Supp of the Month: MusclePharm Combat Protein


MusclePharm Athlete John Gaines Jr.

Per Bernal / M+F Magazine

A quality protein powder is about more than just what’s on the nutrition label—it also has to be designed for your training regimen and lifestyle to get the most out of it. With a mix of five protein sources—including casein, whey concentrate, whey isolate, whey hydrolysate, and egg protein—MusclePharm’s Combat Protein Powder is ideal for athletes and active gymgoers looking for a shake that can be used both before and after you work out, as well as before you go to sleep.

The five-source blend in Combat Protein Powder includes proteins that are both slow- and fast-digesting, meaning your body will be in musclebuilding mode for longer, leading to better recovery and overall performance. Studies recommend an intake of 20 to 25g of protein after exercise if you’re looking to optimize recovery and build muscle, which is exactly what Combat gives you in every scoop. And if you’re strength training, Combat backs you up with the right amount of muscle-building protein without weighing you down with other macros: Each scoop has only 130 calories, 5g of carbs, and 1.5g of fat.

With its 25g of protein and added BCAAs and glutamine, MusclePharm’s Combat Protein Powder is a powerhouse recovery supplement designed to build quality muscle for the long haul. It’s easy to mix, can be taken around your workout and sleep schedule, and comes in a variety of flavors, such as Cookies ‘N Cream, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup, and Vanilla.

BOTTOM LINE:

This supp contains a blend of five protein sources designed to fuel your body for quick and longterm recovery. It’s perfect on the go, before and after your workouts, and before bed. Get it here>>

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Get the June 2019 Issue of ‘Muscle & Fitness’


Get the June 2019 Issue of ‘Muscle & Fitness’

Per Bernal

The June issue of Muscle & Fitness features the workout tips, healthy recipes, and motivation you need to get—and stay—ripped this summer.

Our cover star, Avengers: Endgame star Dave Bautista, never seems out of shape. But if you’re still struggling to trim some winter fluff and get beach-ready, our “Ultimate Beach Body” feature has got your back. With workouts from athletes and celebrities plus lifestyle tips from experts in the field, it’s your guide to getting chiseled as the weather warms up.

Whether your goal is to get huge, shed excess fat, or get a workout in without spending all day in the gym, you can’t go wrong with our full-body circuit program that takes just 25 minutes a day. It may sound like a shortcut, but rest assured you’ll leave the gym just as pumped and sweaty as you would after a much longer workout. Plus, get 10 fresh moves that you’ve probably never heard of but should definitely start utilizing.   

In our eyes, workouts are the fun part of getting fit. But don’t think we forgot about nutrition! Check out our guide to gluten-free grilling for some summer barbecue inspiration, and don’t miss our roundup of essential Mediterranean diet foods. Plus, find out everything you need to know about calories and how they affect your journey to an impressive physique. 

And since Muscle & Fitness also incorporates FLEX, you’ll find even more training and diet tips to help you make serious gains in the gym.

In this issue, check out our roundup of the 10 most shredded physiques of all time, and find out what the 2019 Arnold results mean for the upcoming 2019 Olympia. Once you’re feeling motivated, get a start on building your own stage-ready back with a comprehensive three-week plan inspired by bodybuilding’s Golden Era. If your training plan is on point but your kitchen skills are weak, we’ve got some idiot-proof recipes to help you stay on track. Of course, you’ll also find plenty more advanced training tips, nutrition tactics, and bodybuilding coverage in FLEX.

No matter where you are on the fitness spectrum, we’ve got it all right here in Muscle & Fitness and FLEX

GET THE NEW ISSUE OF MUSCLE & FITNESS ON NEWSSTANDS NOW!

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Disabled Strongman Sets World Record With a 1,113-pound Seated Deadlift

Former British Army Lance Corporal Martin Tye may be paralyzed from the knees down, but he hasn’t let his disability stop him from setting and achieving fitness goals. This past weekend at the North Somerset’s Strongest Man event in Wraxwall, UK, he completed a historic 505 kg (1,113-pound) seated deadlift, setting a new Guinness World Record in the process.

Just for reference, 2017 World’s Strongest Man, Eddie Hall, deadlifted 5 kg (11 pounds) less back in 2017 when he set the heaviest strongman deadlift world record. 

Tye suffered his life-changing injury when a suicide car bomber drove into his vehicle during a tour in Afghanistan back in 2009. He has no sensation from the knees down, and he also suffered injuries to his shoulder and lungs. Stricken with PTSD following the incident, Tye eventually began to use sports to help cope with his traumatic experience.

In addition to lifting, over the last three years Tye has participated in the Invictus Games twice, winning medals in events including indoor rowing, wheelchair rugby, and wheelchair basketball. 

In the coming months, he’ll be participating in the World’s Strongest Disabled Man competition in June, and plans to attempt an Atlas stone record in the future, as well. 

[RELATED1]
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Kate Middleton Chooses the Right Shoes to Ground Her All-Pink Garden Party Outfit

Kate Middleton made a chic arrival today in a spring-ready ensemble for a garden party held at Buckingham Palace in London.

The Duchess of Cambridge opted for a double-breasted blush pink coatdress with a box-pleated skirt from one of her go-to brands, Alexander McQueen. She accessorized with pearl earrings, an elegant fascinator hat by Juliette Botterill and a matching clutch to pair it with. Middleton finished off the look with a pair of nude suede pointed-toe pumps to ground her monochromatic outfit.


