Weekly Link Roundup: November 6, 2020

I (tried and) failed to complete several election-related posts this week, and none of the fashion-related content felt appropriate to post during such uncertain times. I do need the frivolity and escapism that this blog provides, though, so will likely return with regular programming next week…

I replaced my baking equipment recently and haven’t stopped baking since. One recipe I am playing with right now is Claire Saffitz’s Malted “Forever” Brownies from her book Dessert Person.

Butter Sales Are Booming as We Anxiety-Bake Our Way Through the Nine Circles of Hell (Eater): “Land O’ Lakes said in a statement that … it ‘expects butter sales to reach 275 million to 300 million pounds in 2020, an increase of more than 20% from a normal year.’ “

What Comes After Sweatpants (The Business of Fashion): “Brands that profited from the comfy clothing boom at the start of the pandemic know there are only so many pairs of sweats they can sell. But rather than pivot right back to suits and button-down tops, many labels are easing customers back to fitted clothing … The number of new denim styles featuring elastic waistbands jumped 35 percent between September and October … Some companies are redesigning their garments to fit the current relaxation craze, adding a drawstring with the elasticised waist. But many simply blend up to 15 percent of synthetic material, such as polyester, spandex or elastane, into an existing design to soften the fabric … A McKinsey & Company study found that 54 percent of shoppers in August believe practicality and comfort are very important decision factors when it comes to buying clothing (up from 32 percent in April). Fashion and style are only important to 28 percent of shoppers … up nine percent since April.”

Denmark Plans to Cull Its Mink Population After Coronavirus Mutation Spreads to Humans (Reuters): “Denmark will cull its mink population of up to 17 million after a mutation of the coronavirus found in the animals spread to humans … Health authorities found virus strains in humans and in mink which showed decreased sensitivity against antibodies, potentially lowering the efficacy of future vaccines … Authorities in Denmark said five cases of the new virus strain had been recorded on mink farms and 12 cases in humans, and that there were between 15 million and 17 million mink in the country. Outbreaks at mink farms have persisted in the Nordic country, the world’s largest producer of mink furs, despite repeated efforts to cull infected animals since June.”

‘I Wanted to Meet a Mate and Have a Baby Without Wasting Time’: The Rise of Platonic Co-parenting (The Guardian): “In a world where biological science and equal rights have diversified ways to start a family, platonic co-parenting – the decision to have a child with someone you are not romantically involved with and, in most cases, choose not to live with – remains a relatively new phenomenon. Well established in gay communities, along with egg and sperm donation, it is on the rise among heterosexual singles. Tens of thousands have signed up to matchmaking sites at a cost of around £100 a year … It is impossible to calculate how many children have been born this way; bigger websites unscientifically guess that they have been responsible for about 1,000 births each.”

Is This the End of the Manicure? (The New York Times): “As life in quasi-quarantine began to feel normal, naked nails did, too. Now, salons are back in (socially distanced) business, but some former polish devotees are opting to go without, and noticing naturally beautiful nails as a result … An interest in health is perhaps an obvious outcome of a pandemic, but it’s still a novel interest in the nail care space. The typical manicure, even one that uses so-called clean and free-from formulas, harms the health of the nail and the health of the whole.”

Restaurant Dress Codes Frequently Target Black Customers. It’s Past Time for Them to Go. Outdoors (Eater): “… dress codes ‘are perhaps the last ‘acceptable’ way for restaurants and bars to scrutinize and discriminate against Black patrons, and those ‘at the discretion of management’ disclaimers just serve to underline their purpose.’ And yet, despite the rounds of news outrage, some restaurants still insist on implementing them … With a pandemic raging across the country, and nationwide protests fighting anti-Black racism, restaurants are facing a unique opportunity to change how business is done, and an imperative to make things equitable. One small step in this direction is to abolish dress codes … Those types of dress codes come with an air of plausible deniability, and the excuse that if a white person were to dress the same way, they too would be denied entry. But most of the time, non-Black people wind up slipping by the code … Getting rid of dress codes is about more than just business savvy. Most importantly, doing away with hard rules about dress means doing away with the ability to enforce prejudice.”

♥ The Uniqlo “Singles Day” sale has started; the discounts are lukewarm: take $5-$15 off select styles. I’d suggest checking out the sale section, where most sale styles have been further marked down, like the Ultra Stretch Legging Pants in Beige (now $9.90, sizes still complete; see the “off white” on me here).

