Weekly Link Roundup

+ Birkenstock’s Boston Clogs Have Become the New Ugg Slippers (Vogue): “The backless loafers have appeared in Lyst’s hottest product list for the fifth quarter in a rowBirkenstock is struggling to satisfy demand, and customers are paying upwards of double for pairs on resale sites … The allure of the affordable Boston lies in its subtle hybridity. Part slipper, part chunky loafer, the lightweight adaptation of an old-school clog symbolizes comfort, ease and the unspeakable relief of being able to walk out the door in two seconds wearing a versatile shoe universally seen as stylish.”

+ Are DTC Brands Pulling Off Brick-and-Mortar? (The Business of Fashion): “While some digitally native retailers are divesting from traditional retail — The RealReal said in February it will close at least four stores this year to improve its bottom line — there are many more brands investing in physical stores to drive customer growth as online advertising remains expensive and crowded … Physical stores accounted for more than 70 percent of clothing and accessories sales in the US in 2022.”

+ What Does a Cool Girl Look Like? (The New York Times): “… a true cool girl would never describe herself as such … Currently, Khaite is carried in about 270 stores or websites globally, where its top sellers tend to be leggy jeans, sexy-ish knitwear, or heeled boots and tote bags in rich, high-quality leather. Emphasis on rich. Other than denim, which starts around $420, prices for a piece of Khaite’s clothing typically exceed $1,000.”

+ Extravagant Clothes for Independent Women (Harper’s Bazaar): “… Dossena’s signature key: His clothes are exciting and often confusing, and decidedly erotic. Like Rabanne, he uses plastic, chainmail, and metal, his atelier attaching shimmering discs and fringe blades by hand using small silver rings … In a sea of increasingly anodyne and wearable high fashion, Dossena goes his own way.”

+ Sale styles at J.Crew are an extra 50% off with code ADDTOBAG; this offer stacks with the cardmember discount for March (an extra 20% off with code CARDLOVE).

+ Peak TV Is Over. Welcome to Trough TV. (Slate): “… 10 years after the streaming boom kicked off in earnest with Netflix’s House of Cards, its sense of unlimited potential has ebbed, and even its products are starting to evaporate … The age of Peak TV … has been drawing to a close for a while … it’s only now becoming clear what is going to replace it: a steroidal hybrid of algorithmic insights and old-school showbiz wisdom about what sells, resulting in a flood of bad-idea IP extensions … and Yellowstone spinoffs. Call it Trough TV, when the networks that once aimed for the stars now see how low they can go.”

+ Secrets of the Low-Key Rich Bitch Wardrobe (Town & Country Magazine): “The low-key rich bitch is not a new phenomenon. She has been with us since time immemorial … At Bottega Veneta, creative director Matthieu Blazy presented outfits so unremarkable that the models … looked as though they could have been plucked off any suburban street corner. Shlubby flannel shirts, faded denim, and white T-shirts were among the first few looks. Yet all was not as it appeared. Upon closer inspection, the garments revealed a delectable sleight of hand: Each was rendered from a yummy leather and given a print treatment to look downright, well, pedestrian. Those ‘flannel’ shirts? Each required 12 layers of printing to achieve the designer’s desired workaday patina.”

+ (Trigger warning: graphic descriptions of human remains) A family Feud, Gruesome ‘Kill Room’, and Pots of ‘Human Soup’: How the Murder of Abby Choi Shocked Hong Kong (The Independent): “… police say this relationship began to sour last year, when Choi made plans to sell the Kadoorie Hill apartment. Though paid for by Choi, it had been registered in the name of Alex Kwong’s father Kwong Kau, allegedly in order to avoid nearly $8m Hong Kong dollars (US$1m) in stamp duty. Mortgage records reported by the Hong Kong news website HK01 show that Kau bought the flat in July 2019 for nearly HK$73m, and had paid off the entire mortgage by October that year. Even though Choi promised to find the Kwongs a new home, her plan was met with fierce resistance from Kau … It’s not clear whether or not the apartment ever sold. Regardless, police allege that this was the spark for Kwong Kau to begin masterminding a plot against his former daughter in law.”

+ Shein, Temu in Fierce Fight Over US Market for $10 Dresses (The Business of Fashion): “In US federal court, Shein has accused Temu of contracting social media influencers to make false and deceptive statements’ against Shein in their promotions of Temu.com. If Temu loses, Temu could be forced to curtail what so far has been a key marketing strategy. Shein seeks to block Temu from using Shein’s name for marketing, and it wants damages from sales that Shein can show came through deceptive or infringing marketing. Temu has asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit … Shein’s lawsuit against Temu alleges that Temu told social media influencers to make disparaging remarks about the fast fashion retailer, and tricked customers into downloading the Temu app using ‘imposter’ social media accounts.”

+ You’re Now a ‘Manager.’ Forget About Overtime Pay. (The New York Times): “Federal law requires employers to pay time-and-a-half overtime to hourly workers after 40 hours, and to most salaried workers whose salary is below … $35,500 a year. Companies need not pay overtime to salaried employees who make above that amount if they are bona fide managers … many companies provide salaries just above the federal cutoff to frontline workers and mislabel them as managers to deny them overtime. Because the legal definition of a manager is vague and little known — the employee’s ‘primary’ job must be management, and the employee must have real authority — the mislabeled managers find it hard to push back, even if they mostly do grunt work … from 2010 to 2018, manager titles in a large database of job postings were nearly five times as common among workers who were at the federal salary cutoff for mandatory overtime or just above it as they were among workers just below the cutoff.”