Prince William and Catherine Duchess of Cambridge, Garden party at Buckingham Palace, London, UK - 21 May 2019

Prince William and Catherine Duchess of Cambridge at the garden party at Buckingham Palace.
CREDIT: REX/Shutterstock


nude shoes, heels, suede, Prince William and Catherine Duchess of CambridgeGarden party at Buckingham Palace, London, UK - 21 May 2019

Detail of Kate Middleton’s nude heels on May 21, 2019.
CREDIT: Shutterstock

Meanwhile, Prince William went for a timeless three-piece look consisting of a topcoat, vest, shirt and tie, and trousers. He accessorized the outfit with a pocket square, top hat, umbrella and black dress shoes. The couple entered the event walking behind Queen Elizabeth, who also embraced the pastel theme with a light blue coat and printed dress. Over 8,000 guests attended the festivities.

Yesterday, Middleton attended the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in London in a different choice of footwear: white Superga sneakers. She paired them with a set of cropped wide-leg pants and a simple white blouse for the outdoorsy event.


pink alexander mcqueen dress, nude shoes, Prince William and Catherine Duchess of CambridgeGarden party at Buckingham Palace, London, UK - 21 May 2019

Kate Middleton wears a dress by Alexander McQueen on May 21, 2019.
CREDIT: Shutterstock

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Retail Store Closures: All the Companies That Are Downsizing in 2019

The so-called “retail apocalypse” is well underway for 2019.

Thanks to rapidly changing consumer trends and mounting pressure from e-commerce players, traditional brick-and-mortar retailers and brands have been closing doors at a tremendously high rate. In fact, retail and technology advisory Coresight Research estimates that U.S. retailers announced 5,399 store closures in the first 12 weeks of 2019. Sound high? It is. There were 5,726 closures in all of 2018.

While some closures are the result of bankruptcy proceedings — such as for Payless and Gymboree — others are restructuring as they seek to lower costs and prioritize better-performing stores and channels in order to survive and possibly even thrive in today’s challenging selling environment.

Below is a list of major firms that are shuttering stores this year.

Dressbarn

Dressbarn is closing up shop after more than 50 years in business. On May 21, parent company Ascena Retail Group Inc. — which also owns Ann Taylor and Loft — announced that it would shut down all of the women’s clothing retailer’s 650 stores across the United States. (The move would affect about 6,800 employees.) As it winds down operations, Dressbarn stores and its e-commerce platform will remain open for customers.

Roberto Cavalli

Roberto Cavalli’s U.S. subsidiary, which operates under the name ArtFashion Corp., filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in late March at the same time that the board of Roberto Cavalli SpA filed a restructuring plan with the Court of Milan. As part of the filing, the brand’s U.S. stores ceased operations on March 29 and are to be liquidated. Its portfolio included eight doors and four outlets in the U.S.

Family Dollar

Dollar Tree Inc. declared in March that it would shutter about 390 Family Dollar outposts as it seeks to evolve its business strategy. During the firm’s Q4 conference call, Dollar Tree president and CEO Gary Philbin said age, layout, location, unfavorable lease terms and other factors contributed to the decision to shutter — and not renovate — the underperforming stores.

Charlotte Russe

When Charlotte Russe initially filed for Chapter 11 protection in early February, its plan called for closing about 94 of its 500 store locations. But the teen retailer failed to secure a buyer for the business and a month later announced that all stores would shutter and its website would go dark. Chief restructuring officer Brian Cashman said the company was unable to keep pace with today’s “rapidly evolving fashion trends.”

JCPenney

In February, JCPenney confirmed that it would close a total of 27 stores this year, including 18 full-line stores (three of which were identified in January) plus nine ancillary home and furniture outposts. The Plano, Texas-based department store said the closures were intended to help align “its brick-and-mortar presence with its omnichannel network” after the firm saw a 7% decline in sales in 2018 to $11.7 billion.

Payless ShoeSource

After one failed bankruptcy in 2017, Payless ShoeSource in February announced a second Chapter 11 filing, and this one would be decisive. The discount retailer said was ceasing operations in North America and would shutter all 2,500 of its stores here. However, Payless will continue to exist internationally, operating 420 stores across 20 countries in Latin America, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and Saipan, as well as 370 franchise doors in 16 countries across the Middle East, India, Indonesia, Indochina, the Philippines and Africa.

Saks Off 5th

While Saks Fifth Avenue is back on solid footing, its offshoot chain, Saks Off 5th, continues to post declining sales. As a result, parent company Hudson’s Bay Co. announced in February it is reviewing the discounter’s 133 stores and expects to close at least 20 locations in the U.S. At the same time, the firm said it is shutting down its Home Outfitters business in Canada this year.

Gap

Formerly a staple in U.S. malls, Gap Inc. shared plans in February to close more than 200 of its Gap locations to instead focus on online sales. (Nearly 40 percent of its revenue comes from the web right now.) At the same time, the firm announced it will split into two publicly traded companies, spinning off Old Navy into its own entity. The Gap Inc. umbrella now includes Gap, Athleta, Banana Republic, Intermix and Hill City.

Victoria’s Secret

L Brands, the parent company of Victoria’s Secret, told investors in late February that it will close 53 stores in North America this year, up from 30 closures in 2018. According to WWD, those 53 locations make up about 4% of Victoria’s Secret’s 1,170 stores. Executives at the struggling lingerie brand said they are working to fine-tune all aspects of the business, including marketing and merchandise.

Sears

After a prolonged battle, Sears chairman Eddie Lampert’s hedge fund, ESL Investments Inc., finally prevailed in convincing a bankruptcy court in February to accept its plan to keep the lights on at the company. According to his proposal, Lampert intends to keep 425 stores in operation (representing roughly 45,000 jobs), a significant drop from the 1,700 stores that it had last fall prior to its Chapter 11 filing.

