Weekly Link Roundup

While McDonald’s indisputably has the best fries in the fast food business, I have been loving Wendy’s Garlic Fries (released in November of 2022), which are very garlicky and rather greasy, so they are right up my alley. I hope they become a permanent fixture on the menu.
I also tried the Italian Mozzarella Chicken Sandwich, which came out at the same time as the garlic fries but has since ended its limited-time run, and found it underwhelming. The garlic knot roll was an interesting choice, but the flavors fought each other. As the sandwich cooled, the fried mozzarella patty grew increasingly inedible with each bite. I won’t miss it.

+ Does Wendy’s Really Make Better Fries Than McDonald’s? (The Takeout): “People can’t possibly prefer Wendy’s fries. They’re an afterthought, sitting far outside the realm of items you get excited about when placing a Wendy’s order. Meanwhile, McDonald’s fries are iconic: salty, crisp, golden, and delectably fatty. People go to McDonald’s specifically for the fries.”

+ Pharrell at Louis Vuitton: Has Luxury Outgrown Fashion? (The Business of Fashion): “While Vuitton’s business remains driven by accessories, the brand’s presence on runways, photoshoots and red carpets have imbued what was once a dusty luggage maker with contemporary relevance, making it a hip mark of desirability worldwide … Louis Vuitton named Pharrell Williams as its new menswear creative director … The choice of Williams, a multi-hyphenate singer, producer, entrepreneur and street-style star was a somewhat unexpected choice … Faced with the choice between successors who could carry on Abloh’s transformative design legacy, or one who could aspire to fill his shoes as a cross-cultural broker of clout, Louis Vuitton opted for the latter option. The pick suggests that after 25 years, Louis Vuitton may have outgrown fashion.”

+ Pharrell Threads the Needle (The New York Times): “Mr. Williams has made carving out provocative fashion territory central to his métier. From art-skate brat to cartoon-bling hyperrealist to funhouse-mirror schoolboy to extravagant hippie, he has been experimenting with his personal canvas for more than two decades. And he has been a high fashion collaborator for almost as long, working with Louis Vuitton in addition to Chanel, Moncler and Tiffany … Mr. Williams has a distinctive approach to luxury, one that begins with hip-hop’s commitment to the reappropriation of class signifiers, but also extends to Californian leisure, Japanese whimsy, European sleekness and the unbothered calm of royalty. He consistently telegraphs opulence and panache, in a manner that feels learned but not studied. Mr. Williams’s style is a demonstration of the ways in which hip-hop style can be expressed as ideology, a set of principles, even through clothes that come from different traditions.”

+ Tiffany Wants Gen Z. Is It Moving Too Fast? (Vogue): “After a year-long marketing onslaught that included big collaborations, Gen Z celebrity-endorsed campaigns and a leap into Web3, Tiffany & Co’s executive creative director Ruba Abu-Nimah has stepped down … the LVMH-owned luxury jeweller has been in the process of reinventing itself to appeal to a younger generation of shoppers. Its recent marketing initiatives have been bold, mixing smaller experimental bets with bigger blockbuster campaigns … The challenge, however, is evolving without alienating longtime customers … Among luxury’s biggest challenges is staying true to its heritage while tapping into the current zeitgeist … In a bid to stay relevant, Tiffany may have pivoted too quickly … ‘Tiffany is a brand that straddles two cultures: the old American dream of elegance and the new luxury. It is a brand that has been prepped to grow with extensions that are more fashionable rather than objects of luxury. But that takes time.’ “

+ Shoppers Are Stuck in a Dupe Loop (The Atlantic): “Consumer interest in lower-cost options is as old as the consumer market itself, as is the propensity for brands to make their own versions of already-popular products and try to undercut one another on price … What might have changed from 15 or 20 years agois the way that young people perceive the act of buying dupes, knockoffs, and counterfeits. Until very recently, buyers tended to hope that their lower-price products would go undetected by the general public and instead be mistaken for the real thing … You certainly didn’t want to go viral for gushing about off-brand leggings, which might suggest that you were cheap, broke, or both. Now gushing about those leggings might make you a well-regarded internet celebrity.”