I Watched My Friend Dying on Facebook. But It Was All a GoFundMe Scam. (OneZero): “Over the previous months of crowdfunding, Cindy’s close friends had turned to the media in the hope that coverage could help with desperately needed fundraising. In mid-March … a local reporter named Nicole O’Reilly started to become skeptical of Cindy’s plight. She interviewed Cindy’s best friend and sister, but neither was able to provide key details about her condition … Then in May, the bottom fell out. A Cindy Facebook supporter who also happened to live nearby posted that she’d seen Cindy leaving her apartment. Cindy was neither blind nor confined to a wheelchair — in fact, she was walking on her own, carrying a basket of laundry. A new reality dawned on the group: They’d been ripped off … A police investigation … determined that Cindy never had CIDP, and she was never dying. She managed to dupe a couple of unwitting close friends into helping her fool hundreds of people online, they found, but the internet … really did most of the work … In the virtual world, just as IRL, women are the default caregivers and the suppliers of empathy. And perhaps, because of that prevailing norm, the women who fake being sick are more likely to appreciate the compassion they receive for the lie, to perceive the hit of validation it delivers as a form of social currency.”

L’Oréal Turns to Google as Coronavirus Spurs Virtual Makeup Shift (Reuters): “Maybelline maker L’Oreal OREP.PA, which returned to comparable sales growth in the third quarter when coronavirus restrictions eased, has sped up some of its web initiatives as a result of the pandemic … People seeking lipsticks or eye shadows by L’Oreal brands, which include Lancome and Urban Decay, who come across their adverts on Google or YouTube can then try them online.”

How the ‘Nap Dress’ Went Viral (The Business of Fashion): “Hill House Home had built a solid business selling high-end bedding and towels before branching into leisure apparel last year. The nap dress was an instant hit, but the pandemic supercharged its appeal, turning it from a bestseller into a blockbuster. By the end of the year, it will account for 50 percent of Hill House Home’s business. Runaway sales are expected to drive a revenue increase of 300 percent this year.”

What Is Luxury? A Major New Exhibition Offers an Answer (Bloomberg): “… the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris [opened] an expansive exhibition devoted to luxury … luxury in the 21st century ‘is a new universal language: If you land at an airport in Shanghai or are walking around Mexico City, you’ll see the same logos’ … Luxury as a topic, in other words, isn’t simply about nice things. It’s about the evolution of culture.”

Sézane’s winter collection drops this Sunday… and it’s full of pretty things. At the top of my wishlist: the Roy Jumper.

How the Coronavirus Hacks the Immune System (The New Yorker): “… disease—the predation of parasites upon hosts—is actually the most potent force in evolution … The coronavirus … inhibits the interferon response but does nothing about the cytokines; it evades the local defenses but allows the cells it infects to call for reinforcements. White blood cells are powerful weapons: they arrive on an inflammatory tide, destroying cells on every side, clogging up passages with the wreckage. They are meant to be used selectively, on invaders that have been contained in a small area. With the coronavirus, they are deployed too widely—a carpet bombing, rather than a surgical strike. As they do their work, inflammation distends the lungs, and debris fills them like a fog … As the virus spreads unchecked through the body, it drags a destructive immune reaction behind it. Individuals with COVID-19 face the same challenge as nations during the pandemic: if they can’t contain small sites of infection early—so that a targeted response can root them out—they end up mounting interventions so large that the shock inflicts its own damage.”

With France on Lockdown Again, Can Its Culinary Legacy Survive? (Eater): “Rumors and predictions had been ping-ponging between restaurant owners … That anxiety was quickly replaced with resignation when their fate was revealed: a nationwide shutdown that would last at least through December 1 with only essential businesses (bakeries, pharmacies, supermarkets, and wine and tobacco shops) remaining open. And just like in March, restaurants would have less than 24 hours to prepare for the closure and to adjust for takeaway business, should they even want to.”

Why Do People Go to Restaurants? It’s Not About the Food (The Economist): “Restaurants, not exactly public and not exactly private, function as sites of social exchange. Consuming food alongside other people makes us think about what we share: tastes and space, customs and attitudes.”

Residents Feared Low-Income Housing Would Ruin Their Suburb. It Didn’t. (The New York Times): “… most working-age, able-bodied people receiving government assistance for housing have jobs or were recently employed, according to a report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities … Research has shown that tax-credit properties generally do not increase crime in affluent communities. They also tend to have little effect on property values in wealthy neighborhoods, though a Stanford University study found that some nearby home prices fell in more prosperous communities.”

Recently purchased: J. Crew Cashmere Turtleneck Sweater-dress, Madewell Walton Shirt Jacket (this is my… third(?) plaid shacket? I can’t stop buying them!), Five Two by Food52 10 Silicone Straws & Travel Cases, and OOF Front Pocket Pullover Jacket (more sporty layers here).

I know it’s chaos out there, but stay sane! We’ve got this!!

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