Weekly Link Roundup

♥ For those of you who have started shopping for cooler weather: This adorable BLANKNYC Aran Cable Knit Mock Neck Sweater is about half off at Amazon in a number of sizes (the video shot by Nordstrom shows the color well). Fit-wise, it runs small to size, and is cropped in length.

Why the Crocs Craze May Be Here to Stay (The Business of Fashion): “Over the last few years, Crocs has shifted its image from a polarising clog favoured by [those] who work on their feet to an obsession for hypebeasts and fashion editors alike. The shoes regularly top Amazon’s ranking of top-selling footwear, and ranks eighth among … American teens. The brand expects sales to rise 60 to 65 percent this year, from $1.3 billion in 2020 … The company’s best-sellers are the non-fussy, basic version of its foam clogs, which consumers flocked to during the pandemic as they were shopping for comfort over style. But collaborations with designers like Bembury and celebrities like Diplo and Justin Bieber have helped the company tap into diverse subcultures and fandoms.”

How Shein Became the Chinese Apparel Maker American Teens Love (The Wall Street Journal): “Shein is backed by investors at Sequoia Capital China, and has offices in Guangzhou and Singapore … Shein has no physical stores and exports to customers in more than 220 countries, but it doesn’t sell to mainland China, where competition among low-price apparel makers is intense.”

Your Daily Coffee Habit Is About to Get More Expensive (The New York Times): “Extreme weather has damaged crops in Brazil, the world’s largest coffee exporter. On top of pandemic-related shipping bottlenecks and political protests that stalled exports from Colombia, that has pushed the cost of beans up nearly 44 percent in 2021 … A pound of arabica beans in the futures market, usually $1.20 to $1.40, rose above $2 at the end of July, the highest since 2014.”

♥ (A must watch!) The gold-winning artistic swimming performance at the Tokyo Olympics (NBC Sports on YouTube)

♥ (If you like artistic swimming, here’s the silver-performance at the Tokyo Olympics) Huang Xuechen/Sun Wenyan won silver in synchronized swimming at Tokyo Olympics! (BEAUTY SHOW 4K on YouTube)

♥ (Another event that I really enjoyed is women’s 10m platform diving) PERFECT SCORE: 14-year-old Quan’s all-time diving final wins gold (NBC Sports on YouTube)

What’s Driving Activewear’s Endless Boom? (The Business of Fashion): “In the first half of the year, sales of sport footwear are up 23 percent compared to 2019, while activewear is up 28 percent … Consumers’ ongoing love affair with stretch waistbands has also been supplemented by the return of major sporting events. While the Olympics may be a diminished affair this year, it’s still put sports front-and-centre in the cultural narrative.”

Sending Smiley Emojis? They Now Mean Different Things to Different People (The Wall Street Journal): “People of different ages take different meanings from lots of the little drawings that substitute for words in so many texts and emails … People over 30 generally use emojis to convey what the images always did … while younger ‘digital natives’ might ascribe sarcastic meanings to them, or use them as shorthand for an entirely different thought.”

How the Pandemic Now Ends (The Atlantic): “America … went all in on one countermeasure—vaccines—and traded it off against masks and other protective measures. It succumbed to magical thinking by acting as if a variant that had ravaged India would spare a country where half the population still hadn’t been vaccinated … What we need … is a nimble, comprehensive system that might include regular testing, wastewater monitoring, genetic sequencing, Google-search analyses, and more. It could track outbreaks and epidemics in the same way that weather forecasts offer warnings about storms and hurricanes. Such a system could also monitor other respiratory illnesses, including whatever the next pandemic virus turns out to be.”

My Kids’ School Won’t Reinstate Masks Despite a Recent Surge in COVID Cases. Here’s What I Chose to Do. (ProPublica): “I entered our daughters into a lottery for a virtual-only charter school that had just opened a few hundred additional slots statewide. It was the only free, accredited and teacher-led virtual alternative at the time.”

Shopbop recently further discounted hundreds of styles; here are my final sale picks (please proceed with caution):

Can a Brand Publish a Magazine People Actually Want to Read? (The Business of Fashion): “Brand magazines, at their core, offer a way to build brand awareness and create deeper relationships with customers. The best will draw consumers deeper into a brand’s world without directly trying to sell them anything. This is especially important for DTC brands that have to fight for attention in a crowded field online … A brand’s magazine has to stand on its own, even if it ultimately exists to sell mattresses or lingerie. The best of the genre are filled with unique images and text, rather than user-generated content or repurposed Instagram posts.”

When Amazon Customers Leave Negative Reviews, Some Sellers Hunt Them Down (The Wall Street Journal): “Some sellers are reaching out to unhappy buyers to revise or delete their negative reviews, in exchange for refunds or gift cards. With fewer disgruntled shoppers, the overall average star rating rises.”

MacKenzie Scott’s Money Bombs Are Single Handedly Reshaping America (The New Yorker): “With almost $8.6 billion in gifts announced in just 12 months … she’s focused on propping up needy individuals and the nonprofit industry itself through historic donations to organizations that didn’t see it coming. More than $1.6 billion has gone to education nonprofits and colleges and universities, with historically Black institutions, two year colleges and Hispanic Serving Institutions fielding most of the contributions. Social assistance organizations, which feed, house and support those in need, like Goodwill and YMCA, got about $1 billion and another $1.2 billion went to philanthropy and grantmaking infrastructure nonprofits that focus on the business of fundraising, advocacy and philanthropy itself.”

Neiman Marcus ‘Reintroduces’ Itself to Customers In New Campaign (The Business of Fashion): “That reintroduction comes in the form of a new campaign meant to convince shoppers Neiman Marcus has returned as a preeminent luxury retailer. The campaign touches nearly every marketing channel in order to broadcast far and wide its offerings — a spread of 40 new luxury and emerging brands — and services — its digital style advisors.”

What We Got Wrong in Afghanistan (The Atlantic): “From the very beginning … the American military’s effort to advise and mentor Iraqi and Afghan forces was treated like a pickup game—informal, ad hoc, and absent of strategy. We patched together small teams of soldiers, Marines, sailors, and airmen, taught them some basic survival skills, and gave them an hour-long lesson in the local language before placing them with foreign units … We did not successfully build the Iraqi and Afghan forces as institutions. We failed to establish the necessary infrastructure that dealt effectively with military education, training, pay systems, career progression, personnel, accountability—all the things that make a professional security force. Rotating teams through tours of six months to a year, we could not resolve the vexing problems facing Iraq’s and Afghanistan’s armies and police: endemic corruption, plummeting morale, rampant drug use, abysmal maintenance, and inept logistics … We didn’t fight a 20-year war in Afghanistan; we fought 20 incoherent wars, one year at a time, without a sense of direction.”

Pining for the Intimacy of Pandemic Pods (The New York Times): “For decades, sociologists have identified three conditions to making close friends: ‘proximity; repeated, unplanned interactions; and a setting that encourages people to let their guard down and confide in each other’ … Those conditions were all too apparent in many pods, particularly when podmates bunked together.”

♥ Recently purchased: & Other Stories Fitted Gold Button Cardigan, Vince Camuto Button Detail Satin Top, Vince Garlin Wedge Sandals, Lacoste TR90 Quartz Watch with Rubber Strap, and Casa Raki Dani Square-neck Midi Dress.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Hi, I am Elle!

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