Weekly Link Roundup

+ I went to my local Popeyes the first day these wings appeared on the app. I tried the Roasted Garlic Parmesan (seen in the GIF) and the Signature Hot flavors, but found both underwhelming–I was fine with the heavy breading but the wings themselves were quite anemic and a bit undercooked; the generous coat of sauces further masked the flavor of the meat, which made me wonder if I was just eating mouthfuls of seasoning. With fast food, however, the quality of your order is heavily dependent on the location you visit, but I am not convinced these are a winner.

+ Popeyes New Wings Menu Could Ignite Another Chicken War (Business Insider): “The chain is bulldozing into a sector, led by , with five distinctly innovative flavors … A six-piece a la carte order cost $6.99. Unfortunately, there’s no mix and matching.”

+ Millennials Don’t Know What to Wear. Gen Z Has Thoughts. (The New York Times): “The rise of TikTok has led to trends changing so quickly that brands and consumers cannot keep up … maxi skirts and dresses (specifically denim and sheer materials) are trending, while high-waisted, pleated midi-skirts are on their way out … No-show or ankle socks were once ubiquitous. Now, showing ankles is ‘pretty polarizing’ … Infinity scarves are out, but blanket scarves, skinny scarves and mid-width waffle-knit or cashmere scarves in neutral colors are good options … The cross-body bag, which millennials have clung to for decades, is out … Stylists of all ages agree: Embrace your style and creativity, whatever that might look like.”

+ Hermès Plans 8% Price Hike as Annual Sales Top $14 Billion (The Business of Fashion): “Hermès reported another year of chart-topping growth, with annual sales rising 21 percent to €13.4 billion ($14.4 billion). Fourth-quarter sales rose 18 percent, beating expectations and defying the wider slowdown in luxury demand … The brand’s fastest growing categories last year were ready-to-wear and fashion accessories (up 28 percent), jewellery and homeware (up 26 percent), and watches (up 23 percent) … the brand would raise prices this year by between 8 and 9 percent. In recent years, Hermès has implemented more modest increases compared to rivals that hiked prices aggressively: many Chanel handbags are now priced higher than Hermès’ flagship Birkin style … Hermès’ move to increase prices comes as most other brands back away from price hikes in response to softer demand and slowing inflation in key markets. Hermès said the move was simply a function of rising costs.”

+ I Know What You Did on the Playground (The Cut): “Nannies typically rely on one another for advice in navigating tricky employment problems and abuses, but lately they also band together to plot potential recourse or even retaliation when they are fired or their photos are taken without their permission. Some parents told me they now feel too intimidated to speak up online about other people’s nannies given the potential backlash — whether that’s getting called out as racists by their peers or stoking the ire of the caregiver community.”

+ Why Rich People Don’t Cover Their Windows (The Atlantic): “Most people do still close their shades, but Americans who earn more than $150,000 are almost twice as likely to leave windows uncovered as those making $20,000 to $29,000 … Uncovered windows bring in natural light, boost well-being, and offer a view of the world outside. The trade-off, of course, is that they also put those inside on display to passersby, and in the summer, they channel heat. For many, the concerns about privacy and finances outweigh the aesthetic and mental health benefits. But for those in the highest income brackets, the calculus is different: People with a big home can more easily get natural light and privacy, and they don’t need to worry so much about heating and cooling costs. Slowly, uncovered windows have become a status symbol.”

+ Why Levi’s Is Looking Beyond Denim (The Business of Fashion): “Recent fashion trends have not always been kind to denim brands: analysts expect Levi’s to report a scant 1 percent increase in sales when it releases financial results for 2023 … Margins are slipping too, as wholesale retailers, which drive 60 percent of the brand’s revenue, slash prices to bring customers back to stores … The plan to pull Levi’s out of its slump centres around steering more sales to its own website and stores. By at least 2027, the company wants 55 percent of revenue to come from direct-to-consumer channels … it’s trying to change its perception as a go-to for denim and denim only. That means selling more shirts and dresses, as well as apparel from Beyond Yoga, the athleisure brand it acquired for $400 million in 2021. It also means pivoting focus from selling timeless classics, some of which haven’t changed substantially in decades, to speedy production of on-trend items.”

+ Have High Prices Killed the Joy of Trying New Restaurants? (Bon Appétit): “… even as Americans were spending more dining out, data suggested they were going out less … diners today are less likely to take a risk on a restaurant that they’ve never tried, and if the meal isn’t incredible, they’re unlikely to return. They’re more suspicious of hype and less willing to dine out on impulse. They’re looking for deals, and they’re splurging only when they’re confident a meal will be worth it. Everyone is jumping on the same reservations because disappointment is a luxury … It’s possible that meals won’t get even more expensive. Restaurant prices may have peaked, at least in New York … Still, things may not get more affordable. He expects that many of the increases are here to stay, and that some restaurants will be permanently out of reach for most people.”

+ Humorist Simon Rich’s 2021 collection of eleven short stories, New Teeth: Stories, mixes wit, absurdity, and heart; while this book doesn’t demand to be read in one sitting or like a novel, you can very easily finish it in a few hours or skip over any pieces that lose your attention. The stories–mostly told from the perspective of unlikely protagonists–exist in different universes but are connected by the recurrent theme of parenthood, a topic that inspires Rich as he is the father of two small children.

While none of the stories in New Teeth are unoriginal or bland, I struggled to get through some of the longer pieces written in sillier voices–the schtick wore thin after a few pages: that was the case for “Clobbo” (about an aged superape “promoted” to desk duty) and “Learning the Ropes” (I think I am just over pirate speak right now, so I found all the “Arr’s” sprinkled throughout the story grating).

