+ One shoe that I have been wearing on repeat for the Summer of Makeup Celebrations is the Jewel Badgley Mischka Alanna Ballet Flats; they are so sparkly and fun, if not intended for daylong wear. Better still, they are currently 70%+ off at Amazon in “Light Gold” (pictured above; sizes limited). The fit is slightly narrow to size, so for those with wider feet, upsize for a more comfortable fit.
♥ Should Making It in Fashion Be This Hard? (The New York Times): “Elena Velez … emerging designer of the year at the CFDA awards … started her company in 2018, and lately these scattered windfalls have helped keep the business afloat. Orders placed on behalf of high-profile clients … mean that Ms. Velez’s outlook can shift from grim to manageably grim in the span of a day. Agree to host a branded party: small paycheck. Organize a sample sale: bigger paycheck … To sustain her business, to stay living and producing her designs in New York City, to convince herself that it was possible to succeed in fashion without money or connections … she needed more … Fashion is not an especially easy industry to penetrate. And making a living from it is even harder for young designers of color who don’t come from privilege … Ms. Velez does not make easily marketable hoodies or leather bags … Her garments are unapologetically gnarly and technically chaotic: a skirt shaped like an ‘obeliskoid pillow’ ($735), a cutout dress with ‘collapsing styling possibilities’ ($1,475) … Lately, Ms. Velez has begun taking predatory loans she finds online … The problem … is that recognition — the buzz around awards, reviews and celebrity endorsements — doesn’t always yield tangible returns. If anything, she said, it contributes to the idea that things are going well when they are not. And these metrics have not been easy for her to explain to venture capitalists.”
♥ How ‘Birkin Bandit’ George Mickum Infiltrated NYC Society (Business Insider): “New York has always been a city of reinvention, of faking it till you make it. If you weren’t born with a gold-plated name like Hearst, you have to create your own mythology. And once you’ve made it, the climb isn’t over: There’s always another rung on the ladder, a bigger boat, a better villa, a bag made of fancier leather, a friend with a posher name. Which might explain why so many people interviewed seemed so downright gleeful about Mickum’s downfall. They identify with him, and so they pride themselves on being nothing like him. They’ve convinced themselves they deserve their spot on the VIP list — even if getting there meant they had to lie about their age, or their upbringing, or the provenance of the jewels dangling from their wrist.”
♥ Caroline Calloway Survived Cancellation. Now She’s Doubling Down (Vanity Fair): “Calloway makes me her collaborator. She needs one more than anybody I’ve ever met. There’s an air of purgatory about her. She’s been locked in a moment for six years, the moment she broke the contract with Flatiron. She’s doomed to try to write the book and fail to write the book over and over. She gives the book different titles—And We Were Like, Scammer, I Am Caroline Calloway—but it’s all, I’m convinced, the same book because it’s all the same story, the only story she has to tell: hers. And yet, for some mysterious reason, she can’t tell it. Not by herself, anyway … con artist, emphasis on the artist because she’s authentically that too. It could be argued that she isn’t a writer but a performance artist’s take on a writer. Look at all the fascinating things she’s done with her failure to finish a book. There’s her foray into porn—paying off her publishers by desecrating the classics!—a desperate move, though also a witty and subversive one. There’s the ‘FACTS’ section of her lawyer’s response to her landlord’s suit that’s written not in legalese, but Calloway-ese … There’s the Reddit thread she inspired, which reads like Pale Fire for the internet age. And then there’s her feud with Beach, featherweight yet bloodthirsty, and the only game in town since literary types have gotten so milquetoast.”
♥ For Gen Z, Playing an Influencer on TikTok Comes Naturally (The New York Times): “… a generation that is increasingly posting on social media in the manner of professional influencers: sharing daily routines, pitching or unboxing products, modeling clothing and advertising personal Amazon storefronts. These videos are often viewed as cool and entrepreneurial by peers (and sometimes by bemused parents). They can also lead to free stuff and extra cash … More than 70 percent of 18- to 29-year-old women on social media follow influencers or content creators, and half of them have purchased something after seeing an influencer’s posts.”