Gymboree

Gymboree Group Inc. — parent of the Gymboree and Crazy 8 stores — said in a Chapter 11 filing in January that it would liquidate all of its roughly 800 stores and close down its websites. As part of the bankruptcy auction, Gap Inc. acquired its Janie & Jack children’s label, while retail rival The Children’s Place snapped up the rights to the Crazy 8 and Gymboree brands.

Foot Locker

Foot Locker Inc. said in early March that it will close 165 stores globally in 2019 despite a blockbuster Q4 earnings report. (It also plans to open 80 new locations, but it has reduced its total store count every year since 2014.) “The store closures will be across our geographies, with the greatest concentration in Foot Locker and Lady Foot Locker in the U.S., Six:02, Foot Locker and Runners Point in Europe,” CFO Lauren Peters told investors.

FN will continue to add to this list as more news arises about store closures.

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Congresswomen Ask Nike’s Mark Parker for Details on Contracts of Pregnant Athletes

After elite runner Alysia Montaño called out an apparent disconnect between Nike’s portrayal of female sports stars in its ad campaigns and its actual treatment of athletes when they become pregnant, two legislators said they would open an inquiry into the matter.

Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) on Friday sent a letter to Nike chairman Mark Parker pressing the Beaverton, Ore.-based company for details on how it handles paying athletes “who are pregnant, breastfeeding or in the postpartum period.”

Beutler and Roybal-Allard serve as co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Maternity Care.

“We are deeply concerned by recent reports that Nike has reduced sponsorship payments, or ceased payment entirely, for female athletes during their pregnancy and postpartum recovery,” the congresswomen wrote in a letter obtained by FN. “It has also been reported that Nike has required sponsored athletes to engage in unpaid work activities and appearances during their pregnancy.”

The New York Times reported on May 12 that the company at one time wrote contracts for its female track and field athletes that reduced payments — and sometimes paid them nothing at all — if they weren’t able to compete for a variety of reasons, including pregnancy and the subsequent postpartum period.

After considerable public backlash, Nike admitted last week that it had previously reduced contracts of female athletes but said it had amended that policy in 2018. On Friday, the company added — via a statement on its corporate site — that it would take further steps to support female athletes through their pregnancies.

“Moving forward, our contracts for female athletes will include written terms that reinforce our policy,” the statement read. “Our mission has always been to support athletes as they strive to be their best. We want to make it clear today that we support women as they decide how to be both great mothers and great athletes. We recognize we can do more and that there is an important opportunity for the sports industry to evolve to support female athletes.”

For her part, Rep. Roybal-Allard said today that she was still “deeply concerned.”

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

“I’ve been deeply concerned by news that Nike has stopped or slashed sponsorships for pregnant and postpartum athletes,” she wrote on Twitter. “I’m seeking a full accounting from Nike with @HerreraBeutler. Athletes, including mothers & mothers-to-be, deserve fair treatment in every stage of their career.”

The letter from the congresswomen asks Nike seven pointed questions about its pay fairness policies and company contracts with female athletes who are pregnant. It also asks if the company had ever required male athletes to engage in unpaid work activities or appear on the brand’s behalf after becoming a father. What’s more, the inquiry asks if Nike ever stopped sponsorship payments to male athletes who became fathers.

“Given Nike’s public support of equal treatment and fairness for all people (e.g., its sponsorship of Justin Gallegos, the runner with cerebral palsy, the ‘Dream With Us’ February 2019 commercial, ‘Dream Crazier’ May 2019 commercial, ‘Just Do It’ ad featuring Colin Kaepernick September 2018), the reported instances of pay inequality and workplace discrimination against mothers do not seem to fit with its mission,” it states.

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Popular Game ‘Fortnite: Battle Royale’ Teases a Collab With Jordan Brand

Today, Jordan Brand announced one of its most ambitious crossovers yet by partnering with Epic Games, which produces the popular video game franchise “Fortnite: Battle Royale.” “Fortnite” is a free-to-play game where up to 100 players fight to be the last person standing.

Seen within its in-game news feed, a teaser for a new event on Wednesday ignited a frenzy among fans who speculated that a collaboration between the game and sportswear brand is to come: “Game recognize game. Drop in tomorrow.”

Additionally, “Fortnite” went to Twitter to post a cryptic message with the emojis that included a goat, basketball, red sneakers and a basketball.

Details regarding the possibly crossover have yet to be officially unveiled by Epic Games, but a statement from Jordan Brand promised an experience that will “connect across virtual and physical worlds.

“Jordan Brand continually tests and iterates rewarding new experiences for our consumers. We are excited to work with Epic Games to create an experience for our community that is both innovative and authentic. This collaboration allows us to connect across virtual and physical worlds and unlock access to purchase some of our most coveted shoes, the Air Jordan 1.”

Fans looking to join in on the “Fortnite” x Jordan Brand crossover event will be able to do so tomorrow morning on “Fortnite.” The game is available for download on Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation and Xbox.

Check out the video below on how to effectively clean your kicks.

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These Are the Biggest Changes Reebok Made for Its New CrossFit Shoe

Running is becoming more prevalent in CrossFit. And Reebok responded to this evolution through the design of its latest sneaker for the sport, the Nano 9.

“We’re realizing that running is a bigger part of CrossFit — that’s the truth — and as the leaders in CrossFit, we need to evolve with it. We can’t still,” Tal Short, Reebok’s senior senior performance footwear product manager, told FN. “A lot of our competitors have the same shoe they had four years ago, and we can’t do that. We’re the leaders; we need to set the bar.”