My favorite story from New Teeth is “The Big Nap“–which is written in the style of noir fiction and centers on a toddler detective; while it’s not laugh-out-loud funny, it is extremely cute and inventive. Another story that I enjoyed, which is more sentimental than humorous, is “LaserDisc”; this story is told from the perspective of a LaserDisc player, an item usually relegated to the background.

+ Robots Are Coming for Your Love Life (Bloomberg): “Under a premium membership-based model, Teleport aims to stoke romance and take a chunk of the $4.6 billion dating app market, using an AI matchmaker that learns from a user’s every activity — including which of five daily profiles they view, to whom they send messages and feedback given about dates they go on. They’ll be provided three optimized matches per week, but be able to message with only one … Teleport founder Goodman says the app’s AI is able to perform matchmaking at scale for its members, who will need to pay for at least three months of membership to begin. This, he says, will allow the algorithm to learn what people are looking for and ultimately to find a long-term connection that outlasts the investment period. The company has hosted in-person events both to expand the wait list and help people meet others in real life.”

+ What Chanel’s Resale Win Means for the Market (The Business of Fashion): “After six years of legal wrangling, a New York jury sided with Chanel in a landmark case against resale business What Goes Around Comes Around, which included complaints of trademark infringement, the sale of counterfeit goods and false advertising. Chanel was awarded $4 million in statutory damages … To be clear, the case doesn’t threaten the right to resell products in the first place. Instead, it’s about who’s responsible when counterfeit goods end up on the market and how resellers can promote the brands they carry.”

+ Against Trendbait (Vox): “There is a case to be made that the constant stream of phrases vying to become widely used slang exemplifies a deep appreciation for language among the extremely online, or a desire to connect over the intricacies of the human experience … But chances are, either you have never heard of any of these terms or you have heard of so many that you are starting to become a little bit fatigued by them. It is not novel to note that TikTok has sped up the trend cycle, creating incentives for users to remix or react to the latest viral video and forget about it once it’s no longer a reliable source of views. What this has wrought is a graveyard of microtrends and niche aesthetics for people to try on, care about only to the extent that they generate attention, and then discard for the next thing … over the past few years, TikTokers have clamored to coin the next new trend.”

+ Why WAGs Are Making a Fashion Comeback (The Business of Fashion): “WAGs have long been a cultural force, but in the past, their public image has mostly been out of their hands, the product of photographs in the stands and tabloid chatter. But today, many double as influencers, capitalising on interest in pulling back the curtain on what it really means to be a WAG … WAGs are bringing a new audience to the sports they’re associated with. The NFL has seen its highest levels of female viewership since it started tracking data … with a 53 percent spike in teenage female viewers … The leagues themselves are starting to recognise their power. Kristin Juszczyk, a clothing designer who is married to 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk, recently nabbed a licensing deal with NFL Fashion — her jersey puffer jackets went viral after Swift and Mahomes wore them to a Chief game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Christmas Day.”

+ How Did Polyamory Become So Popular? (The New Yorker): “Marriage has been drafty lately. Everywhere you turn, the door couples close behind them when they enter the sanctum of matrimony is being left ajar … Fifty-one per cent of adults younger than thirty told Pew Research, in 2023, that open marriage was ‘acceptable,’ and twenty per cent of all Americans report experimenting with some form of non-monogamy … Non-monogamy … is increasingly being presented not as a threat to bourgeois marriage but, rather, as a way to save the institution and all that it affords.”

+ You Could Take Ozempic and Not Lose Any Weight (The Atlantic): “… the two biggest reasons some people don’t lose weight on GLP-1 drugs—side effects and nonresponse … The GLP-1 drugs … are known for causing potentially gnarly gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting, although most people’s reactions are mild and temporary … In one of the biggest studies of semaglutide, encompassing more than 17,000 people over about five years, nearly 17 percent of patients discontinued the medication because of side effects. Far more mysterious are the people who tolerate the drugs but respond weakly to them … About 14 percent of people who took semaglutide for obesity saw minimal impacts of less than 5 percent weight loss in one study … But no matter how good these drugs get, it’s unrealistic to think that they’ll become a one-size-fits-all treatment for everyone with obesity. The disease is simply too complex, with too many drivers, for a single type of medication to treat it. More than 200 different drugs exist for treating high blood pressure alone.”

+ What’s Behind This $10 Chicken Over Rice? An $18,000 Permit. (The New York Times): “A longstanding cap limited the number of permits to 5,100, before a 2021 law began allowing for 445 new permits a year for a decade. So far, the city has issued 71 new permits. Almost 9,500 people were on waiting lists in January … A spokesman said it had released 1,074 applications — a permit prerequisite — since the law was enacted, but most applicants had yet to complete the process. While he waits, Mr. Mousa said he and his business partner pay $18,000 in cash every two years to rent their permit from a Bronx cabdriver who Mr. Mousa said obtained it decades ago for a few hundred dollars.”

+ Recently purchased: Rockport Kacey Penny Loafer Flat, MANGO Contrast Stripe V-Neck Sweater, J.Crew Elbow-Sleeve Button-Up Sweater-Dress, Barbour Greta Showerproof Belted Trench Coat, J.Crew Tiered Shirtdress, Banana Republic Cece Maxi Sweater Dress, Gap Linen-Blend Button Mini Dress, Reformation Moira Dress, and Shiseido Tsubaki Premium Repair Hair Mask.

Have a good week, everyone!

Hi, I am Elle!

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