Weekly Link Roundup: February 12, 2021

♥ Until 02/15/2021, take an extra 25% off clearance styles at Nordstrom Rack; online prices as marked. Shipping is free on orders over $89. My picks:

The Best Fashion to Wear When You Can Dress Up Again (The Wall Street Journal): “Moda Operandi’s eveningwear sales in January this year were 98 percent higher than for December 2020. Pieces that have sold recently include a $6,900 feather-trimmed pink-silk kaftan-style dress from Valentino, a nearly sheer strappy black calf-length gown from Jacquemus ($680) and a frilly, floral one-shouldered cocktail dress from Giambattista Valli for $3,510 … Luxe stores like Bergdorf Goodman are seeing interest in high-fashion offerings … embellished, one-of-a-kind coats from Los Angeles–based brand Libertine, which sell for $6,000 to $12,000, have been on the bestseller list weekly, and gowns for special occasions are still finding success, including a one-off Khaite dress created for the store.”

LVMH To Close Rihanna’s Fenty Fashion House (The Business of Fashion): “Less than two years after its launch, LVMH and Rihanna have agreed to cease operations of her Paris-based fashion line Fenty … the brand’s $300 sunglasses and $950 denim coats have not had the same broad relevance as the pop singer’s $35 matte foundation … LVMH-backed private equity giant L Catterton will invest in her Savage X Fenty lingerie line … LVMH said it remained committed to the ‘Fenty ecosystem,’ but its ongoing focus will be on cosmetics, skincare and lingerie.”

The Myth That Gets Men Out of Doing Chores (The Atlantic): “… messiness has two ingredients: making messes, and then not cleaning them up … People’s mess-creating tendencies have not attracted much attention from researchers, but sex does not seem to be a reliable predictor of some innate ability to muck up a space … if men are generally messier than women, the root of that gap might lie in how much of the burden of cleaning up is pushed onto women by cultural default. This pattern matches up with the distribution of chores in practice: In the U.S., women on average spend about an hour a day cleaning and doing laundry, compared with roughly 20 minutes a day for men.”

TikTok Stars and Social Media Creators Can Now Join Hollywood’s Top Union (The New York Times): “There is no minimum follower count for influencers who want to join the union, although eligibility for health and pension plans is based on certain work requirements … Performers within the union are more likely to get work on a variety of film and TV projects, and it provides many with access to health and pension plans. Aspiring actors may toil away for months or even years as unnamed extras in order to earn enough credits to qualify. Now, the definition of covered work within the union has expanded to include what successful creators do, which is make sponsored content for brands. It’s the latest sign that the business of influence has become a crucial part of the entertainment industry and a gigantic revenue stream: Brands are poised to spend up to $15 billion on influencer marketing by 2022, up from $8 billion in 2019 … SAG-AFTRA’s new agreement opens membership up to more YouTubers, TikTokers, Snapchat stars and anyone else creating sponsored videos or voice overs.”

Civil Rights v Civil Liberties At the ACLU (The Economist): “Rights subject to a partisan interpretation are not secure (never mind civil). It is also especially threatening to the rights organisation that would naturally hold the line against Mr Trump … Left-leaning, though non-partisan, the ACLU has traditionally maintained its influence by suing the governments of both parties in roughly equal measure … Illiberalism is on the rise on the left as well as the right. Polls of college students suggest they are more worried about offensive language than free speech … And the same woke spirit, increasingly evident in boardrooms and newsrooms, has reached the ACLU. The organisation’s transgender activism elides sex and gender identity. The ACLU’s deputy director for transgender justice suggested last year that a book hostile to that unscientific view should be banned. He was tweeting in a personal capacity … and an organisation dedicated to free speech cannot object to that. Yet the ACLU ’s decades-old claim that its work on civil rights and civil liberties are mutually reinforcing is under pressure.”

These People Rushed to Buy Homes During Covid. Now They Regret It. (The Wall Street Journal): “… a cardinal rule of home buying is that you shouldn’t rush into a purchase. But in 2020, millions of Americans did just that … At the same time, inventory dropped as many homeowners hesitated to list their properties in the pandemic. The result is that much of the country saw a price spike and bidding wars … leaving buyers with little to choose from. In these conditions, many are tempted to waive inspections or skip other due diligence they would normally perform before buying a home … A HomeAdvisor report found that Americans did an average of 1.2 emergency home repairs in 2020, up from 0.4 in 2019, while emergency home spending jumped to an average of $1,640, up $124 from the 2019 average.”

The Issues With SPACs (The New York Times): “The blank-check company boom shows no signs of slowing, with SPACs — or special purpose acquisition companies — raising nearly $26 billion in January … Bill … Ackman’s SPAC is the largest, raising $4 billion last year. (He has yet to name an acquisition target.) Other financiers getting in on the SPAC-tion include the tech investor Chamath Palihapitiya, the veteran banker Michael Klein and the buyout specialist Alec Gores, all of whom have multiple SPACs. Yesterday, the former N.F.L. quarterback Colin Kaepernick filed for his own SPAC.”

