Monday, June 3, 2019

Link List: On Shopping Diaries and Costume Design

My sister's dog is such a goof! I haven't been able to visit my sister for a while, as we spent our vacation time traveling to Maui together with our mom instead, so I borrowed/stole this photo from her.

It's been a while since my last link list post! K and I don't really have any further travels planned this summer, even though things tend to quiet down at the office (many of our colleagues try to get out early on Fridays to start driving out of the city for the weekend). Although work never fully stops with our biglaw and biglaw-ish projects, summer still tends to be a period where the pace of everything slows down because so many people, whether opposing counsel, our colleagues, or even the judge assigned to the case, will take vacation at various times.

I haven't really found any great long-form pieces to recommend in recent weeks, so this link list is a bit of a grab bag. Some of the most interesting things I've seen recently and that I want to discuss are actually based on comments from other people on Reddit or Corporette

1. // I thought this comment on Reddit about the social and economic pressures in the US that might lead so many people to multi-level-marketing ("MLM") or pyramid schemes was thoughtful and observant. I've done some work recently that involves reviewing MLM advertising material, and well, let's just say the language of it can start sounding a lot like the language used in some FIRE discourse online or on some money blogs (the more heavily commercialized one that I don't link to or recommend). While the recommendations made by each type of content are different, they share the trait of relying heavily on the siren's song of "financial freedom" and being able to spend more of your time on the things you care about rather than a 9-to-5 job, let's just say.

For more information on the MLM side of things, I highly recommend The Dream podcast, which gets particularly good and interesting in the later episodes, though it's a bit of a slow burn at the start. You would not believe the people in high places who have been known to do promotional work for or otherwise profit from big MLMs like Amway. 

2. // I was surprised to see that so many people on r/blogsnark enjoy a popular Instagram account (things.i.bought.and.liked) that's basically just a shopping diary, albeit from someone with a witty sense of humor than the average, it sounds like! Then again, I really enjoy shopping diary-like content (in some lights, that's even what my blog is half the time), as long as I feel that I can "trust" the reviews of the person behind it to be "true" to who they are and their tastes. Sure, our tastes and shopping budgets will all be different, but ideally, after reading a person's writing and commentary over a few weeks or months, I get a sense of what they like, whether we're similar clothes or shoe sizes or have similar tastes for some things, and how much their recommendations will work for me. 

3. // This isn't exactly something I would only have learned about from Corporette, but one of the topics that came up recently was that silly non-story about some of the legal fees Senator Warren previously charged. The rate was $675/hour, which I can assure you was probably modest for someone of that  level of expertise, and was also "at or below market rate" for the nature of the work being done, as people attested to in legal filings contemporaneous with when those fees were charged. Representative Ocasio-Cortez had a good take on it (venture into the comments on that tweet at your own peril, however).  

Anyway, I can personally vouch for standard biglaw billing rates these days generally starting at ~$450/hour for freshly graduated first-year associates (though it may be that there are other arrangements between firms and their corporate clients that mean the clients aren't paying for every single hour worked by first-years) and ranging up to over $1000/hour for various partners, not all of whom even have the specialized experience or credentials she did. Incidentally, the last time I recall biglaw-ish legal bills being in the news was in connection to the seizure of Michael Cohen's files last year, where the special master (a former federal judge who'd retired to the private sector) charged ~$700/hour, which is, quite frankly, likely also below market for an attorney of her stature. What was unusual there is that partners typically don't spend that many hours working on any single matter in such a short time, as they delegate a lot of the time-consuming work to their associates (they supervise those associates closely, though). 

4. // Now this is a super-old story that I never got around to sharing, but I enjoyed this Vox piece about how a few different authors approached "designing" a particular outfit for their book characters. One of the authors featured is Kevin Kwan, discussing Astrid from Crazy Rich Asians.

Recently, I've been thinking a lot about how I would describe my personal style, and how to make sure new purchases fit into it, so that I will love and put to good use anything I buy going forward. I personally find it helpful to think about this from a more "costume design" perspective: What kind of character would I be if my life were a movie or TV show, and how do my clothes, shoes, and accessories reflect that? Thus, I found this particular article, from an actual costume designer about how she approaches her job, to be super-interesting. (Sadly, it didn't attract much discussion when shared at r/femalefashionadvice.) 

5. // A few fun links from other blogs I follow: Maja has raised a remarkable collection of houseplants; I definitely learned some new things when reading about Jess's home-buying process, sadly, it'll be quite some time before we can think about buying a home; and Bitches Get Riches wrote some good food for thought on what types of spending from their parents felt or didn't feel impactful on their childhoods. Though one challenge with trying to make plans around such ideas is that I'm not sure one can easily predict what will be helpful to a particular child. I hated sports and all athletic activity, and also didn't particularly enjoy the idea of being a "team player" over the pursuit of, er,  personal glory. But I feel like I'd have ended up learning some valuable new skills if my parents had pushed a team sport on me for at least a few years. I'd have shrieked and complained about it to high heaven, though, and would have hated it. I certainly wouldn't have had a chance of acknowledging or appreciating the benefits until sometime in my mid or late 20s, at the earliest!

I also enjoyed the discussion of people's favorite colors for their wardrobe over at Talia's. I don't have restrictive rules about colors. If it looks good on my skin tone and can be worn with the other things I own (that one's not too difficult, because most of my clothes are neutrals), I'll be happy to wear it. Of course, just having those somewhat open-ended two "rules" or guidelines can end up being quite restrictive in practice. A lot of the colors that get popular or trendy some years (anything pastel, almost all coral shades, and most colors in the orange or yellow families, even if one of my favorite coats is bright red-orange) tend not to work well on my skin tone. My wardrobe definitely ends up heavily favoring certain colors (neutrals, darker jewel-tones) over others. 

Does anyone else think about their personal style from a more costume design-type perspective? Do you shop for your closet with any "rules" or guidelines about colors in mind? 

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