Goodbye, Blazers; Hello, ‘Coatigans.’ Women Adjust Attire to Work at Home.

In the Before Times, said Rebecca Rittenberg, a 28-year-old who works in advertising sales for Google in New York, one of her favorite parts about going to the office was “showing up in a funky, cool professional outfit.”

A smart pair of pants, colorful or patterned blouses, blazers, skirts, dresses, heeled boots and designer sneakers were all part of her wardrobe, which she used to express her personality and keep up with her stylish ad world colleagues.

Now, after eight months of working from home, and with Google saying workers won’t have to return in person until next summer at the earliest, a big swath of that apparel has been donated and replaced. Ms. Rittenberg’s new definition of “work clothes” includes cashmere cardigans and joggers, headbands, and other cozy garments that fall somewhere in the “healthy in-between” of pajamas and blazers.

“I looked at my stuff I used to wear to the office all the time and thought, ‘When am I ever going to touch this again?’” she said. “Our mind-sets have shifted a bit with this pandemic and the fact that we’ve all been working from home for so long. Once we are back in the office, which I do think will happen, it just seems like a pretty extreme jump to go back to wearing a blazer and pencil skirt and heels again.”

Bloomingdale’s has watched customers increasingly seek out cashmere, flat shoes, pants with elastic waistbands and other comfy apparel, while brands like Theory have rushed to add more casual clothing to their lines, said Denise Magid, an executive vice president at Bloomingdale’s who oversees ready-to-wear apparel.

“Regardless of when people go back to the office, I think people have grown comfortable with what they’re wearing,” Ms. Magid said. “I just can’t see people giving away the feeling of comfort.”

The retail landscape is changing with the new needs of the remote worker. Bankruptcies this year included Brooks Brothers and the owner of Ann Taylor and Loft. Rent the Runway closed all of its stores and removed its unlimited subscription option. In Gap Inc.’s latest quarter, net sales soared 15 percent at Old Navy and 35 percent at Athleta while plummeting 34 percent at Banana Republic.

Gap named a new head of Banana Republic last week and said on an earnings call that the brand had been “working hard to update its product assortment” for an era of remote work, favoring more casual clothes over tailored garments and suiting.

Professional women have long been a lucrative market. Retailers see them as customers who tend to have money

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Pompeo expected to hand Israeli settlers goodbye gift with trip to winery

Mike Pompeo is expected to tour an Israeli winery this week built on land Palestinian families say was stolen from them, a deeply provocative act that would make him the first US secretary of state to officially visit a settlement in the occupied territories.

text, whiteboard: Photograph: Majdi Mohammed/AP

© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Majdi Mohammed/AP

The top diplomat’s visit has been widely reported by Israeli media but not confirmed by Washington. If it went ahead, it would be a parting gift to Israel’s nationalist government and the settler movement, as the Trump administration scrambles in its final weeks to impose a vision for the Middle East that has deeply favoured Israel’s far-right.

text: Palestinians protest against expected visit of the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the Jewish settlement of Psagot.

© Photograph: Majdi Mohammed/AP
Palestinians protest against expected visit of the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the Jewish settlement of Psagot.

Psagot, a settlement built on a hilltop next to the Palestinian city of al-Bireh, runs a winery that produces 600,000 bottles a year and offers VIP tours with cheese tasting.

Last year, it released a red wine named after the secretary of state as “a show of gratitude and appreciation” for Pompeo’s declaration that the US would break away from international consensus and no longer argue that settlements are illegal.

Settlers and the Israeli government have attempted to push tourism in the occupied territories to bolster their claim to the land, not only with wine tours but also by establishing “national parks” where people can go on settler-run hiking holidays.

The winery’s website says it overlooks the “primordial landscape of Israel” despite being located deep inside the Palestinian territories and just metres from Palestinian families who say they were dispossessed.

a group of people that are standing in the grass: Palestinians hold balloons during a protest against Pompeo’s visit, near the Israeli settlement of Psagot. Photograph: Mohamad Torokman/Reuters

© Provided by The Guardian
Palestinians hold balloons during a protest against Pompeo’s visit, near the Israeli settlement of Psagot. Photograph: Mohamad Torokman/Reuters

On Wednesday, the day Pompeo flew to Israel for a three-day visit, representatives from those families gathered to protest against the trip on a hill in al-Bireh opposite the settlement.

Munif Treish, a member of al-Bireh Municipality, said roughly 50 Palestinians from five large families had ownership of the land, which they call Jabal al-Taweel. “All of it is on private land. We have all the documents; we have all the deeds,” he said.

Tamam Quran, a 25-year-old high school teacher who has American citizenship, said her grandmother used to pick grapes from the vines now used by the winery.

“Growing up a five-minute walk from where we are here now, I woke up every morning to the settlement,” she said.

As a West Bank resident, she said she would be arrested if she attempted to cross into Israeli territory without a permit. “Yet the secretary of state can visit a settlement that is internationally illegal and has no consequences?”

Donald Trump, who has courted pro-Israel voters from the evangelical Christian right, of which Pompeo is a member, has pushed through a series of policies that previous US presidents – Republican and Democrat – have avoided because they have been seen as overtly one-sided.


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Mink Farming and COVID-19: Here’s Why Fashion Needs to Finally Say Goodbye to Fur

From cancelled catwalk shows to store closures and wasted stock, the coronavirus has had an undeniable impact on the fashion industry these past nine months. Right now, however, it’s fashion’s role in triggering coronavirus outbreaks that has come under closer scrutiny.

Last week, Denmark announced it would be undertaking a mass cull of the country’s farmed mink population after mutated strains of COVID-19 had transferred to humans, infecting at least 12 people. The international concern is that the mutation could jeopardize the effectiveness of any potential vaccines, including the formulation announced this week by Pfizer.

Denmark is the world’s most prolific producer of mink pelts, with between 15 and 17 million of the animals housed in more than 1,000 mink farms when the cull was announced (meaning the mink population is at least treble that of Denmark’s human one). The mink are bred purely for their fur, much of which ends up being made into clothing, as well as furniture and soft furnishings. Although latest reports indicate that the cull has been scaled back to infected areas in the face of growing opposition and questions over the government’s legal advice, this could prove to be a crucial turning point for the global fur trade.

The scale of the cull—indicative of the appetite among brands and consumers for fur—is perhaps surprising, given that the fashion industry’s taste for fur is seemingly on the wane. Over the past few years a roster of high-profile brands including Prada, Burberry, Gucci, Chanel, Versace, Armani, and DKNY have all pledged to stop using fur altogether, some ceasing use of all pelts including mink, chinchilla and rabbit, and others going even further by halting production of anything made of exotic animal skins and angora, too.

Photo: Getty Images

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