Weekend Link Roundup

August 12, 2017

Caslon® Jersey Drop Waist Dress // Black-White // XS
▪ The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale may be over, but hundreds of new styles have recently been permanently discounted (including the Caslon® Jersey Drop Waist Dress seen above; it runs about a size big). Here are my picks: Halogen Convertible Leather Crossbody Bag, Free People Ilektra Lace Minidress, Nike Free RN 2 Running Shoe, Sam Edelman Greta Sandal, Topshop Cluster Sneaker, Free People Cora Embroidered Minidress, Stuart Weitzman Highland Over the Knee Boot, and Arturo Chiang Hammil Block Heel Sandal.

Why Is Steve Madden Surviving the Retail Apocalypse? (Racked): "Steve Madden's most recent earnings revealed that the company’s sales are up 15 percent year over year — hitting $374 million — and it expects its 2017 annual revenue to jump some 11 percent ... It’s a far cry from everything else that’s going on in retail right now. To top it all off, Steve Madden just opened a giant 2,000-square-foot store in Times Square, an extremely costly endeavor at a time when most clothing brands are closing their stores at a record pace."

Motherhood Isn't Sacrifice, It's Selfishness (The New York Times): "Motherhood is not a sacrifice, but a privilege — one that many of us choose selfishly. At its most atavistic, procreating ensures that our genes survive into the next generation. You could call this selfishness as biological imperative. On a personal level, when we bring into the world a being that is of us, someone we will protect and love and for whom we will do everything we can to help thrive and flourish, it begets the question, How is this selfless? Selflessness implies that we have no skin in the game. In motherhood, we’re all in."

Tap Water Could Be to Blame for Your Beauty Woes (Racked): " if the water has been deemed safe for drinking, why should we worry about it on our skin? ... Heavy metals (iron, copper, zinc, magnesium, and lead) are free radicals found in tap water, perspiration, and in an unbound form in skin. The heavy metals found in tap water are actually free radicals themselves. They also generate other free radicals (like a chain reaction) that destroy collagen ... breaking down collagen, causing wrinkles and fine lines, inducing inflammation, and causing and aggravating conditions like acne and rosacea."

Why Are There No New Major Religions? (The Atlantic): "Though the world’s religions are very dynamic, and major faiths continue to shift and evolve in ritual and doctrine, the world today is dominated by the same four faiths that dominated the globe a millennium ago: Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. According to a 2012 Pew study, 92 percent of religiously affiliated people around the globe belong to one of these four faiths ... perhaps the biggest reason that new faiths like Scientology, Raëlism or Millah Abraham have failed to take off is the lack of state sponsorship. A major turning point for classical Christianity was when Constantine the Great decided to halt the persecution of Christians in the Empire, instead embracing elements of the faith. Over the next few centuries Christianity became the dominant religion in the Empire. Christianity wasn’t the only major religion to be boosted this way: Islam also spread by the sword, with armies sweeping forth to conquer and convert North Africa and Spain in the centuries after Muhammad’s death. Throughout their history both Buddhism and Hinduism have been powerfully lifted by state patronage."

Unlearning the Myth of American Innocence (The Guardian): "We are told [the United States] is the greatest country on earth. The thing is, we will never reconsider that narrative the way you are doing just now, because to us, that isn’t propaganda, that is truth. And to us, that isn’t nationalism, it’s patriotism. And the thing is, we will never question any of it because at the same time, all we are being told is how free-thinking we are, that we are free. So we don’t know there is anything wrong in believing our country is the greatest on earth. The whole thing sort of convinces you that a collective consciousness in the world came to that very conclusion."

▪ Select full-price styles are 50% off at LOFT (discount applies in cart). My picks: Sand Dollar Romper, Eyelet Off the Shoulder Dress, Utility Blouse, Floral Utility Blouse, Floral Tiered Dress, and Flutter Wrap Romper.

These People Pay the Most Overdraft Fees (Bloomberg): "Essentially, frequent overdrafters paid $450 annually for a series of what you could call extremely short-term, extremely small loans. Those consumers made up 9 million, or 22.5 percent, of the 40 million accounts the CFPB studied at a small number of large banks, and they paid 79 percent of the banks’ total overdraft and NSF fees ... What makes this all particularly perverse is that the CFPB estimated in previous studies that most debit card transactions leading to overdrafts are $24 or less. That small overdraft, however, can lead to a cascade of big fees if the consumer doesn’t catch it, and thus continues to use the card as usual or doesn’t pause automatic payments for cable, power, and the gym."