♥ Macy’s Unveils First Brand in Private Label Revamp (Retail Dive): “Macy’s … unveiled its first new private label since the revamp of its owned brand strategy, an effort that will continue through 2025. The women’s apparel brand, ‘On 34th,’ will be available starting Aug. 17 at Macy’s stores and online. The collection has more than 750 SKUs and 250 unique styles, designed to be easily mixed and matched. Prices range from $18.50 to $300, and sizing ranges from XXS to 4X and 0 to 26W … On 34th will add shoes to the spring 2024 collection … Last year, Macy’s private brand portfolio drove about 16% of brand sales … In the past, that percentage has reached as high as about 20%.”
♥ Why Are So Many Young Americans Adopting Fake British Accents? (The Guardian): “Gen Z has embraced bad imitations of Cockney slang or a Yorkshire dialect, using obviously fake, theatrical voices to make light of low-grade daily dramas … Call it the Gen Z version of keeping calm and carrying on … Thanks to streaming hits like The Crown and Bridgerton, the voice is everywhere. But Americans are not necessarily rushing to imitate the upper crust anymore. After decades of exported British pop culture revolved around heritage films and period dramas, stateside viewers have come to appreciate reality shows like Love Island, The Only Way Is Essex and Too Hot to Handle. Those shows are filled with petty disagreements and missed encounters, so young Americans feel a connection with the accent when their own lives feel awkward.”
♥ It Was Only a Matter of Time Before Everyone Started Dressing Like Kramer (The Atlantic): “Kramer’s old uniform—camp-collar shirts in colorfully printed silk or rayon, sack pants that pull up a little short at the ankle to reveal white socks, clunky-soled shoes, a thin gold chain—is new again … the retro revival among young shoppers has spilled far beyond the bounds of a single decade. Tired of the sameness and omnipresence of new clothes and nostalgic for a past that many of them don’t remember, young people have plunged themselves into thrifting and vintage resale.”
♥ Threads Review: How Meta’s New App Stacks Up Against Twitter (The New York Times): “Threads is algorithmically curated, just like Facebook or Instagram. That means when you come in, you see a bunch of different posts based on your interests, whether they were posted five hours ago or five minutes ago … That’s a departure from what we’re used to with Twitter, where the marquee feature is the reverse chronological timeline … which made Twitter indispensable for breaking news and live events … the algorithmic curation is intentional on Instagram’s part. They have said they want to make Threads ‘friendly’ as people enter. It feels a bit sterile … The truth is Twitter isn’t a social network, and neither is Threads. Both are broadcasting platforms for big brands, celebrities, politicians and media outlets to share information with their followers. This type of network isn’t conducive to how people actually socialize in communities. In social clubs, people congregate in smaller groups around shared interests. They don’t crowd into an enormous conference room and shout like we do on Twitter and now Threads.”
♥ Why Vintage Gap Is Hot and Current Gap Is Not (The Business of Fashion): “Driven partly by nostalgia and partly by the trend among younger shoppers for 1990s and Y2K styles, people are snatching up products from Gap’s heyday. But those same shoppers aren’t necessarily buying what Gap has in stores now. On eBay, the number of sold items with ‘Y2K Gap’ in the name more than doubled in May 2023 compared to the prior year and sold items labelled ’90s Gap’ were up double digits … Depop, a resale marketplace popular with Gen-Z, said it saw searches for ‘vintage Gap’ jump 114 percent in June … at Gap itself, sales in the quarter through April were down 13 percent versus the prior year … Annual sales are half what they were in the early 2000s.”
