you have nothing but time on your calendar, it’s hard to look away from what looks like fun happening on someone else’s social media feed.”

Will Beijing Derail the TikTok Deal? (The Economist): “China’s commerce ministry added certain types of artificial intelligence, as well as personalised information-push technology and data analysis, to a list of products critical to national security. These can no longer be sold abroad without official permission. They are also what makes TikTok tick … There was always ambiguity as to whether the app’s American suitors would get its algorithm. They might have bought only the brand, its users, ad-buying platform and less advanced software. But ByteDance’s recommendation engine is a big part of TikTok’s appeal. It has been honed for years with data from millions of users around the world and displays an uncanny ability to divine peoples’ viewing tastes … Microsoft and Oracle await ByteDance’s decision. They may withdraw their bids or amend them, to take account of the fresh uncertainty over what they would be getting.”

Sent Home to Die (ProPublica): “Nationally, coronavirus patients aged 85 and older died at home only 4% of the time … local coroner records show that in New Orleans, it was 17% … Before they died, about two dozen patients first sought care at a hospital, which then discharged them, in many cases sending them home to die with hospice care. All were Black. The vast majority came from Ochsner Health, the largest hospital network in Louisiana, which treated 60% of the region’s critically ill coronavirus patients … Research has shown that Black families have disproportionately negative experiences with end-of-life care.”

Offices, Zoom, Home-Schooling: How to Dress for Our New Reality (The Wall Street Journal): ”A transitional workplace environment calls for a new kind of hybrid dressing … Even women whose work remains strictly and indefinitely WFH are souring on sweats … Though ready to get dressed again, women aren’t necessarily ready to sacrifice the ease that came with dressing down … customers … have been buying versatile pieces with a forgiving fit.“

The Grandmaster Who Got Twitch Hooked on Chess (Wired): “Nakamura is a five-time US chess champion. At age 15, he was the youngest-ever American prodigy to earn the ‘grandmaster’ title … Chess is having a watershed moment on Twitch … As a category, its popularity has grown six times over since March … Nakamura’s mission to bring a populist movement to chess runs up against the game’s marked culture of elitism. There’s a tendency among some chess devotees to look down on streamers learning, and sometimes making mistakes, so publicly … Plainly, Nakamura does not consider himself better than the pro gamers—just better at chess … Skill recognizes skill.”

One Man’s Plea to His City Council: Rename Boneless Wings (The New York Times): “The U.S.D.A.’s 2005 policy book does not appear to distinguish between boneless and bone-in wings, but says that meat or poultry products cooked with certain mild or spicy sauces can be labeled ‘Buffalo Style’ … Many wing lovers sneer at the boneless variety, which is usually made by deep-frying slices of chicken breast and has become a staple at many restaurants over the last two decades. But wings with bones continued to be more popular in general … More than 60 percent of wings served at restaurants had bones … and most wing buyers felt loyal to their preferred style of chicken.”

You Don’t Know Her (Vulture): “She writes about her childhood as the thing she had to overcome to become Mariah Carey. And because our traumas are like pothos plants, easily propagated from the clippings of the original, her parents’ trauma (her father’s of existing as a Black man in America; her mother’s of familial rejection for marrying a Black man and a career that didn’t come to fruition) became hers to overcome as well … If there’s one thing that makes Carey nervous about the release of this book into the world … it’s that people will misconstrue why she’s talking about a lot of this stuff now … But the current moment does seem to keep giving new context for her experiences … Despite how legends want to be seen, this is probably how we most want to see them. As living proof that a life of ups and downs and hard work and too much work ends with you rich as fuck, sitting next to a violin-shaped pool with the family you’ve created to supplant the one you had to endure.”

What Q2 Says About Apparel (Retail Dive): “About 29% to 30% of consumers have bought clothing recently, almost double the mid-teens percentage in April recorded … Consumers ages 18 to 29 and those in the Northeast … were most likely to have bought clothes, at 35% each.”