After developing the shoe for 20 months, Reebok’s solution to make a shoe better for running (as well as all-day comfort) was to equip the latest Nano with more cushioning in the midsole — but not too much.

“The cushioning is the perfect balance between a CrossFit shoe and a running shoe,” Short said. “Our idea was to get the perfect amount of cushion to where you could still lift and then it can be a really good running shoe, one that will get you through the workout.”

And its sponsored athletes are pleased with the update.

“The biggest change from the Nano 8 is, I can run longer distances. I feel I could run further in these shoes without having to think about it,” two-time CrossFit Games champion Annie Thorisdottir told FN. “I used to see my programming a few days in advance, and if I was running for more than 400 or 600 meters, like half a mile in the middle of a workout, I would think, ‘Would I rather go into a softer workout shoe?’ Then I would think about how my feet are going to feel for the next thing I have to do or a second session or the day after. With these, I don’t have to worry about that as much.”


Reebok CrossFit Nano 9

Reebok CrossFit Nano 9
CREDIT: Reebok

But making the Nano better for running wasn’t the only thing Reebok focused on. The brand also gave it a wide toe box to keep the wearer planted firmly on the ground, a minimal drop for stability and increased durability.

“A lot of people are very regimented, they program what they’re going to do, but my training is very on the fly. With some of the past shoes it was like, ‘We can’t rope climb today because I don’t want to destroy the shoe,’” four-time CrossFit Games champion Rich Froning told FN. “But now I could rope climb if I want to because it’s not going to mess up the shoe, I can do some heavy lifting because I feel comfortable and stable in it. I don’t have to worry about programming around the shoe. It’s very freeing, and it’s nice to be able to do that.”

To make it tougher to withstand grueling workouts, Reebok built the Nano 9 with a midsole protection wrap and an updated Flexweave upper.

And aesthetically, the shoe boasts a far different look than its predecessors. Rather than have the shoe dominated by Delta branding, which is associated with fitness-focused products, Reebok used the classic Vector logo on the upper. (The Delta still appears on the tongue.)

“We had the Delta on it originally, but with the way the shoe is shaped and the balance of the shoe, we said let’s try the Vector, and we all visually liked it, it made the shoe look slimmer,” Short said.

The Reebok CrossFit Nano 9 arrives June 12 via Reebok.com/Nano and at select retailers globally. The shoe will retail for $130.

Get to know CrossFit athletes Katrín Davíðsdóttir and Brent Fikowski in FN’s video below.

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From Messy Stores to Too Much Tech — 4 Real Reasons People Don’t Shop Brick and Mortar

Despite shifting consumer preferences and the rise of e-commerce, brick-and-mortar has still found ways to remain relevant.

The proof? A new study by ServiceChannel reported that 86% of shoppers make more than half of their purchases at physical stores. But while retailers may be able to draw customers through their doors, the survey suggested that their ability to keep them in those stores continues to be a challenge.

According to the facilities management platform, which recently released its report on the state of brick-and-mortar, about 70% of shoppers have expressed frustrations with an in-store experience in the last six months.

Surveying upwards of 1,500 shoppers, ServiceChannel found that 64% have walked out due to a place’s messy physical appearance, whether it’s a dirty bathroom or empty shelves. While 84% agreed that physical environment was an important shopping feature, only 18% of respondents believed retailers were delivering satisfactory customer experiences.

“Great retailers today understand that you need a great product, a great brand and a great in-store experience. It’s ‘and,’ not ‘or,’” said ServiceChannel CEO Tom Buiocchi. “Just think of the brands you visit over and over again — they get it — and growing retailers today understand that there are billions of dollars at stake and how valuable their physical locations and experiences are.”

The report also noted the importance of consistently positive store experiences for customers, with 69% of respondents indicating that they would be more likely to shop at a competitor if they have had even a single previously negative experience at a store.

Additionally, four out of five shoppers said they would rather have a clean store than one that prioritizes cutting-edge technology, such as mobile checkout, augmented reality or virtual dressing rooms. A surprising two-thirds think retailers have become “too focused on tech and not the basics.”

Some of the basic amenities cited by surveyed customers include the ability to touch, try on and take home purchases immediately, with two out of five shoppers saying that brick-and-mortar stores are often unshoppable. “Stores should be shoppable before experiential,” the report read, referencing a term that has come to encompass everything from in-store cafés and guest speaker series. “If your store can’t meet these primary desires, no amount of interactive marketing or entertainment will make them loyal.”

Among the retailers that continue to invest in their own brick-and-mortar strategies include e-commerce giant Amazon, digital native Allbirds, big-box chain Targetand even off-price store TJ Maxx. According to ServiceChannel, more than 2,100 stores in the retail sector are expected to open in the coming year.

Watch FN’s interview with these top shoe players.

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Nordstrom Joins JCPenney and Kohl’s With Dismal Earnings Results

Nordstrom Inc. has become the latest department store chain to post weaker-than-expected first-quarter earnings, recording double-digit percentage losses in its stock after Tuesday’s market close.

The Seattle-based retailer’s shares slumped more than 11% in after-hours trading on the news of adjusted earnings of 23 cents per share on revenues of $3.44 billion. (Wall Street had projected 43 cents a share on sales of $3.57 billion.) It also posted a comparable sales of 3.5% percent, which was worse than the 0.1% dip Wall Street anticipated. Nordstrom joins J. C. Penney Co. Inc. and Kohl’s Inc. in delivering disappointing results to kick off the fiscal year.

“While we expected softer trends from the fourth quarter to continue into the first quarter, we experienced a further deceleration. We had executional misses with our customers, and we’re committed to better serving them,” co-president Erik Nordstrom said in a statement. “This is well within our control to turn around.”