♥ I am really loving Ann Taylor‘s spring collection, a preview of which can be found here. On my wishlist: Tweed Cardigan Jacket, Back Pleated Trench Coat, Alena Slingback Kitten Heels, Knit Blazer, Tipped Shoulder Button Sweater Dress, and Lizzette Gingham Wrap Sandals.

Levi’s CEO Says Baggy Jeans Are Making a Comeback (Bloomberg): “Tight jeans have held strong as the dominant style for years as wardrobe staples … But renewed attention to roomier pants may finally provide more variety on denim shelves … The denim label started selling a baggier line of jeans this past season in both men’s and women’s, and it’s off to a fast start … The loose-straight fit, much less snug than the skinny, has also performed well.”

What I Learned About Love When I Stopped Being Honest (The Atlantic): “As I experimented with small talk, I noticed how others used honesty to establish intimacy. I’d always seen ‘hiding feelings’ as cowardly, but for other people, the selectiveness of their honesty was what gave it meaning. They’d choose who was special enough to hear their secrets. My indiscriminate, automatic honesty had meant that I’d tell a personal story the same way to a stranger as I would to my closest friend; that cheapened anything I shared. Anyone who loved me wanted to see a side that I didn’t show others, but I hadn’t saved one for them. Immediate honesty was impatient; if I wanted people to be honest with me, I had to earn it … These days, I try to save my honesty for those who want it. And when someone won’t be honest with me, I can understand why. I still hope people will give me the unvarnished truth. But sometimes we have to start with the script to build enough trust to throw it away.”

Why Millennials and Gen Z Are Opting for Comfy Shoes Made for Grandparents (The Wall Street Journal): “In 2021, practical walking shoes are being curiously co-opted by spry 20- and 30-somethings. What footwear falls into this category? Anything that you could pilfer from a retirement-home denizen: for example, the outdoorsy Merrell Jungle Moc with its tractioned rubber sole; Keen’s springy, elasticized Uneek sandal; and the extremely gray Journey Mesh sneaker … which boasts a ‘Tripad Technology’ shock-absorbing sole. Men have long sought comfort from their shoes, but the pandemic has led them to prioritize comfort over presentability or panache … The sneaker market is also tremendously overloaded and overhyped these days, which has some shoppers falling back on these reliable, restrained shoes.”

How Birkenstock Became a Luxury Target (The Business of Fashion): “Birkenstock is now reportedly an acquisition target for L Catterton, the private equity firm whose shareholders include LVMH and Groupe Arnault … The high-fashion interest in the centuries-old brand reflects a wider shake-up in the market and long-term shifts in the way people dress. The pandemic has accelerated the broader trend of casualisation in fashion … It’s a trend that’s particularly apparent in footwear. Global shoe sales declined almost 20 percent to $286 billion last year … In the second quarter of 2020 … Birkenstock’s Arizona sandals were the world’s hottest shoes according to Lyst … Searches for the sandal spiked 225 percent year-on-year in the quarter. Meanwhile, the brand’s closed-toe Boston clogs proved a hit during the winter months among both men and women. The shearling-lined version of the clog was the second-hottest women’s product of the fourth quarter, according to Lyst. Overall, the number of Birkenstocks selling out online in the US and UK has increased 43 percent year-on-year over the past six months … New ownership could help Birkenstock scale in international markets, especially in the US and in Asia, though there’s room to grow in Europe too. The brand holds a 0.2 percent share of the footwear market in the UK and a 1.6 percent share in its home market of Germany.”

Don’t Call It a Department Store (The Business of Fashion): “Nordstrom suffered during pandemic lockdowns and expects to be down more than 20 percent in the fourth quarter … But online sales have increased, just as they have for other players, and are expected to make up half of the company’s revenue going forward. The company expects revenue to increase by more than 25 percent in its 2021 fiscal year, surpassing 2019. In the next few years, it projects sales will increase by $3 billion to $4 billion with most of that growth happening in 2021. However, there are further challenges ahead … Nordstrom wants to expand its selection, increasing the styles available on the site from 300,000 to 1.5 million. Unencumbered by physical store space, it hopes to increase its home goods inventory by five times in the next three to five years … It also wants to offer brands as many ways of selling products on its website as possible. That means, while the traditional wholesale model will remain, some brands will be sold through a drop-ship model, others will be sold through e-concession and some will cut a deal to share revenue. The goal is to reduce wholesale to 50 percent of sales, down from 85 percent.”

