Weekly Link Roundup

Banana Republic Is Deep in Glow-Up Mode (Fashionista): “… Banana Republic has reversed its central business strategy, now trying to focus on consumers’ insights instead of dictating what customers should wear. There’s a shift toward casualwear, with pieces that feel sophisticated and upscale, but comfortable and versatile at the same time … the brand also appears to be moving away from the rigidness of the business-casual look with which they had been synonymous, pivoting toward elevated wardrobe staples at an affordable price point.”

Blazers With Hoodies? Dress Sneakers? The Return-to-Office Dress Code Is Baffling Your Boss (The Wall Street Journal): “More organizations are calling workers back to offices only to discover it’s difficult to telegraph what employees can and can’t wear. Be too strict and you risk alienating people who weren’t thrilled to come back in the first place; be too lenient and the environment no longer feels professional … Research on productivity and dress is mixed, with some studies finding dressing up can increase levels of abstract thinking and others finding that wearing what you’re comfortable in can increase engagement.”

Fashion’s Metaverse Dilemma: Dip a Toe or Wait and See? (The Business of Fashion): “… the first-ever Metaverse Fashion Week … took place from March 23 to 27 in Decentraland, a blockchain-based 3D virtual world. Brands and retailers including Dolce & Gabbana, Etro, Tommy Hilfiger and Selfridges took part with virtual runway shows featuring digital clothes and pop-up shops offering NFTs. The clothing presented suffered from lo-fi visuals, reminiscent of video games from decades past … Cut and fit were rendered practically irrelevant. Fabrics, or their digital proxies anyway, all looked the same.”

How an Ivy League School Turned Against a Student (The New Yorker): “If trauma creates a kind of narrative void, Mackenzie seemed to respond by leaning into a narrative that made her life feel more coherent, fitting into boxes that people want to reward. Perhaps her access to privilege helped her understand, in a way that other disadvantaged students might not, the ways that élite institutions valorize certain kinds of identities. There is currency to a story about a person who comes from nothing and thrives in a prestigious setting. These stories attract attention, in part because they offer comfort that, at least on occasion, such things happen.”

Want to See the Weirdest of Wikipedia? Look No Further. (The New York Times): “… @depthsofwikipedia … shares bizarre and surprising snippets from the vast, crowdsourced online encyclopedia, including amusing images (a chicken literally crossing a road) and minor moments in history (Mitt Romney driving several hours with his dog atop his car). Some posts are wholesome — such as Hatsuyume, the Japanese word for one’s first dream of the year — while others are not safe for work (say, panda pornography) … because Wikipedia has more than 55 million articles, having a guide like Ms. Rauwerda is helpful. She hopes that visitors to her page walk away with new shared knowledge.”

The Can’t-Lose Betting Strategy That’s Taking the Gamble Out of Sports Gambling (Bloomberg): “The market for sports gambling in the U.S. has exploded since a 2018 Supreme Court ruling gave states the right to decide whether to allow it. Twenty-nine now permit sportsbooks to operate in some form statewide. Twenty-three of those have permitted online betting … Initially the expansion was driven by some states’ desire for a new source of tax revenue. But once money started rolling in to the first states that legalized, others could more easily calculate what they were missing … Sportsbooks are very much aware that some matched betting is going on and do what they can to combat it … The cat-and-mouse game between matched bettors and sportsbooks is a constant topic of conversation on the r/sportsbook subreddit.”

We Really Should Hang Out More Often (The Atlantic): “In my early 20s, I was unacquainted with the term third place, though the hope of someday becoming a regular at one was the primary reason I moved from the Florida suburbs to New York City. After all, cities are where people are supposed to have serendipitous encounters … By comparison, the cliché goes, people become more atomized the farther they move from urban environments into the clinical, safe, and relatively unexciting suburbs … But these days, the art of hanging out seems to be waning in cities. The American Community Life Survey reported last year that only 25 percent of people living in areas with ‘very high’ amenity access—close to grocery stores, gyms, bowling alleys, and other ideal sites of chance encounters—actually socialize with strangers at least once a week. In 2019, about two-thirds of Americans said they had a favorite local place they went to regularly. That two-thirds has since dropped to a little more than half.”

At the Grammys, Oscars and Beyond, the Case of the Missing Dress Shirt (The Wall Street Journal): “The relatively youthfulness of these shirtless male stars speaks to that generation’s increased comfort with showing some skin. We are in a moment where young, much-watched male stars … embrace traditionally feminine and revealing clothing like crop tops and rompers … For some stars, forgoing a dress shirt is a speedy shortcut to being reframed as an envelope pusher to watch … Despite the trendiness, the prospects of the shirtless-suit combo catching on outside of glittery celeb-filled events are slim according to Fashion Snoops’ Mr. Fisher. ‘I would not expect a typical guy to walk down the street wearing a suit with no shirt underneath,’ he said.”

