Weekly Link Roundup

J. Crew is currently running a limited-time promo on cold-weather basics, including the timeless Double-breasted topcoat that I reviewed back in 2019, and the cable-knit half-zip sweater that I featured recently. The sale section has also just been refreshed, and discounted styles are an extra 50-60% off with code CHEER, so it’s worth another look. My picks:

Chanel, TikTok and the Beauty Advent Calendar Controversy (The New York Times): “… the emotions around this anti-Advent calendar campaign have been particularly high, in part, perhaps, because of the holiday involved, and the idea that rather than representing good will toward customers, this particular gift item suggests they’re being played for suckers … It was the dustbag that really set people off.”

Chanel’s TikTok Controversy Won’t Stop Luxury’s Advent Calendar Craze (The Business of Fashion): “The $825 item sparked an impassioned backlash on social media from users who didn’t think the trinkets and knick-knacks it contained justified it’s hefty price. The controversy made news in outlets … and forced an apology from Chanel.”

Medical Debt Is Crushing Black Americans, and Hospitals Aren’t Helping (Bloomberg): “Census data show that 28% of Black households have medical debt, compared with 17% of White households. The gap is even wider in certain parts of the country. In St. Louis County … people living in communities of color are almost four times as likely to have medical debt in collections than people living in predominantly White communities … these aggressive billing practices bring in little revenue for hospitals—less than 1% of the total by some estimates … Most U.S. hospitals are nonprofits or public entities; only about a quarter are for-profit companies. Consumer advocates say that as tax-exempt organizations, health-care systems should ensure that patients eligible for financial help don’t get passed to debt collectors instead. They want medical providers to make clear to patients what assistance is available and halt the practice of garnishing wages or putting liens on houses.”

Today’s ‘It’ Bags Are Under $350. Here’s Why (The Wall Street Journal): “… younger generations’ affinity for sub-$350 bags could be rooted in anti-fashion-establishment sentiments … Social-media popularity is one key to cementing modern It Bag status.”

Jewelry Shopping? Get Ready for Less Choice and Higher Prices. (The New York Times): “Jewelers and industry experts around the world say a lack of inventory and price increases are virtually guaranteed this fall, driven by the unexpected demand that caught the industry by surprise last year. And that forecast has been further complicated by shipping delays and labor shortages … a Mastercard spending report … showed … that jewelry sales in May were up more than 200 percent year over year.”

Everything Must Go (Slate): “… people are desperately trying to find new uses for them. The afterlife of a dead mall is interesting. Schools are moving into malls … Malls are becoming home to community colleges and libraries and offices … These efforts are noble and good. They are also—and can’t help but be—anti-makeovers. Malls were made to be malls. This means every effort to repurpose a mall becomes a fascinating performance of architectural insufficiency, of a bespoke thing being wrenched into a different, and more practical, and less entertaining, function.”

Elizabeth Holmes Was Always in Control (The Verge): “Holmes testified in her own defense. I have seen speculation that she did this because she is a master persuader. I don’t think that’s quite right — not least because Holmes wasn’t persuasive when she was unrehearsed. Holmes testified because it was the only way she could assert control over the trial.”

Time, Money and Chicken Fat: A Guide to Inflation-Proof Gift-Giving (The New York Times): “… prices in the ‘telephone, hardware, calculators and other consumer information items’ category have fallen 25.7 percent in two years … [in the] airline fares category … prices have fallen 23.7 percent in the past two years … your time … [is] perhaps the most precious resource you have.”

The Pandemic of the Vaccinated Is Here (The Atlantic): “At this point, the CDC has recorded that less than a quarter of adults who are fully vaccinated under the existing definition have gotten a third shot. That leaves about 150 million people who are vaccinated but unboosted. Given that the people in this group are less protected against infection, they’re at greater risk of passing on the disease to unvaccinated or partially vaccinated kids, as well as to unvaccinated or immunologically vulnerable adults. They will also pass the coronavirus more readily among themselves … Each fully vaccinated person might still be at minimal risk of getting seriously ill or dying from COVID this winter, but the vestiges of normalcy around them could start to buckle or even break.”

Au Revoir to the ‘Perfect Parisian Woman’ Cliché (The Wall Street Journal): ” ‘The problem with France has always been based on a frustration of not being that girl.’ ‘That girl’ is the whippet-thin, white one walking her dog in the chic quarter of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, as portrayed in Vogue Paris throughout the 1990s and 2000s. The women shown in its pages mirrored the cool look of the staff itself, with their skinny jeans, artfully messy hair and predilection for leather. This insular circle of editors, designers and stylists often vacationed together and sent their kids to the same schools … the changing of the guard at Vogue Franceit … was the end of a fashion world built around ‘l’entre soi.’ ‘L’entre-soi’ means ‘between us’ or ‘between peers.’ “

Peloton Is Stuck, Just Like the Rest of Us (The Atlantic): “How much can what people did in the past year and a half really tell anyone about what they’ll do in the future? … Most of our experiences are less meaningful in the broad sweep of history than they feel like they are while we’re enduring them, but in an information vacuum, any crumb of certainty feels like a feast.”

Birds Aren’t Real, or Are They? Inside a Gen Z Conspiracy Theory. (The New York Times): “What Birds Aren’t Real truly is … is a parody social movement with a purpose. In a post-truth world dominated by online conspiracy theories, young people have coalesced around the effort to thumb their nose at, fight and poke fun at misinformation. It’s Gen Z’s attempt to upend the rabbit hole with absurdism.”

Covid Is Making Many Offices Obsolete. Here’s What Happens to Them Next. (The Wall Street Journal): “The American office building … is in a state of reckoning. Newly built skyscrapers in central business districts are still filling up and charging top rents, even during the pandemic. But thousands of older buildings across the U.S. face an uncertain future … An outdated office makes the decision to end a lease or sell a building easier. In New York and San Francisco, more than 80% of all office space is more than 30 years old, and Chicago isn’t far behind … These three cities also have some of the lowest office occupancy rates in the country: Less than 40% of the workforce was back in the office as of early December.”

Can MasterClass Teach You Everything? (The New Yorker): “The idea that mastery can be achieved by attentive emulation of the masters is the site’s foundational promise … MasterClass is easy to mock, because it traffics in our lordliest tropes … It aims to convey not just good-enough-for-a-Twitter-thread adequacy but bona-fide mastery. And it plans to write code to streamline and standardize the whole process.”

Is Holiday Gift-Giving Really Worth It? (The New York Times): “When we buy so many gifts for people who are not close to us, and it’s compulsory rather than motivated by any sort of feeling or desire, the value of the gift drops for the giver as well as the recipient … ‘“a gift is a story, because you’re telling a story about the person you give it to, and a story of how we know each other.’ “

♥ Recently purchased: Self Portrait Floral Button Bouclé Jacket, River Island Cream Cable Knit Crop Sweater, Reiss Summer Wool & Cashmere Blend Cable Cardigan, Zadig & Voltaire Malta Wool Blend Cable Knit Sweater, and Abercrombie & Fitch Faux Fur Aviator Jacket.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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