Weekly Link Roundup

Mirror Palais Underwire Polo in Pale Yellow

It’s Crop Top Season, and This Year There’s Even More Skin (The New York Times): “… the extreme crop top look [is] an ‘exploration of sensuality for women, where it doesn’t feel so overtly sexy.’ The style is an extension of lingerie dressing, which became unexpectedly popular early in the pandemic, as a kind of confinement indulgence … More companies are incorporating premium lingerie details into their crop top designs … through slinky ties, French seams, bias binding and underwires — effectively turning crop tops into fancy bras and fancy bras into crop tops.”

PVH Sells Heritage Brands Assets to Authentic Brands Group in $220 Million Deal (The Business of Fashion): “American fashion group PVH said … it is selling off brand trademarks and other assets for IZOD, Van Heusen, Arrow and Geoffrey Beene, as it looks to focus on its core global brands, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger.”

Mismatched Fashion Is Trending. 6 Ways to Master the Blend (The Wall Street Journal): “Less expert dressers need to use more strategy when it comes to the mismatch endeavor, employing equal parts creativity and restraint. The outfit should feel unexpected and effortless, but never thoughtlessly thrown together. It must be cohesive and considered, but not stiffly coordinated. It’s a balance that’s easy to get wrong.”

We All Have “Main-Character Energy” Now (The New Yorker): “… the ‘main character’ archetype … describes any situation in which a person is making herself the center of attention, the crux of a particular narrative, as if cameras were trained on her and her alone. The term can be used appreciatively, acknowledging a form of self-care—putting yourself first—or as an accusation, a calling out of narcissism: a person dressing too extravagantly for a casual event, for example, is trying to be the main character. Main-character moments are those in which you feel ineffably in charge, as if the world were there for your personal satisfaction … Main-character moments are composed with an audience in mind; they’re vicarious spectacles.”

Why Did We Fall for the Angels? (The New York Times): “In some ways, the Victoria’s Secret Angels were part of the commercialization of the high/low moment that defined the cultural tenor of the late 20th century and is still going strong in collaborations everywhere … It had an absurdist and knowing exuberance that appealed to both those who were intellectual slumming it as well as the mass market … Victoria’s Secret understood the allure of the personal brand, hitting just at the moment before Instagram would transform the notion of fame. By naming its Angels and promoting them as people and stars in their own right … they gave models power, profile and security. All of which promised to serve as a springboard into the next stage of a career, not to mention making them more competitive with the actors who increasingly occupied the covers of glossy fashion magazines.”

How Brands Get Customers Addicted to Shopping (The Business of Fashion): “Shein has turned shopping into a game and its customers are playing. Shein recently surpassed Amazon to become the most downloaded shopping app in the US … Shein’s points system is part of a larger trend of “gamification” in shopper loyalty programmes … Gamification also fills a need for many young shoppers to build a relationship with their favourite brands.”

How Trump’s Trade War Built Shein, China’s First Global Fashion Giant (Bloomberg): “… Gen Z and young millennial shoppers have propelled Shein’s rise, in thrall to the company’s never-ending, always-changing catalog of clothes at prices that stretch even the most meager allowance. One recent Thursday, the app debuted 6,239 new items … Anything you want at prices so low you can afford two (or 30). That’s a rush approximating freedom for most people, especially fiscally constrained teens. Their enthusiasm has made Shein the first big fashion success from China, though its origins are nowhere to be found on the app. After doubling in 2019, its annual sales took off during the pandemic, more than tripling last year to make Shein the biggest web-only fashion brand in the world … it’s using a seemingly ingenious combination of supply-chain savvy, data-driven clothing design, and, most intriguingly, tax loopholes in the U.S. and in China that came to the fore during the trade war … Today, Shein pays neither export taxes on most of its products nor, in the case of the U.S., import taxes, an advantage that tilts the playing field heavily against its rivals, particularly as consumers shift to and stay online … Shein’s relatively recent success puts it in uncharted territory. It’s not clear if it can continue to grow as the easing pandemic frees people to shop in physical stores again, and whether it will retain its appeal as its core consumers age out of $5 crop-tops.”