Modern American Elites Have Come To Favour Inconspicuous Consumption (The Economist): "... as the patricians of classical times changed their habits once the masses gained the ability to copy them, so too have modern American elites recoiled from accumulating mere goods now that globalisation has made them affordable to the middle class. Instead ... they have begun consuming the fruits of 'conspicuous production': socially worthy things like fair-trade coffee. They also emphasise 'inconspicuous consumption', of services like education. Far from making the world more egalitarian, this shift, in particular, threatens to entrench modern elites’ privileged position more effectively than the habits of their predecessors ever did."

The Retail Apocalypse Is Heading Straight for Kroger, Whole Foods, and Aldi (Business Insider): "Department stores and many mall-based retailers started engaging in a similarly aggressive price war during the recession following years of over-expansion, and most never recovered. Shoppers grew accustomed to the constant discounts and stopped shopping full-price. Now, these retailers are closing stores, shedding jobs, and filing for bankruptcy at staggering rates ... Grocery stores could be heading down the same path."

Is This Dog Dangerous? Shelters Struggle With Live-or-Die Tests (The New York Times): "The debate over how dogs should be evaluated arrives as efforts to generally improve outcomes for shelter animals are on an upswing ... annual adoption rates have risen nearly 20 percent since 2011 — a period during which owning a 'rescue dog' acquired something of a righteous hipness. Euthanasia rates are down, although the A.S.P.C.A. said 670,000 dogs are put to death each year. Some veterinary schools even offer shelter-medicine specializations."

Full-price dresses are $50 off at Ann Taylor with code DRESSITUP (though the code will also work on my favorite Mila Pumps; read my review here). A few picks: Off the Shoulder Maxi Dress, Bold Blooms Dress, Seasonless Stretch Boatneck Sheath Dress, and Tie Neck Shift Dress.

Big Med (The New Yorker): "Cheesecake Factory ... the chain: a hundred and sixty restaurants with a catalogue-like menu that ... listed three hundred and eight dinner items ... plus a hundred and twenty-four choices of beverage ... The chain serves more than eighty million people per year ... everything’s pretty much made from scratch ... Unlike the Cheesecake Factory ... [medicine hasn't] figured out how ... costs are soaring, the service is typically mediocre, and the quality is unreliable. Every clinician has his or her own way of doing things, and the rates of failure and complication (not to mention the costs) for a given service routinely vary by a factor of two or three, even within the same hospital."

Are Sales Incentives Becoming Obsolete? (HBR): "Before the proliferation of digital information and buying channels, buyers usually relied on field salespeople’s help and expertise when purchasing. Salespeople 'owned' relationships with customers, and had considerable impact on purchase decisions. This made it easy to measure individual sales results ... Today digital channels make buyers more informed, connected, and socially influenced. Buyers no longer view salespeople as their primary connection to companies they want to do business with. For simple product purchases such as office supplies, many buyers are self-sufficient. They get information online and purchase through websites supported by inside sales and service. Field salespeople no longer have impact on buying decisions."

Jeff Bezos Should Put His Billions Into Libraries (Wired): "Today, libraries are serving as essential civic places. Trusted by every part of American society, they're the only noncommercial places other than city squares where people meet across genders and ages. They provide all kinds of services and programming ... these great pieces of civic architecture are being repurposed: They're places that offer classes in computer skills and thousands of other subjects, provide internet access to millions of Americans who can't afford it, and host innumerable neighborhood meetings. Libraries these days are providing meals to kids and adults through local food banks, working with local immigrant agencies, offering homework help, and loaning out an amazing array of things, from musical instruments to microscopes ... What they're up to is dazzling. And in 2013, 94 percent of Americans said that having a public library improves the quality of life in a community. As America gets older and more unequal, its people need new forms of education to thrive—and libraries are ground zero for every public value the country cares about."

American Apparel Is Officially Back in Business (Racked): "Gildan Activewear, which acquired American Apparel out of bankruptcy proceedings, has finally gotten American Apparel’s e-commerce site back up and running, and it’s full of old school pieces ... But it’s not all the same. Gildan only purchased American Apparel’s name — not its operations —

▪ Recent purchases: ASOS Scuba Gingham Bow Front Midi Prom Dress, LOFT Floral Tiered Dress, BP Tie Front Blouse, Abercrombie & Fitch Button Crewneck Sweater, and Adidas Gazelle Sneaker.

Happy shopping!

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