The firm attributed the declines in its full- and off-price categories to three areas: rebalancing its merchandise assortment, further investing in its digital marketing and issues with the rollout of its Nordy Club loyalty program.

Sales for its full-price division decreased 5.1% from the same period last year, while Nordstrom Rack revenues fell 0.6%. E-commerce, however, climbed 7%, with the department representing 31% of the company’s business.

“The strength of our inventory and expense execution helped mitigate a meaningful portion of our sales miss. We ended the quarter with inventories in solid shape, and our financial position remains strong,” Nordstrom said. “We’re actively taking steps to drive our top line, and we’re focused on delivering on our financial goals.”

The retailer also noted outsized growth in both digital and store traffic in its Los Angeles market. On Oct. 24, Nordstrom will officially debut its flagship store in New York City — its largest market in the country for online sales. (It opened a Manhattan men’s outpost last year.)

Cutting its full-year guidance, the company now expects earnings between $3.25 and $3.73 per share, down from a prior range of $3.65 to $3.90.

Watch the highlights at the 2018 FNAAs.

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Bernie Sanders to Introduce Proposal at Walmart’s Annual Meeting to Benefit Hourly Staff

Senator Bernie Sanders will be a surprise guest at Walmart’s annual company meeting on June 5, held at the company’s corporate offices in Bentonville, Ark. He will be there to present a new shareholders’ proposal that will allow for the retailer’s hourly employees to have a spot on the company’s board of directors. That board is currently made up of highly paid executives like Cesar Conde, chairman of NBCUniversal International Group, and Stephen J. Easterbrook, CEO of McDonald’s Corporation.

The presidential candidate from Vermont has long used his platform to call on giant retailers like Walmart and Amazon to provide better working conditions. “These workers need and deserve a seat at the table,” Sanders told The Washington Post. “If hourly workers at Walmart were well represented on its board, I doubt you would see the CEO of Walmart making over a thousand times more than its average worker.”

The proposal was filed by Cat Davis, a Walmart employee who also acts as the leader of United for Respect, a workers’ rights organization. If shareholders approve Sanders’ proposal, it would mean that Walmart will have to take into account all of its U.S. hourly employees when deciding on candidates for the board.

A Walmart rep provided the following statement to FN. “The company will respond to specific shareholder proposals once they are formally presented at our June 5 shareholders meeting.  Since the beginning, a cornerstone of Walmart’s culture has been engaging frontline associates in the management of the company, and we’re proud of the fact that 75% of our U.S. management associates began their career as frontline hourly associates. If Senator Sanders attends, we hope he will approach his visit not as a campaign stop, but as a constructive opportunity to learn about the many ways we’re working to provide increased economic opportunity, mobility and benefits to our associates — as well as our widely recognized leadership on environmental sustainability.”

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Pierpaolo Piccioli Recalls Wearing Flip Flops for his First Day at Valentino: ‘It Was so Wrong’

It’s been two decades since Pierpaolo Piccioli arrived at Valentino, but the creative director still remembers the controversial shoes he wore for his first day at the famed fashion house.

I wore flip flops. It was so wrong,” Piccioli said during a conversation with journalist Alina Cho at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York tonight. 

The designer also opened up about crafting the iconic Rockstud style, accompanying Joan Collins to the Met Gala this month and why it’s so important for Valentino to become more inclusive. Read on for excerpts from the conversation.

On the eclectic group of celebs, including Naomi Campbell, Joan Collins and Julianne Moore, that Valentino dressed for the 2019 Met Gala: “I really like them as people. It’s important for Valentino to go away from exclusivity and embrace inclusivity. All of these people share a common idea [about] life.

Being Collins’ date for the big night: “Every time I tried to take a picture with someone else, like Naomi, Joan would say, ‘Darling, I’m alone!‘”

On designing the wildly successful Rockstud shoe: “In a way, you know when you’re doing something that’s more than ordinary.”

What Donatella Versace said about Lady Gaga’s Valentino dress at the 2018 Venice Film Festival: “She told me, ‘When I saw the dress, I wanted to burn it. It’s so fabulous.’ It was the highest compliment.”


lady gaga, valentino haute couture fall 2018, venice film festival

Lady Gaga wearing a Valentino haute couture gown to the 2018 Venice Film Festival.
CREDIT: Shutterstock

How his family keeps him humble: “Of course they’re very proud. But they’re surprised when people stop me for a selfie. To them, I’m their father and husband. But they’re always supportive.”

The groundbreaking January couture show featuring more than 30 women of color. Piccioli put it together after looking at a 1948 Cecil Beaton photo of a group of white women in Charles James dresses.: “The collection was very classic couture, I just changed the girls. That was enough to make a statement. Naomi closed the show and it was a very moving moment for all of us. You have a voice and you have to use it loudly.”


Naomi Campbell, valentino, spring 2019, couture

Naomi Campbell at the Valentino spring ’19 couture show.
CREDIT: Shutterstock

Understanding the appeal of a great logo: “The logo, for me at the beginning, was very commercial. Then I began to understand the point of view of the younger people. They were ordering all the Valentino t-shirts from the 1990s and they told me it was kind of cool. I started to rethink the logo in a new way.”

On keeping up with the frenetic pace of fashion: “I just love it. If I didn’t, it would be impossible.”