+ That’s Tory Burch? (The New York Times): “… in 2021, they began seeing new glimpses of Tory Burch. It wasn’t that the brand’s monogram flip-flops were re-emerging as ironically cool, like other signature accessories of the 2000s (Ugg boots, butterfly clips, wraparound sunglasses, thin eyebrows). It was that the brand — from what was presented on the runway — simply looked cooler. Less private-school parent goes to a garden party; more sensual city denizen goes for drinks at the Odeon.”

+ These well-reviewed Propét TravelActiv Xc Sandals, which come in extended sizes, are currently 60-70% off in several colorways at Amazon.

+ Uniqlo’s Quest to Conquer The US, One Cashmere Sweater at a Time (The Business of Fashion): “Although Uniqlo is a fixture in shopping streets of New York and other coastal cities, parent Fast Retailing Co. is giving its flagship clothing brand a hefty marketing budget to ensure the brand can reach the same level of awareness in Iowa and Texas as it enjoys in Japan, Asia and parts of Europe … The clothing company only recently became profitable in North America and has 61 stores there right now, with less than 1 percent of the $291 billion retail clothing market. Tsukagoshi’s mandate is to more than triple that in four years — to 200 stores — an achievement that could put the US ahead of Europe, where it currently operates 112 outlets … Given that public awareness of the Uniqlo brand is so low in the US, Fast Retailing will have to keep spending on marketing to communicate the value of its clothing, and avoid the temptation to reduce prices in order to attract customers.”

+ Men, Skirts Aren’t That Scary—Promise! (Vogue): “In experimenting with these skirt styles, I’ve realized just how easy and foolproof they are to wear. There’s really nothing to it: A black or gray skirt can be paired with just about anything, from knits to simple button-up shirts. Think of them like jeans—just a little more fashion-forward. They look especially good with a chunky boot or loafer.”

+ Traveling and Eating Well (The New York Times): “… we have tips for how to choose where to eat when you’re on the road … Ask the locals … Use maps features … If you simply must go to a popular restaurant, set a reminder about one month ahead of time to start looking for a table … New reservations tend to go online around 10 a.m. on platforms like Resy. And if you plum forget to make a reservation … cancellations usually roll in around 24 hours before the scheduled dining time.”

+ Unnatural Causes: The Case of the Texas Serial Elder Murders (AARP): “… officials admitted that a serial killer had been stalking older Dallas and Plano women for at least two years in a previously undetected crime spree that could include hundreds of cases. Detectives in Dallas, the sprawling suburb of Plano and the smaller cities of Richardson and Frisco had begun reviewing older Texans’ deaths connected to jewelry thefts, to determine whether those deaths — all deemed ‘natural’ at the time — were in fact homicides … Billy Chemirmir … had worked in home health care for years, and cellphone tracking suggests he surveilled older victims in parking lots and upscale retirement complexes. He was looking for expensive jewelry and plotting his access and exit routes to and from their homes and apartments. He often pretended to be a maintenance man to gain entry.”

+ Who Will Take Your Old Cashmere? (The New York Times): “Ralph Lauren has just unveiled an alternative option: a new cashmere recycling program … consumers in the United States, Britain and the European Union can request a printable, paid postage label from the Ralph Lauren website to send unwanted, 100 percent cashmere items from any brand to be recycled. Those clothes will go to Re-Verso in Tuscany, Italy, a facility that produces regenerated yarns and fabrics used by fashion companies … The motivations driving the Ralph Lauren program aren’t completely altruistic. It is the latest installment of the company’s circularity strategy rollout, which included the unveiling of a new Cradle to Cradle, or C2C Certified, $995 Purple Label cashmere crew neck sweater in November. The certification, which is issued by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, uses a strict science-based methodology to assess products across five categories: material health, product circularity, clean air and climate protection, water and soil stewardship and social fairness.”

