Breaking News: People Don’t Like Girls Who Wear Abercrombie and Fitch Anymore

Today’s teenagers have realized something that my peers in high school failed to realize back in the mid-2000s: Abercrombie and Fitch is totally lame.

Earlier this month, The New Yorker published a lengthy discussion of how and why some stores aimed at teens are floundering. Analysts have actually tried to come up with reasons for A&F, American Eagle, and Aeropostale’s rapid decline in popularity. Apparently it’s because everybody I went to high school with was a conformist, while today’s teens care more about copying high fashion cheaply.

Abercrombie in particular shot itself in the foot in the late 2000s when it marketed itself as a “luxury” and “exclusionary” brand (The New Yorker‘s words, not mine. I never thought of the moose logo as being somehow exclusionary. I just saw it as a representation of a store that doused its clothing in cologne and made you rifle through its merchandise in the dark. I was, however, quite the fan of American Eagle.).

This attitude started working against Abercrombie during the recession, around 2008. That’s when [analyst Steph] Wissink started noticing fewer Abercrombie logos in the schools she visited; people (young, old, fat, skinny) could no longer afford Abercrombie’s prices for T-shirts and hoodies. Around this the time, H&M and Forever 21 started to thrive by selling super-cheap, accessible runway knockoffs. The economy has recovered since then, but the turn toward “fast fashion” proved durable.

Over the past few years, I realized I didn’t see as many people wearing stuff with the moose, eagle, or seagull logo on them, but I attributed that to the fact that I am now an old person who doesn’t hang out with kids who are still running around with learner’s permits. Little did I know that these young kids have wised up and are swapping out their popped collars and lace-trimmed camis for cropped skinny jeans and whimsical button-downs.

This observation from Wissink also stuck out to me:

Ten years ago, I could walk into an auditorium of two hundred kids, I could turn my back and tell them to switch seats and scramble.” Then, she said, she would turn around and guess which kids belonged to the same social groups according to what they were wearing—usually with great success. “Today,” she said, “it’s next to impossible.”

Today’s teens use Instagram, Twitter, and blogs to express their personalities, their views on the world, and their likes and dislikes. It makes sense that they want their clothing to be another vehicle of self-expression. They don’t want to all send the same message as everybody else in their class.

The tail-end of the Millennial generation may be selfie-obsessed, but we should at least give them a little bit of credit for being more creative with their clothing than we were.

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Weekly(ish) Retweet Roundup

Here are my summaries of some of the news stories I retweeted this week. Featuring: the French “ban” on checking work e-mails, the “Gone Girl” trailer, ‘New Girl”s Max Greenfield’s thoughts on ‘Scandal,’ and how millennials are screwing up their finances.

France Didn’t Ban People From Checking Work E-mail After 6 p.m. This is Why it Should Have | via The Washington Post

There were false reports last week that France had passed a law banning the checking of work e-mails after 6 p.m. Turns out that the “policy” was actually only part of an agreement between some labor unions and companies. However, the author of this article points out that France already has a shorter work week than many other countries – only 35 hours per week. This actually makes French workers more productive, less stressed, and less tired. Um, maybe us Americans should start doing this too?

Ben Affleck May or May Not Have Killed His Wife in David Fincher’s ‘Gone Girl’ | via Slate

We finally got to see the trailer for the movie adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s mystery thriller “Gone Girl” this week, and every news outlet was abuzz. The trailer flies from one scene to the next – and doesn’t really offer too much background on the story. If I had never read the book, I probably wouldn’t even be bothered to watch the movie after seeing this trailer. Nevertheless, I’m still really excited about this film, and I think it’s so neat that Flynn actually re-wrote the last third of the screenplay so that even readers of the book won’t know what to expect.

Save Young People From Themselves | via The New York Times

New studies show that millennials are less inclined to save money for retirement – and they are less inclined to invest it in the stock market. That’s not really a surprise, considering how financially-scarred we are.

Less than half of people under the age of 25 who are eligible for 401(k)s take advantage of them. About 60 percent of people between 25 and 34 have 401(k)s. After watching the stock market plummet in 2008, most millennials have chosen to keep half of their retirement portfolios in cash (apparently this is a bad thing – for us and the rest of America).

Even the Stars of ‘New Girl’ Love ‘Scandal’ | via Max Greenfield’s Twitter

Weekly Retweet Roundup

Here are some summaries of articles I retweeted this week that I thought were pretty interesting, along with a few of my own thoughts on them. This might turn into a weekly post if I can keep up with it.

Tweet Post Logo“The Russians Are Coming” | via Foreign Policy

The author spews out 10 reasons why we shouldn’t believe Vladamir Putin’s promise to President Obama that he is not going to invade the Ukraine. Most of the reasons seem to revolve around the author’s belief that the Obama Administration is at fault, i.e., Putin revels in embarrassing the administration, the foreign policy circles in the United States have publicly stated either that Russia is not violating international law (this is an argument I strongly disagree with; Russia’s actions are a flagrant violation of international law and the laws of war – a full blog post on that is coming soon), and the U.S. government continues to sit and watch Russia’s incursion on Crimea unfold.

However, the author does not shy away from Russia’s responsibility for its untrustworthiness. He notes that Russia has consistently lied about what is going on in Crimea, as well as its own involvement in other international crises, such as the war raging in Syria.

Ax These Terms From Your Legal Writing | via ABA Journal

Did you know that courts in both England and the United States have addressed the question of whether the term “and/or” is a word? Well, they have, according to this article. And they have unanimously answered in the negative.  The Illinois Appellate Court went so far as to describe “and/or” as a “freakish fad” that is “an accuracy-destroying symbol.” So, in other words, it’s too vague for legal writing.

Other words that courts have either declared vague or at least open to several specific interpretations include “herein,” “deem,” “provided that,” “said,” and “same.”

Go figure.

 Is the Contraception Mandate Doomed? | via Slate

As you may know, Hobby Lobby filed a religious freedom claim asserting that it should not be required to provide health care coverage for specific contraceptives under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Hobby Lobby is not refusing to provide for contraceptives altogether, but rather, is refusing to pay for specific contraceptives that its owners believe can cause abortions. This article explains how the case arose, and what exactly happened during the oral arguments presented before the Supreme Court of the United States earlier this week. It’s a fascinating read, and the author cuts through the legalese so that you can really grasp what the case is truly about.