Bright Horizons Is Betting Kids Will Return to the Office, Even If Parents Stay Home (Bloomberg): “… companies powered by Bright Horizons are helping the most privileged class of workers fill the void. The Massachusetts-based company provides on-site day care or backup emergency care for more than 1,000 companies … Initially funded 35 years ago by Bain & Co., Bright Horizons now has more than 1,000 on-site centers in the U.S, Canada, the U.K., the Netherlands, and India, helping clients soften the blow to their workforces of exorbitant day care costs. The company says that in 2020, the rough estimate of average tuition at Bright Horizon centers ranged from $1,645 per month for preschoolers to $2,075 per month for infants. Companies typically subsidize one-fourth to half of that cost for employees, and employees pay the rest … With only 17% of workers wanting to return to the office full-time … Bright Horizons is also positioning itself as the flexible solution for the hybrid class that’s alternating between in-person and virtual work.”

Can You Wear a ‘Bridgerton’-Style Train Without Falling? (The Wall Street Journal): “… the ‘everyday’ train … is a commitment. ‘If you’re feeling inclined to try it out, go all in. This is a purposeful aesthetic.’ Even so … a contradictory accessory, say, a sneaker, can help modernize the look.”

Are Fashion’s Supply Chain Problems Easing? (The Business of Fashion): “The cost of moving a container from Shanghai to Los Angeles has fallen about 20 percent from its peak to their lowest level since June … Of course, the rate is still double this time last year, and between China’s lockdowns and the war in Ukraine, few in the logistics community are ready to declare victory just yet.”

This Is What Happens When Globalization Breaks Down (The New York Times): “A year earlier, a container could be shipped from China to the West Coast of the United States for about $2,000. The same journey was now pushing $20,000. Behind this surge was a shift in how Americans were consuming. Cooped up in their homes, they were avoiding restaurants, hotels and entertainment venues. But they were still spending money — on exercise bikes, desk chairs, video game consoles and kitchen appliances.”

Why So Many Women in Middle Age Are on Antidepressants (The Wall Street Journal): “About one in five women ages 40 to 59 and nearly one in four women ages 60 and over used antidepressants in the last 30 days during 2015 to 2018, according to the latest data from the National Center for Health Statistics. Among women ages 18 to 39, the figure was about one in 10. Among men, 8.4% of those ages 40 to 59 and 12.8% of those 60 and older used antidepressants in the last 30 days … In general, women have higher rates of depression than men throughout much of their lives according to scientific research. In midlife, the risk is greatest during the years leading up to menopause and right after it. The dramatic fluctuations in hormones that cause the most-commonly known symptoms of hot flashes and night sweats can wreak havoc on mood, too.”

What Do We Do About COVID Now? (The New Yorker): “… soon, a million people in the United States will have died of COVID-19. Yet for many Americans this reality seems vague, abstract … Part of the problem is fatigue. Another is that the coronavirus has exacted its toll unevenly … One of the most prevalent false beliefs about the pandemic is that the government has exaggerated the number of deaths; in fact, the official count is an underestimate. Since the pandemic began, at least a hundred thousand more people have died in this country than would have during normal times … Amid the uncertainty, individuals, organizations, and institutions must do their best. This means giving people the resources to confront COVID not as an abstraction but through the decisions of daily life.”

Why People Are Acting So Weird (The Atlantic): “During the pandemic, disorderly, rude, and unhinged conduct seems to have caught on … Bad behavior of all kinds —everything from rudeness and carelessness to physical violence—has increased … One likely explanation for the spike in bad behavior is the rage, frustration, and stress coursing through society right now … The pandemic has created a lot of ‘high-stress, low-reward’ situations … and now everyone is teetering slightly closer to their breaking point … Rudeness can be contagious … at work, people spread their negative emotions to their colleagues, bosses, and clients—even if those individuals weren’t the source of the negativity … People have been coping with the pandemic by drinking more and doing more drugs … Americans have been drinking 14 percent more days a month during the pandemic, and drug overdoses have also increased since 2019 … Americans have also been buying more guns, which may help explain the uptick in the murder rate … The pandemic loosened ties between people: Kids stopped going to school; their parents stopped going to work; parishioners stopped going to church; people stopped gathering, in general.”

I’m Tired of Judging Other People’s Covid Choices (The New York Times): “… I wondered how long I would gaze with mistrust at other people, wondering if they were a source of germs … How easy it is to feel that people who are not just like us are paranoid on the one hand or reckless on the other. Such characterizations might briefly soothe the hurts that we have all accumulated: the casual eugenics present in the dismissals of deaths of people with pre-existing conditions; the reckless sexism present in the indifference to the availability of in-person school; the cruel uncompensated loss of paychecks, customers and clients; the intimate-partner violence and substance abuse that has swelled behind closed doors; the crushing loneliness that comes from working behind a mask or seeing few people outside of your home. People have split themselves into warring factions over measures like mask mandates and school closures, with each side minimizing the harms about which the other is concerned. Many of us feel abandoned.”

♥ Recently purchased: Veronica Beard Brim Tweed Jacket, J. Crew Broken-in Tiered Maxi Dress, Lululemon Blissfeel Running Shoe, Generation Love Kristen Tweed Jacket, Ann Taylor Stripe Tie Neck Top, Bardot Noah Mock Neck Minidress, and Reformation Gitane Smocked Linen Midi Dress.

Have a good week, everyone!

Hi, I am Elle!

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