5 “Boring” Staples Celebrities Love to Wear

We’re about to say something that could be considered quite controversial, but we ask that you hear us out. Here it goes: The most stylish celebrities wear the most “boring” clothing items. We realize that sounds like an oxymoron, but allow us to explain…Think of your favorite fashionable celebrity—maybe it’s Rihanna, Hailey Bieber, Victoria Beckham, Priyanka Chopra, or Kourtney Kardashian. Each one of these people, contrary to popular belief, doesn’t exclusively wear unique, kooky, and custom-made clothing. In fact, more often than not, they’re spotted wearing the most basic wardrobe staples, like skinny jeans, blazers, and tank tops. It’s not the pieces themselves so much as how they style those pieces that make their outfits so on-trend and eye-catching.

We know the importance of backing up a statement like that with cold, hard evidence, so that’s what we’re about to do. Keep scrolling to see five “boring” wardrobe staples that celebrities love to wear.

We love the way Hailey Bieber layered her checked blazer over a hot pink turtleneck. 
Rihanna seems to be particularly fond of oversize blazers; she wears them regularly. Here, she pairs a peach blazer with shoulder pads with an ivory silk slip dress. 
Kourtney Kardashian seems to be making blazers her trademark, as she wears them when she’s out and about with friends and when she’s walking the red carpet. Here, she pairs her oversize checked blazer with a simple tank top, shorts, and red leather boots. 
Victoria Beckham is the unofficial queen of women’s suiting. She wears blazers and suit pants all the time. In fact, we’re having trouble remembering the last time Posh Spice wore a gown… 
Priyanka Chopra is also in on the oversize blazer action. She pairs her black double-breasted blazer with a sparkling skirt and sultry makeup to make it a sophisticated red carpet–ready look.
Hailey Bieber’s black boots are high on the ankle and low to the ground. They give her black minidress a little extra edge, which makes this the perfect example of summery NY street style.
Beckham’s black boots are as strong as her army green jumpsuit and star black crossbody bag. 
Priyanka Chopra’s black boots are all about sleekness and structure, as they taper off into a small square toe box. (We also have to take this opportunity to mention how much we love her plaid-on-plaid look.)
Chokers range from big and bold to barely there. Bieber chose to go the delicate route and wear a tiny silver diamond choker to the MTV awards.
Rihanna is never one to shy away from a bold statement, and the same holds true for the time she stepped out wearing these layered silver necklaces.
Victoria Beckham wears a silver chain-link choker with a classic white T-shirt and baggy jeans in the way only she can.
Look closely and you’ll see that Kourtney Kardashian’s choker is actually made up of two strands of silver diamonds.
Priyanka Chopra mixes her metallics, opting for layered necklaces that go between silver and rose gold. She throws in some diamonds, too—you know, for good measure.
Remember that photo of Beckham wearing that cool silver chain link choker we just talked about? Well, we need to talk about it again. Here’s the full photo. Peep her rolled jeans and vibrant red heels.
Hailey Bieber wears a pair of cuffed light-wash jeans while out and about on the streets of NYC. Real question: Is this our new go-to weekend look? 
Rihanna’s rolled her jeans so they would graze the tops of her white stiletto boots. We get it. You want to show off your jeans, but you still need people to see your shoes, too. 
Kardashian stepped out in distressed denim, ’70s-inspired aviator glasses, and an amazing old-school Iron Maiden graphic tee. We loved this look.
Even Beckham’s graphic tees are on brand with her high-brow humor. Her cheeky T-shirt reads “fashion emergency.”
Anyone remember the time Rihanna stepped out wearing a Princess Diana shirt? We love the way she styled it with an oversize leather jacket and half-rimmed sunglasses.

Next up, three London trends VB, Kate Middleton, and Alexa Chung can’t stop wearing. 

12 Summer Wardrobe Staples French Women Never Forget to Buy

French women: They like what they like. To clarify, they don’t dedicate their wardrobes to new trends each season. I’ve found that particularly applies to their summer wardrobes. Whenever the weather warms up, stylish French women all seem to pull out a set of summer wardrobe staples that will never go out of style and can all be worn together. These supremely versatile items epitomize that effortless French-girl thing we all try our best to re-create. 

Whether in Paris, the South of France, or some other warm location in the world, many French women have made this combination of 12 fashion items their summer capsule wardrobe, and you can too. But how? you ask. By scrolling down and seeing the 12 pieces in action and shopping my pick for each. À bientôt!

More sizes available here.

Next up, 13 cool hotels famous French girls are checking into.

6 Styling Ideas That Will Make You Look Truly Innovative (Each Under $100)

While we’re always down to get inspired by one of our favorite fashion people we follow for inspiration, there’s something undeniably satisfying about coming up with an outfit that’s truly you. At the end of the day, you’ll stand out that much more by not dressing like anyone else and people will automatically get the sense that it’s you wearing the clothes and not the other way around. So how exactly do you accomplish this?

Sure, a standout outfit is one thing, but having a little imagination with how you put pieces together can go a long way. I’m talking about some of the unique styling ideas you might not have thought of before—like wearing an oversize cardigan as a skirt or tying a neck scarf into a tube top—that will make you look truly innovative and probably garner interest from friends, family, and co-workers alike, too. An original outfit that makes you feel like you and will earn you loads of compliments at the same time? It’s a win-win.

Luckily for you (and your wallet), our Who What Wear collection at Target is just teeming with pieces just like this that are easily transformable into something truly creative. Scroll down to get inspired by six of our favorite out-of-the-box ideas and then shop the pieces you need to try each out for yourself.