+ How ‘Excuseflation’ Is Keeping Prices — and Corporate Profits — High (Bloomberg): “The mismatch between declining wholesale prices and stubborn retail ones may help explain why inflation has proven so tough to stamp out even as many of the one-off shocks … fade into the past. It also poses a challenge to economists who might assume that margins should dissipate through competitive pressures … There are some signs that policy makers are starting to pay more attention to corporate behavior as a driver of prices … while higher profit margins on the surface would seem to be a benefit for investors, when every company is in a position to raise prices, that’s the behavior that keeps prompting members of the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee to ratchet up interest rates again and again, putting a lid on stock prices.”

+ Life’s Losers (Slate): “… the kind of person who you sense that, were they to happen upon a red rope set up around literally anything, a metaphorical trash can, say, would probably clamor desperately to get behind it … by orienting themselves entirely around acquiring things they feel they should want, they seem to have rendered themselves terminally incapable of enjoying themselves. The most distinctive thing about them is that they seem actually incapable of having fun.”

+ Would You Date a Podcast Bro? (The New York Times): “For Ms. Roberson, it wasn’t just the content of the man’s podcast, but that he had one at all. Like many other women, she associates the form with a certain kind of man: one who is endlessly fascinated by his own opinions, loves the sound of his own voice and isn’t the least bit shy about offering unsolicited opinions on masculinity, sexuality and women. Many women have taken to social media to mock just that kind of programming and the men who make it.”

Papa Johns’ Crispy Parm Pizza: It’s been a while since I last ordered from Papa Johns–its eponymous founder is an especially unsavory character… even after his ouster I struggled to muster enough enthusiasm for the chain–but I had to try this new product. The innovation isn’t revolutionary: if you can put cheese on top of and in the crust of a pizza, why can’t you put it on the bottom? And so Papa Johns did; this new item has a toasted shredded Parmesan and Romano layer, which adds a crispy dimension the chain’s thin crust pizza. With my curiosity satisfied, I likely won’t order this again. 6.5/10.

+ Papa Johns Put Cheese On The Bottom Of Its New Pizza (Delish): “Available with the toppings of your choice, the Crispy Parm Pizza features a thin crust that has been seasoned with a blend of shredded parmesan-Romano cheeses.”

+ 11 Digitally Native Retailers at Risk of Bankruptcy (Retail Dive): “Retailers that sell a lot of brands and don’t provide a differentiated product offering are primarily competing on price by providing customers with the biggest deals. Those companies, especially those operating primarily online, face challenges when it comes to both acquiring and retaining customers … Wayfair’s … net loss topped $1.3 billion as its customer base shrunk to 22.1 million, down 19% from the year prior … Grove Collaborative’s … received a delisting notice from the New York Stock Exchange that it was no longer in compliance with its continued listing criteria … Boxed … received a delisting warning from the New York Stock Exchange for not being in compliance with the exchange’s listing criteria A month later, the retailer received another delisting warning from NYSE for failing to comply with the exchange’s listing requirements of having a market cap above $50 million over a 30-day trading period … Redbubble … reported marketplace revenue fell 13% from the prior year to $483 million and its net profit after taxes swung to a loss of $25 million from a profit of $31 million in 2021. The company had $74.9 million in cash as of Sept. 30, compared to $89.1 million in June … The RealReal … [is] still operating in the red, reporting a net loss of $39 million and an operating loss of $38 million. At the end of its fiscal year, the company had $294 million in cash and cash equivalents compared to $418 million at the end of 2021.”

+ Luxury Swiss Watches Still Beat Stocks and Crypto Despite Rolex and Patek Drop (Bloomberg): “Luxury watches on the secondary market declined 8% in value last year … That compares to a drop of 19% for the S&P 500 stock index and a 65% plunge for Bitcoin … The market has been flooded with once hard-to-get models in the past nine months including the Rolex Daytona, the Patek Nautilus and the AP Royal Oak as watch dealers and individual investors offload their stocks. The number of Rolex watches on the secondary market increased by 19% in the fourth quarter alone … Across 2022 as a whole, the supply of Rolex, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet watches rose 104%, 110% and 78% respectively … the price correction of the big three brands was most profound in the fourth quarter with Audemars Piguet losing 6.8%, Patek Philippe down 6.7% and Rolex dropping 5.1% primarily because of losses from its Daytona, GMT Master II and Submariner models. Still, timepieces made by A.Lange & Sohne, a German watchmaker owned by Richemont that produces high-end watches in very limited quantities, rose 1.7% in the fourth quarter. Secondary market prices of TAG Heuer, a mass market brand owned by LVMH, and Tissot, another popular mass brand owned by Swatch Group AG, rose 3.3% and 3.2% respectively during the quarter.”

+ The Height of Domestic Luxury? Designer Ice. (The New York Times): “Frozen water, which costs most Americans virtually nothing, is being redefined as a luxury item. At fashion-brand parties, ice cubes stamped with the company’s logo are de rigueur. On tables at high-end weddings, fairy lights in Mason jars are out and wildflowers suspended in $14 ice cubes are in. TikTok creators routinely draw 30 million views overnight by showing off stocked ice drawers, along with retail links for buying specialty ice molds in all shapes and sizes. Then there’s the pinnacle of domestic opulence: a countertop ice maker that turns out the pebble-shaped ‘nugget ice previously available only at fast-food chains.”

+ Recently purchased: Saloni Camille Bow Tweed Minidress (more sizes available here), J.Crew Giselle Sweater-Blazer, By Anthropologie Puff-Sleeve Peplum Top, adidas Ultraboost 4.0 DNA Shoes in Cloud White/Gold Metallic, KL928 Nylon Sling Bag, Ann Taylor Ribbed Wedge V-Neck Cardigan, Abercrombie & Fitch Corset Seamed Linen-Blend Mini Dress, and adidas Airmesh Mini Backpack.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Hi, I am Elle!

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