Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Link List: On Twitter and J.Crew

Pictured above is the cake selection at Laduree on the Upper East Side. Those strawberry-shaped ones are adorable! I ended up just getting macarons, though. 

1. // I've never understood Twitter, no matter how much I try. I've been following a court proceeding that a few journalists cover, but that generally isn't making it into that many full-length articles, so Twitter has been the best platform for keeping an eye on the case. The level of discourse is... low. The journalists themselves are fantastic, with an unusual knack for explaining some rather dense legal concepts in 280 characters or less, but the people who reply to them are... clueless, despite the journalists' best efforts. When I run a more general search, the majority of tweets with the case's keywords are from obvious bots (the case is somewhat political) tweeting a string of the related hashtags and then some gibberish for unknown purposes. 

That's an awkward way of transitioning to this, a 2015 New Yorker article about the power of Twitter to do good, and how, through social media, a member of the ultra-hateful Westboro Baptist Church began to question what the church (comprised mostly of the members of her extended family) had taught her, to the point where she left. It's a great read. 

2. // There was an unusually entertaining r/AskReddit thread about petty dramas currently going on in the world of various smaller, sometimes very niche, communities or hobbies. Among the posts was a description of the Evgenia Medvedeva coaching drama. (Medvedeva has been impeccably professional in her public statements, her former coach not so much.) 

Then there's #cockygate, an instance of possible misuse of the American trademark system and the federal courts in the world of indie romance novel publishing. Speaking of Twitter, Courtney Milan did a good explanation of it and posted the transcript from a recent SDNY hearing in the matter, which has some great moments. 

3. // Blog-wise, Michelle had a great recommendation for where to donate clothes that still have some life in them (given that Goodwill and the like generally receive such a high volume of donations that most won't be resold and reused). Luxe did a great post about childhood and what children may, or may not, take away from growing up with less. Many of her readers shared their experiences and well, one takeaway is that school lunch can be surprisingly treacherous and fraught, and that each school had its own unique culture surrounding it. Breath of Fresh Wear accurately described an experience that many people, including myself, can relate to, of trying hard to resist a new trend for months because it seems silly, but eventually caving in. 

Please note that this portion of the post contains affiliate links that could result in a commission, typically a few cents, for me if you click. Thank you for your support!

4. // By now, it's a tedious and overdone thing to bemoan the decline of J.Crew (I last did so in 2015, and was already late to the party then), but I was there last week to try on a smaller size of that camel-colored sweater blazer I mentioned (at Engineer L's recommendation, which was right on the money), and I was confused to see outlet items, from their "Mercantile" line in a prominent section at the front of the store, alongside "main line" J.Crew items, something they're also doing on their website.

I actually love J.Crew Factory, and am in fact far more likely to buy there (especially their wool-blend suiting, I own all three colors of the blazer and pencil skirt) than at main line J.Crew. But I'm completely perplexed by their stated intention to merge Mercantile, originally designed for Factory, with J.Crew as part of a relaunch. Customers who used to love J.Crew in the increasingly-distant past almost uniformly describe how they desperately miss the higher-quality materials and construction of "old J.Crew". In that light, muddling the line between Mercantile and J.Crew will likely not help attract those customers back

As for me, I first fell in love with J.Crew in college (I have particularly fond memories of the April and Holiday 2008 catalogs), when it was a highly aspirational-to-me brand that I could only afford at the tail end of the post-holiday sales. They had this delightfully consistent aesthetic of "classic with a feminine twist", whether in the form of embellishments like a few relatively understated ruffles or vibrant, fun colors. I often hear that the quality of their items had already declined by then, but I still have a silk top I bought that year, and it's noticeably made of nicer materials than anything I've seen them stock in recent memory.

By now, especially with my recent visit, it was painfully clear that J.Crew no longer has a consistent aesthetic and most things are iffy quality, as everyone has been complaining about for years. That cap-sleeve detail dress that looks just like the sold-out except for one size Ann Taylor one I'm so fond of is just... sad looking on the rack. I've generally found recent iterations of J.Crew's wool suiting material to be thin and flimsy-looking, and that dress is no exception. The designs in their new "Point Sur" resort-looking collection are... generally weird. (What is with the ruffles under the armpit on this top and this dress?) That being said I kept that sweater blazer in the smaller size.

Do you understand Twitter? Any suggestions for how to better understand it? Do you remember the culture of school lunch from when you were small? I went to a predominantly Asian-American public school in California, almost all of us children of recent immigrants. A good half of kids who brought lunch often brought in their parents' home cooking, and nobody would ever think to make fun of any ethnic cuisine unfamiliar to them as being "stinky" or "gross". Outside of that, we probably had about equal numbers of kids bringing lunch versus buying "hot lunch", and I don't think there was any different treatment or "lunch shaming" if anyone's account fell into arrears. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love to hear from anyone who might be reading! Please feel free to leave a comment or question.