Remember when Brooklyn Decker styled our button-up cardigan as a chic knitted skirt in the shoot we did with her? It kind of blew our minds. 
More sizes available here.
More sizes available here.
Who knew a cardigan could be so versatile? Our very own marketing coordinator, Alyssa, went for an upsized cardi and styled it as a slouchy sweaterdress. Genius.
More sizes available here.
More sizes available here.
You probably never knew you needed a sleeveless vest like this, but let me tell you, it’s actually the most ideal layering piece for that in-between weather. Our favorite way to wear it, though? Buttoned and cinched up as a dress—because no one else will think to wear it that way.
More sizes available here.
More sizes available here.
More sizes available here.
More sizes available here.

Next, see the summer-ready pants fashion girls are ditching their jeans for.

16 Pieces That Definitely Make My Summer Vacation Packing List

I’ve been planning my first vacation of the summer with so much enthusiasm you would think I was going on my honeymoon. It may only be a two-night stay in Miami with some girlfriends, but the thought of spending 48 straight hours in the sun is enough for me to start daydreaming about the warm-weather wardrobe I’ll pack for my trip. These 15 casual-cool pieces from PAIGE, including breezy tops and the perfect white button-up denim shorts, most definitely make the cut. See for yourself…

I always pack at least one day-to-night dress for any summer vacay. I’ll likely wear this one with clean white sneakers for an afternoon spent exploring and chunky sandals for dinner.
This burnt-orange tank is the perfect top to wear for a night out (with the addition of some seashell-inspired jewelry, of course).
As previously mentioned, these white shorts are the perfect pair for summer thanks to their crop top–friendly high-rise.
These leather slides are chic enough for me to get away with wearing them to the office after my vacation is over.
I love the subtle dot print on this white top, which I’m pretty sure will look even better once my post-beach glow sets in.
I’m a fan of a super-light-wash denim jacket for summer, ideally worn over a flowy minidress.
A vacation-ready graphic tee I can most definitely get behind.
These may look suspiciously like the other white jeans you own—until you realize the zippers and scrunched-up bottoms make them way cooler.
Prints reminiscent of your grandmother’s wallpaper are everywhere lately. I’m dipping my toes in with this easy-to-wear top that screams “Hey, I’m on vacation!” when worn with white jeans and flat sandals.
But hopefully I’ll make my way up to pairing that top with these super-cool matching pants for a full-on look.
All this tassel top needs is a pair of denim shorts and a really large straw hat that accurately implies I do not want to be disturbed.
Catch me wearing these cuffed denim shorts over my bikini by the pool (preferably while sipping a piña colada).
I have more white tops in my closet than I can count, but that won’t stop me from adding this tied-sleeve one to the mix.
Just add a graphic tee for an unexpected casual look that’s just a little more fun than your everyday denim outfit.
These suede mules instantly elevate a daytime look for night.
The casual vibe of these cropped flare jeans makes them ideal for a vacation.

New York Girls All Love to Shop Here

New York City is the undisputed fashion capital of the United States. It’s a mecca for major designers and up-and-comers alike, and let’s not forget the shopping. No vacation is complete without a stroll through the streets of SoHo. But insiders know the best way to shop the city is by visiting the New York City boutiques that set the Big Apple apart.

Tucked into the coolest neighborhoods are a handful of shops that insiders constantly have on their radars. Stocked with buzzy brands like Vetements and Attico, as well as more budget-friendly (but equally chic) picks, this is the real way to shop like a New Yorker. Below we’re highlighting 12 shops New York girls frequent. Pull out Google Maps, plug in these addresses, and prepare yourself: You’re about to have the best shopping trip of your life.

What started out as an obsession with the perfect leather jacket has turned into a clothing line that NYC girls wear on the regular. While the classic moto is a must, there are plenty of other cool seasonal pieces at the retailer’s SoHo flagship. Where: 19 Mercer St. Can’t make it? Shop Veda’s website!
Since it opened in 2012, American Two Shot has been a staple of 20-something It girls. From its awesome vintage to its collection of cute knickknacks, there’s a little something for everyone. Where: 135 Grand St. Can’t make it? Shop American Two Shot’s website!
From Veja sneakers to Cuero and Mor bags, this creative store is up onto the coolest up-and-coming brands. Better yet, the interiors are constantly evolving. Where: 25 Mercer St. Can’t make it? Shop Anthom’s website!
Since opening her Lower East Side store in 2008, Maryam Nassir Zadeh has created something of a cult following on the indie fashion scene. Her showroom is known for showcasing rising independent designers like Lauren Manoogian and Mari Giudicelli, as well as her own collection of clothing and footwear. Where: 123 Norfolk St. Can’t make it? Visit Maryam Nassir Zadeh’s website! 
Head to the Lower East Side to check out the offerings at this contemporary-cool shop that stocks indie and avant-garde brands that will have strangers stopping you on the street. Where: 170 Ludlow St. Can’t make it? Shop Assembly’s website!
Between its eponymous clothing line and its impressive collection of buzzy brands, this Nolita shop is a must-visit. Bonus: There are plenty of great brunch spots nearby, so you can make a whole morning of it. Where: 205 Mulberry St. Can’t make it? Shop Creatures of Comfort’s website!
The vintage denim collection alone is enough to fuel a cult following for this East Village shop. But with even more well-curated vintage and contemporary pieces stuffed in the airy shop, you surely won’t leave empty-handed. Where: 337 E. Ninth St. Can’t make it? Shop Duo’s website!
If you haven’t peeped this affordable yet luxe shop’s goodies before, you’re in for a treat. With a mix of its own line and brands like Paloma Wool and Rachel Comey, you’re sure to find something Insta-worthy to take home with you. Where: 100 Stanton St. Can’t make it? Visit Frankie Shop’s website!
If this shoe wall alone isn’t enough to have you heading straight to Totokaelo’s SoHo location, there are four more levels housing merch from Vetements, Acne Studios, and Rachel Comey to suck you in. Want a tip? Never go in a rush, because you’ll never want to leave. Where: 54 Crosby St. Can’t make it? Visit Totokaelo’s website!
Inconspicuously tucked between two closed storefronts, this family-owned boutique sells everything from handmade home goods to locally made clothing. Next time you’re waiting in line for a seat at one of NoLIta’s trendy restaurants, you’ve got to stop in. Where: 181 Mott St. Can’t make it? Visit Warm’s website! 