+ Shop Last-Chance Winter Sale Styles at J.Crew and take an extra 75% off these final sale styles with code GOSHOP. My picks:

+ Shein’s Years of Explosive Growth Are Over. What’s Next? (The Business of Fashion): “In the US, the Chinese fast-fashion retailer’s growth slowed dramatically starting in early 2022In June, the company saw its first year-on-year sales decline since the pandemic. Sales then fell for five months before rising slightly in December … The lifecycle for fast-fashion brands can be short … As the novelty of Shein’s ultra-low prices faded, mentions of it swelled in conversations about its unethical business practices and alleged duplicates of others’ designs … Between 2020 and 2023, about 70 percent of overall conversations regarding Shein on the internet skewed negative in sentiment … Shein has addressed its shortcomings by investing millions of dollars in helping young designers launch their own lines it also announced a plan to cut carbon emissions by a quarter by 2030 and introduced a resale programme that allows shoppers to sell their pre-worn Shein for store credit … Shein is also in the process of opening two new distribution centres in North America this year … which will shorten its product delivery time to customers. The company is also reportedly exploring a marketplace model that would offer consumers not only its own branded pieces but products by other brands too.”

+ What Not to Ask Me About My Long COVID (The Atlantic): “The fact is, no one—including doctors—knows the right things to say to those of us who have long COVID, because no one seems to be thinking about this wretched condition in the right way. Nor does anyone seem to understand the unique psychological suffering associated with this condition … Long COVID symptoms often change. This syndrome is wily, protean—imagine a mischief of mice moving through the walls of your house and laying waste to different bits of circuitry and infrastructure as they go … Because no one understands what causes long COVID, even the best doctors can only treat your symptoms separately.”

+ Dozens of Stuart Weitzman boots are on clearance at Saks Off Fifth, including the excellent Laine Leather Combat Boots (only a few sizes remain).

+ Ozempic Can Cause Major Weight Loss. What Happens if You Stop Taking It? (The New York Times): “Ozempic and another drug, Wegovy, both contain semaglutide, which regulates blood sugar and insulin. It also reduces appetite and causes the stomach to empty more slowly, so that a person feels fuller faster. These drugs have become increasingly popular in the past year for their weight-loss effects. But for people who take them to manage diabetes as well as those who do so primarily to manage weight, going off them suddenly can take a toll … manufactures Ozempic and Wegovy, examined people who had taken semaglutide once a week for 68 weeks and then stopped using it. After a year, participants gained back two thirds of the weight they had lost.”

+ Poor, Busy Millennials Are Doing the Midlife Crisis Differently (Bloomberg): “… those born from 1981 to 1996 earn 20% less than baby boomers did at their agetheir assets average $162,000, versus $198,000 for Gen X at the same age … Instead of buying a new car, they’ll buy a bike and get out on the road—improving their health and increasing their longevity along the way. Instead of getting plastic surgery, they’ll adopt an adventurous hobby … Thanks to pandemic-spurred flexible work protocols, the old trope of leaving your family behind has turned into uprooting the whole clan and moving everyone somewhere with a higher quality of life per dollar … Lacking money to blow up your life can actually be freeing.”

+ What Does It Mean to Dress Rich? (The New York Times): “Clothes, the artifacts of our identity, tell a story. And the story the clothes told this fashion week was one of redefinition: a change in the hierarchy of aspiration and wealth, the sartorial codes that signpost power and success. The geography of the city has been fracturing for a while now. The psychosocial tectonic plates are shifting.”

+ Recently purchased: Alice + Olivia McKell Faux Leather Mini Shirtdress, Sorel Viibe Clog, J. Crew Cropped Blazer in City Crepe, Converse Chuck Taylor® All Star® Lift Low Top Platform Sneakers, Propét TravelActiv Xc Sandal, Endless Rose Mock-Neck Sleeveless Mini Dress, and J. Crew Louisa Lady Jacket in Sequin Tweed.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Hi, I am Elle!

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  1. Amy L, wrote:

    Yay! Love these posts. I stan McDonald’s fries, they are still superior imo but not all McDonald’s are equal. I can definitely tell when a location doesn’t change out their oil as frequently they need to. My other tip is to order them without salt so you get a fresh batch. As you can see, my commitment to my fries game is strong. Hahahaha. I did try the Wendy’s one and it wasn’t even close…pass.

    Posted 2.26.23 Reply
    • Elle wrote:

      Haha I love that McDonald’s tip. Agreed that Wendy’s fries aren’t close, but the numerous fries toppings/variations that Wendy’s offers does switch things enough to sway me from time to time. I wish McDonald’s would get a little more creative with its menu… all the celeb collabs are just iterating on existing menu items. :/

      Posted 2.27.23 Reply