Here’s What the Ladies of Sex & the City Should Wear in 2021 (Vogue): “Raise your hand if you purchased a ballet pink tutu with the hopes of parading down the streets of New York like Carrie Bradshaw. OK, you’re not alone—even Hedi Slimane sent out some tulle skirts and tiaras during his Saint Laurent tenure in the 2010s, though those were in homage to a different style icon. But in today’s world, the true statement-making frock is less tulle, more hoop skirt. Balenciaga’s full-skirted cake-toppers seem like the obvious choice for a 2021 woman who is looking to be seen on the sidewalk and the side of a bus. Surely there would be some comedy trying to take it off for a romantic night with Big or Big’s replacement, too.”

Select Longchamp styles are up to 40% off at Bloomingdale’s right now, including the Le Pliage Neo Large Nylon Tote in Nordic Blue and the Le Pliage Large Nylon Shoulder Tote in Khaki Green.

The Limits of the Lunchbox Moment (Eater): “The lunchbox moment doesn’t require the reader to think about how class, religion, or caste could all change an immigrant’s experience. It doesn’t point out all the invisible ways immigrants and people of color are made to feel unwelcome. It doesn’t allow for muted or shifting feelings, or the complications of systemic racism. It’s just the hard clarity of Us v. Them, Shame v. Triumph, a white boy telling you you’re gross and a different white boy telling you he actually likes lumpia. The white gaze expects brown suffering, and even if these stories of shame and bullying are true, they can also serve to enforce that suffering. Suddenly, belonging means catering to the stories white people assume we carry.”

On the Road to Recovery, Canada Emerges as an Unlikely Luxury Player (The Business of Fashion): “… while Canadian e-commerce sales were up 75.9 percent year-over-year in November, they still only accounted for 7.4 percent of the country’s total retail sales … In comparison, that share reached 14.3 percent in the third quarter in the US … shipping is slower and more expensive in Canada than in the US and inventory is far more limited … Canada’s two luxury hubs — Toronto and Vancouver — have proven to be resilient markets because they’re less reliant on tourist dollars than their US counterparts … That customer is also growing in number … the influx of Chinese wealth in recent years has led to unprecedented interest from top-tier brands and retailers … Its biggest lifeline, though, may be its personal shopping business, which accounts for an estimated 15 percent of the retailer’s total sales. Again, locals play a role: those high net-worth clients who use the service have … maintained their incomes and seen their stock portfolios soar throughout the pandemic while finding fewer outlets to spend their money. This phenomenon has helped the luxury industry rebound even as other parts of the fashion industry seem poised for a long downturn.”

‘Framing Britney’ Exposes a Problem Bigger Than Britney (USA Today): “Gender experts say the ’90s was a decade of contradiction. Women continued to break barriers in male-dominated professions, daughters of second wave feminists came of age and the riot grrrl movement pushed for social change. But there were also the empty promises of ‘girl power,’ the narrow beauty standards of teen magazines, and a hostile 24/7 media machine that sought to objectify and demonize girls and women at every turn … Watching how Spears was treated sent signals to her fans about where the guardrails were, what they could get away with and what they never would. It highlighted what the culture valued … Experts say girls and women today are savvier consumers of news and entertainment than they were in the 1990s, which may help them ward off some social pressures, but at the same time American culture is still steeped in structural misogyny. It’s still easier to call an individual woman ‘crazy’ than it is to look at a society that treats her mental health as expendable.”

This Myspace Reincarnation Is Bringing Me So Much Joy (Gizmodo): “Coded entirely by an 18-year-old from Germany named An, Spacehey is near carbon copy of the OG social network’s design in its early 2000s glory days … the new network, which looks entirely like the old network, launched last November and so far has attracted about 55,000 users worldwide … An says Spacehey is more than just a Myspace clone, though. He’s very active on the platform, responding directly to user complaints and unafraid to throw down the ban-hammer on anyone spreading hate speech and harassment on the network. That’s not only a welcome change of pace in the overall social media landscape, but is also in direct contrast to the approach Facebook and Twitter have taken over the years when dealing with misinformation and hate groups.”

How One Employer Stuck a New Mom With an $898,984 Bill for Her Premature Baby (ProPublica): “As health care costs continue to rise, employers are shifting the expense to their workers — cutting back on what they’ll cover or pumping up premiums and out-of-pocket costs. But a premature baby, delivered with gaspingly high medical claims, creates a sort of benefits bomb, the kind an employer — especially one funding its own benefits — might look for a way to dodge altogether.”

♥ Recently purchased: The North Face Hyalite Down Jacket, The North Face Saikuru Puffer Jacket, Jonathan Simkhai Nina Plisse Dress, SAM. Freestyle Down Jacket, Free People Swim Too Deep Sweater, and Patagonia Radalie Thermogreen-Insulated Jacket.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Hi, I am Elle!

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