Next, our top nine favorite NYC fashion girls

Jessica Biel Wore Summer’s #1 Sneaker Trend With Leggings

Jessica Biel is a pro at making casual outfits look cool (case in point). While we talk a lot about how adept she is at making denim look fresh, it’s her styling of leggings and sneakers that we’re bringing to your attention this time. While on a stroll with husband Justin Timberlake in Los Angeles yesterday, Biel showed exactly how to wear leggings when not going to the gym. The trick? An oversize denim jacket and 2019’s biggest sneaker trend: classic sneakers (hers are by Frye).

Taylor Swift, Alexa Chung, Kate Middleton, and Jennifer Lawrence have all been wearing them, and brands seem to be shifting their focus from dad sneakers to classic ones. As any major sneaker trend must be, they’re all over Instagram. Plus, they work with any style of leggings, including Biel’s cool camo ones. 

Biel finished off the look with a gray sweatshirt and more camo in the form of a tee tied around her waist and a baseball cap. Keep scrolling to see it for yourself and shop her cool casual look.

On Jessica Biel: Frye Ivy Low Lace Sneakers ($198)

Next up: Jessica Biel wore the only skinny-jean trend you should buy this spring.

The Only Shoes Kate Middleton Wears for Garden Parties at Buckingham Palace

Kate Middleton is definitely playing favorites. No, not with her ridiculously cute kids, but with her shoe choices. Today, she attended the first official Royal Garden Party of the year at Buckingham Palace, which is held every May. She looked every bit the princess in a millennial pink Alexander Wang coat dress, Loeffler Randall Tab Clutch ($250), and a Juliette Botterill fascinator along with Gianvito Rossi 105 Suede Pumps ($695).

Given how closely I cover Kate Middleton’s style, it should come as no surprise that I would recognize the familiarity of Middleton’s shoe choice. A little bit of photo digging confirms that she’s worn the exact pair to the last three years of Royal Garden Parties at Buckingham Palace, including 2017 and 2016. (She skipped the event in 2018 because she had just given birth to Prince Louis mere weeks prior.) Scroll down to see how she’s styled the same shoes over the years and shop similar pairs for yourself.

On Kate Middleton: Alexander McQueen coat dress; Juliette Botterill fascinator; Gianvito Rossi 105 Suede Pumps ($695); Loeffler Randall Tab Clutch ($250)
On Kate Middleton: Gianvito Rossi 105 Suede Pumps ($695)
On Kate Middleton: Gianvito Rossi 105 Suede Pumps ($695)

Next, Kate Middleton made this $130 dress sell out like lightning

8 Outfits French Girls Would Never Wear to a Wedding

’Tis the season of free-flowing champagne, fancy flower arrangements, and enthusiastic “I do’s.” In other words, wedding season is upon us, and we couldn’t be happier. Of course, every wedding invite calls for a chic outfit. If you read Who What Wear regularly, you’ll know we cover plenty of wedding guest style ideas—from the best brands for dresses to looks for every dress code.

Today, we’re focusing on one of our favorite subjects: French-girl style. Curious to see how French and American wedding guest style differs, we tapped into some of our favorite fashionable Gallic muses to get their take on what they would and wouldn’t wear to weddings.

Unsurprisingly, they live up to their effortlessly chic aesthetic, opting for lower heels and breaking the mold with pants and tuxedo jackets. Scroll below to see what French girls would never wear to a wedding, and then see what they’d opt for instead.

Up next, seven French women with particularly good skin on the products they swear by.

So, Réalisation Is Having a Very, Very Rare Sale

Réalisation fever has spread far and wide since the first styles hit the internet in 2015. The Australian (not French!) indie brand has garnered more and more tags, posts, likes, and ambassadors by the second than any other. Last summer’s feeds were not complete without a little floral dress from the brand. 

And right now, there’s a flash sale for four days only. Réalisation is the kind of brand, like Rixo, that doesn’t need to go on sale. The stock sells like hotcakes, and with limited runs and exclusive pieces, it means there’s very little leftover to be discounted. Which is why this is a very rare and momentous few days to make the most off. The brand is offering 25% off everything at the moment. Just use the code “DAYDREAM” at check out.

To help you decide on what to buy within the next few days, we’ve tracked down some of the coolest Réalisation girls to see what they’re wearing.

Lucia Cuesta wearing Réalisation’s daisy-print Jeet Flower Power Dress.
Marta of Life of Boheme wearing the famous leopard skirt.
Pixie Geldof wearing the new Liv dress.
Model Georgia Pratt-Holiber in the heart-print Kaia shirt and Naomi skirt.
Maria Bernad wearing the Cookies Hypnotic Skirt on holiday.
Model Kouth wearing another cute daisy-print option. This is the Devon Flower Power Dress.
Annabel Rosendahl in the Vivienne Tiger Dress.
Sabina Socol wearing Réalisation’s Tia Dusty Pink Slip Dress.
Simone’s Nicks Hypnotic blouse has been particularly popular recently.
Emili’s Violette dress was a big hit in 2017, and it’s now a regular part of the collection.
Next up, see the best summer dresses for work from other brands. This post originally appeared on Who What Wear UK.