+ The Mango Is King of the Miami Summer (The New York Times): “The Miami summer scares off tourists and part-timers who only care to experience the glorious winter. The roads get emptier. The days get slower. The reward for hardy locals who remain year round, sweating and suffering through hurricane season, comes in the form of the seductive mango, blushing from trees in yards, streets and strip malls … Florida mangoes dominated the commercial market in the United States until Hurricane Andrew destroyed nearly half of the state’s groves in 1992. International trade agreements then made it cheaper to import mangoes that had once grown in Florida from Latin America and the Caribbean. Perhaps 1,500 acres remain in Florida’s mango industry … Though commercial operations have mostly withered, mangoes still thrive in backyards and in the small specialty market.”
♥ Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale is still ongoing. I ended up placing a second order after coming across items I missed during a first pass, like the expandable two-tone Longchamp Large Le Pliage Recycled Canvas Travel Bag and the August Bader On the Go Refresh Set. Some sale picks:
♥ The Vacation Picture That’s Sparked a Multimillion-Dollar Global Industry (Bloomberg): “From Santorini to Dubai, Aruba, Montego Bay and Cappadocia, photography businesses are spreading to cater to tourists who splurge on lavish vacation photos … While Flytographer and Sweet Escape peddle images that make great holiday cards and can fill coffee-table books for practical-minded families … 95% of … clients are moms—companies focusing on flying-dress shoots cater to a more indulgent and higher-end clientele.”
+ Do Yoga Pants Qualify as Real Pants? (The New York Times): “Yoga pants are not pants. Pants are there to reshape the body in some way. To tailor it into a different silhouette — straighter, longer, more flowing — in the eyes of the watching world. To provide a modicum of protection or social camouflage. Yoga pants, on the other hand, are much more about revealing the body in some of its glory. And revealing the body in the workplace or on the street is a complicated decision.”
+ Claire’s Postpones IPO (Retail Dive): “The mall-based teen accessories chain in 2021 indicated its plans for an initial public offering, nearly three years after emerging from bankruptcy … sales that had nearly doubled in the first half of 2021, and operational profitability swinging into the black. Even then, though, the company warned that it lagged in e-commerce.”
♥ The Fake Poor Bride (The Atlantic): “The work of a luxury-wedding planner is only partly about the planning. Yes, you help the couple plan what you hope will be a stunning event—but your main job is to be a professional wedding friend … The family is paying you to care as much as they do … Weddings have always been luxury goods. And like all luxury goods, they’ve been coveted, emulated, and knocked off by the masses … Being a bride used to mean being royalty for a day. Now it means being a celebrity. Either way, the only sure path to really distinguish yourself—to capture the oohs and the aahs and the attention—is to spend a lot of money. The average wedding in America costs about $30,000 … Surveys have found that roughly 30 to 45 percent of couples report taking on credit-card or other debt to pay for them. Wedding loans … can carry interest rates as high as 30 percent … Last year, approximately 13,000 weddings in America cost $1 million or more … It costs a lot to make something look nice; it costs even more to make it feel nice—to make sure all your guests are comfortable, and well fed, and entertained. A wedding is not a photograph of a wedding. A wedding—a good wedding—is immersive theater, a living, breathing work of art … unlike bags or jewelry, you can’t really knock off a nice wedding.”
♥ Got a Flight? Don’t Even Think About Checking a Bag. (The New York Times): “One 2013 survey found just 19 percent of passengers traveled exclusively carry-on; by last year, a separate survey had found that this carry-on-only group had climbed to 41 percent of travelers … the rate of mishandled bags almost doubled globally from 2021 to 2022, to 7.6 bags per 1,000 passengers. International passengers had it especially bad with a rate of 19.3 mishandled bags per 1,000 travelers — almost eight times the rate for domestic passengers.”
♥ Recently purchased: Longchamp Le Pliage Xtra Leather Crossbody Bag, ZVE iPhone Wallet Case Crossbody, J.Crew Gwyneth Slip Dress in Luster Charmeuse, J.Crew Odette Sweater Lady Jacket in Cotton-Blend Bouclé (new colorway added!), Valentino Rockstud Satin Ballerina Flats, Lululemon Ribbed Softstreme Slim-Fit Tank Dress, and Dolce Vita Corry H2O Boots.
Have a great week, everyone!