The stuff people live in

We’re in New York right now, for the first time since we moved more than a year ago. We’re staying in Manhattan, not Brooklyn, in a neighborhood we know well but have never lived in. Still, it feels in many ways like the past 17-or-so months in LA were a dream; New York remains the most familiar. We quickly fell into old habits: restaurants, shops, running into people we know on the street/avoiding people we know on the street. I can smell the ambition.

I’m not going to unpack my addiction to New York — that’s what therapists are for! — but instead just note how much I missed traveling. One of the best things about being in a different place is seeing how people dress: not only the fabulous people at museums and galleries or on the subway, but the “normies” — the mediocre dressers, who think they don’t care much about fashion or if they do, aren’t very adventurous. I often get story ideas from seeing the way these people pick their clothes: I love anecdotal evidence that a brand is popular. For instance, I am spending a lot of time in parks along the Westside highway with my baby — so many tummy time options — and I’m running there, too, a few days a week. What I’ve observed is that New Yorkers are indeed buying On Running shoes — mostly for walking, it seems. They’re popular as hell here — and not something I ever see in LA.

(As for running gear, Lululemon is dominant, but I have seen Tracksmith creeping in: mostly with runners that seem to be part of brand-organized groups.)

Speaking of “stuff people live in,” you all know by now that Entireworld closed. I’m not going to get into it much here because I am still on parental leave — getting paid to take care of my baby is a serious privilege. I do, of course, I have a gazillion thoughts, some of which I will surely channel into larger stories when I go back to my other job later this year. If you are deeply interested, be sure to read Michael Williams’ thoughts on the subject, which I thought were spot on.

I will say only this for now. Back when I broke the news about the launch of Entireworld, I wrote that founder Scott Sternberg was attempting to create a line of clothing that consumers would feel attached to, becoming their go-to for basics: t-shirts, socks, underwear, etc. Over a fairly short period of time, a niche of consumers did indeed develop an emotional connection to it. But in reality, most people — the normies — aren’t that obsessive about clothes. I’m not one to share outfit credits, but after I got dressed this morning I noticed I was wearing: a Theory turtleneck under an Alex Mill sweater, Uniqlo U jeans, Uniqlo U bag, Entireworld socks and Bass penny loafers (inspired, actually, by the way some models were styled on the Entireworld website last year). I’m a far more intentional shopper than most, but without thinking, I was wearing three items bought from brands owned by Fast Retailing (the parent company of both Uniqlo and Theory). I do actually “live in” Uniqlo these days, and many sorta-snobby-but-still-practical Americans do as well. Just the way many less-snobby live in Gap (yes, still!) and far more live in Amazon.

Actually, some of the snobbiest love Amazon Basics. During the pandemic, so many friends bought their sweatsuits from Amazon! So that’s just to say that if you want to sell affordable clothing, you need scale, and to scale you need a crap ton of money, the ability to open a bunch of physical stores, etc etc etc. That’s the one universal truth in this story, swimming amongst a sea of nuances.

Newsletters I Subscribe to But Don’t Pay For

Still not reading much — did you know babies have to be played with and read to between naps?! — but I wanted to mention a few newsletters that I don’t pay for but really enjoy. Also, I definitely forgot a couple that I pay for last time (including Hunter Harris’, great for Bennifer 1.0v2 updates).

Atoosa Unedited: former Seventeen magazine Atoosa Rubenstein’s return to media after a decade-long hiatus. She’s on a mission, I’d say, to do away with shame, and I love it.

Lettre Recommandée: Dispatches from Paris, from New Yorker writer Lauren Collins. It’s lovely.

Usnackable: Thoughts on snacks and treats and other things from singular talent Folu Akinkuotu.

Meditations in an Emergency: short, engrossing essays from the writer Rosecrans Baldwin. I’ve read his two nonfiction books (one on Paris, the other on LA) and I like his work.

Public Announcement: the ultimate cultural link roundup.

Opulent Tips: Rachel loves life, and fashion, and this newsletter is fabulous. Apparently there is a waitlist but I am confident that, if you swallow your pride and DM her, you will be admitted to the club fairly swiftly. I don't want to jinx it for you, though, so don't tell her I sent you!

Storq Crib Sheet: Sweet link roundup from a cute mommy brand. Did you know I’m a mommy now?

Eater editor-in-chief Amanda Kludt’s end-of-week newsletter: I read Eater constantly and have incorporated Amanda’s newsletter into my Saturday routine.

Five Weeknight Dishes from the New York Times: They send it on Friday night so you can buy ingredients over the weekend.

California Today and NY Today from the New York Times: I need to know what’s going on in both places. This makes that possible — and sometimes even pleasant.