Pandemic Tests Shopper Loyalty For Clothing Brands (AP): “… more than 40 retailers have filed for Chapter 11 this year, including roughly two dozen since the pandemic. That’s more than double what was seen for all of 2019 … shoppers, worried about going to physical stores, want quicker deliveries and curbside pickup … To build shoppers loyalty, brands need to ‘create delightful experiences online.’ “

Should You Judge Politicians by Their Shoes? (The Wall Street Journal): “The symbolism of a humble, hole-ridden shoe has a storied history in politics. In 2008, photographer Callie Shell snapped then-senator Barack Obama’s cratered soles up on a desk as he made a phone call during a campaign event. Mr. Obama told Ms. Shell that he had already had his shoes resoled once since entering the race, emphasizing how he’d literally been pounding the pavement. The shot of Mr. Obama’s shoes echoed a 1952 photo showing the carved-out soles on Democratic presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson’s dress shoes. The image framed Mr. Stevenson, an upper-class governor at the time, as more of a man of the people than his critics claimed and the campaign seized the moment. That year it ran a television ad with the not-exactly-catchy jingle, ‘I’d rather have a man with a hole in his shoe than a hole in everything he says.’ Candidates have also used more intact shoes to project a humble image. Through her political career, Sen. Patty Murray of Washington has called herself ‘a mom in tennis shoes’ (a phrase originally flung at her as a dig by a male state representative) to show that she’s both a family woman and a bustling politico.”

Small-Business Failures Loom as Federal Aid Dries Up (The New York Times): “Small businesses have grown more pessimistic as the pandemic has dragged on. In late April, about a third of small businesses surveyed … said they expected it to take more than six months for business to return to normal. Four months later, nearly half say so, and a further 7.5 percent say they do not expect business ever to bounce back fully. About 5 percent say they expect to close permanently in the next six months. The ultimate damage could be much greater … 21 percent of small businesses said they would have to close if conditions did not improve in the next six months. Other private-sector surveys have found similar results. Widespread business failures could cause lasting economic damage. Nearly half of American employees work for businesses with staffs under 500, meaning millions of jobs are at stake. And while new businesses would inevitably spring up to replace those that close, that process will take far longer than simply reopening existing businesses.”

For Wealthy Patients, the Pandemic Is Prime Time to Stock Up on Cosmetic Treatments (Town & Country Magazine): “While some people’s version of beauty hoarding might be filling the fridge with sheet masks, many are loading up on procedures, everywhere from the plastic surgeon to the dermatologist to more budget-friendly medi-spas.”

‘My Divorce Is Cheap. But Self-Care Is Costing Me Thousands.’ (The Cut): “When I look at how much I’m spending on self-care, it’s a really offensive amount, like 20 percent of my take-home pay. And if you add in all the healthy food I’m buying, it’s closer to 30 or 40 percent. I spend 30 percent of my income on rent, and pretty much all my other expenses could qualify as self-care in some way or another … And at the end of the day, nothing would’ve cost me more than being so burned out I lost my job. That’s the alternative.”

Beauty Stocks Face New Reality Amid Coronavirus Pandemic (The Wall Street Journal): “Makeup sales were already softening for about the past two years partly because of some consumers’ increasing preference for a more natural look … U.S. retail sales of color cosmetics are projected to be down 10.6% in 2020 … fewer social occasions, remote work and increased demands for women with children are further curbing interest in products … skin care has been a bright spot. Some consumers have used having more time at home to develop skin-care regimens … this sector relies on touch. So long as health and safety concerns persist, consumers may be less likely to try new brands and experiment with new products.”

Hotels Tout Cleaning, But Guests Say, ‘My Room Was Dirty’ (The New York Times): “Major hotel companies have been promoting new cleaning initiatives since the spring as a way to regain the confidence of the traveling public in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. But some guests at hotels in the United States … say they are not living up to their promises … the pandemic, since the beginning of March, has resulted in more than $341 billion in cumulative losses for the travel industry in the United States … cleanliness, or the lack thereof, is the primary factor for would-be travelers … When presented with eight factors that could determine their next hotel stay, the highest percentage of respondents — 34 percent — reported that cleanliness was the number one factor when choosing a hotel. Other factors included safety, price and location.”

♥ Recently purchased: Free People Sweetheart Mock Neck Sweater, KGVCX Satin Nude Tapered Cut Face Mask, Abercrombie & Fitch Knit Tank and Cardigan Set, and Slip Silk Ribbon & Scrunchie Set.

Have a great weekend!

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