Bill and Melinda Gates’s Epic Divorce Saga Enters Its Next Phase (Vanity Fair): “For years there have been whispers … about inappropriate extramarital relationships. None of it was entirely shocking, despite the seeming contrast with his public persona. Bill and Melinda’s relationship began as an office romance, with Bill as the boss and Melinda as the younger employee whom he flirted with at a conference before asking her out in the company parking lot … It’s not clear how much Melinda knew about her husband’s behavior or these rumors, or how much they factored into her decision to file for divorce. People close to the couple said there had been tension for some time, that they had been living separate lives for years, and that the decision to separate had been delayed until their youngest daughter graduated from high school.”

What Is Going On at Yale Law School? (The New Yorker): “From certain vantage points, everyone in this story looks unsympathetic: the law-school students tattling on their classmates; the women’s group policing the behavior of female faculty; the inscrutable dean; the disgraced Rubenfeld. The most difficult riddle of all, of course, is Amy Chua. There seem to be so many versions of her: the immigrant striver, the iconoclastic writer, the sharp-elbowed networker, the warm and nurturing mentor, and the Hillary Clinton-like spouse—both a victim of and a possible co-conspirator in her husband’s alleged improprieties. And yet, whatever she is, it’s working, to some extent.”

High Heels Are Ready to Stomp Out Crocs and Birks (The New York Times): “Markdowns of high-heeled shoes have dipped in recent months, one indication that those who can afford them are snapping up ‘heels’ at full price … Last year was an anomaly, so it may be too soon to call this a boom … ‘But high-heeled shoes are having a moment right now’ … Google searches of ‘high heels,’ one reliable indicator of demand, have climbed in recent weeks, as consumers presumably scoured the marketplace for shoes to wear to weddings, proms, graduations and other formal events.”

Cowboy Boots in the City? Why Western Style Is Trending (The Wall Street Journal): “Western wear has cycled in and out of fashion over the past decade … Some of the look’s appeal might be rooted in its duality: Western style feels as authentically American and traditionally masculine as John Wayne, but it’s also high camp, a set of symbols that has been riffed on and inverted to signify queerness. The Wild West and its clothes also signify freedom and wide-open spaces—themes that feel particularly relevant after months of lockdowns.”

Kering Invests in Handbag Subscription Service Cocoon (The Business of Fashion): “Cocoon said … the luxury giant has invested in its new funding round … Kering has been particularly active on this front. In March, the luxury group acquired a five percent stake in Paris-based resale platform Vestiaire Collective for an undisclosed sum … London-based Cocoon was founded in 2019 and has raised £2.5 million ($3.5 million) to date … The company, which owns all of its inventory, plans to use the funds from its new investment round to expand its collection and grow its operations as it also looks to build deeper relationships with key brands.”

How a Herd of Elephants Won China’s Internet (The New York Times): “In April of last year, more than a dozen Asian elephants ventured out from a nature preserve in southwest Yunnan province … No one is sure why. To date they have traveled 300-odd miles, leaving a wake of slapstick violence. They’ve broken into kitchens, squashed chickens, poked their trunks through the windows of a nursing home and caused more than $1 million in crop damages. They have been accused of getting drunk on fermented grain. Throughout, they’ve been trailed by a human migration: hundreds of officers, more than 60 emergency vehicles, a fleet of drones and constant media coverage … China’s elephant experts have largely speculated that the herd is moving in response to man-made changes: scarce resources in a changing landscape, and the replacement of small family farms with large, appetizing plantations.”

Shrinkflation Is an Economic Monster Worth Watching (Bloomberg): “This practice became increasingly common in the 1960s and 1970s, when manufacturers confronting runaway inflation tweaked packaging rather than hike prices. At first, the practice attracted relatively little notice: It’s difficult to discern changes in unit prices when they’re camouflaged in different-looking boxes and bags … Some states pushed back on the trend by requiring grocery stores to supply customers with a unit price for every product. Other grocery stores adopted them voluntarily, finding them a useful way to reassure customers that they had their best interests at heart.”

♥ Recently purchased: Free People Short N Sweet Sweater Minidress, Sézane Augustin Jumper, J. Crew Smocked Puff-sleeve Dress in Gingham, Ralph Lauren Polo Sports Cap, BTFBM Muscle Tee Dress, Polo Ralph Lauren Ribbed & Pleated Tank Dress, and Nike Naomi Osaka Utility Shorts.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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