NFL Style Guide – Week 6

So. How about that Jets win huh? Sam Darnold bounced back from mono early in the year and destroyed Cowboys bettors spirits by leading the Jets to their first win this season. If you’re a Cowboys fan you hate to see it, if you’re virtually anyone else you were likely pleasantly surprised. Also notably the […]

Zendaya, Nicole Kidman & More Steal the Spotlight in Power Suits at Elle Women in Hollywood Gala

There was an abundance of high-fashion looks last night in L.A. on the red carpet at the 26th annual Elle Women in Hollywood event.

Among the fashionable was Zendaya, 23, who arrived in an edgy silver suit from Peter Do’s spring ’20 collection. She completed her outfit with white pointed-toe pumps from Le Silla.

The “Euphoria” star also gave an inspiring speech that encouraged women in showbiz to continue to break barriers in the industry.


ZendayaElle Women in Hollywood, Arrivals, Four Seasons Hotel, Los Angeles, USA - 14 Oct 2019Wearing Peter Do

Zendaya at Elle Women in Hollywood wearing a suit from Peter Do’s spring ’20 collection.
CREDIT: Shutterstock

Several actresses also took up the idea of the power suit as a fashion statement, including Jameela Jamil in a black Azzaro suit embellished with sequins with flared pant legs that showed just a hint of her pointed shoes. Nicole Kidman gave the classic men’s tuxedo a feminine spin via Ralph Lauren. The outfit was a suit-dress hybrid featuring a floor-length skirt with a knee-high slit.


Jameela JamilElle Women in Hollywood, Arrivals, Four Seasons Hotel, Los Angeles, USA - 14 Oct 2019 Wearing Azzaro same outfit as catwalk *10068407e

Jameela Jamil in Azzaro on the carpet at Elle Women in Hollywood in Los Angeles.
CREDIT: Shutterstock


Nicole Kidman, Elle Women in Hollywood, Arrivals, Four Seasons Hotel, Los Angeles, USA - 14 Oct 2019, Wearing Ralph Lauren

Nicole Kidman wearing a Ralph Lauren suit and Manolo Blahnik pumps on the carpet at Elle Women in Hollywood in Los Angeles.
CREDIT: Shutterstock


Lena Waithe, Elle Women in Hollywood, Arrivals, Four Seasons Hotel, Los Angeles, USA - 14 Oct 2019

Lena Waithe wears Alexander McQueen shoes on the carpet at Elle Women in Hollywood in Los Angeles.
CREDIT: Shutterstock

“Master of None” star Lena Waithe teamed a red suit featuring a wide lapel and graphic-print top with white Alexander McQueen sneakers.


Margot Robbie, Ralph Lauren, Elle Women in Power

Margot Robbie in Ralph Lauren on the carpet at Elle Women in Hollywood in Los Angeles.
CREDIT: Shutterstock


Natalie PortmanElle Women in Hollywood, Arrivals, Four Seasons Hotel, Los Angeles, USA - 14 Oct 2019 Wearing Dior same outfit as catwalk model *10325126ag

Natalie Portman in Dior on the carpet at Elle Women in Hollywood in Los Angeles.
CREDIT: Shutterstock


Indya Moore, Elle Women in Hollywood, Arrivals, Four Seasons Hotel, Los Angeles, USA - 14 Oct 2019Wearing Ralph Lauren same outfit as catwalk model *8377451ao

Indya Moore in Ralph Lauren on the carpet at Elle Women in Hollywood in Los Angeles.
CREDIT: Shutterstock

Margot Robbie, Natalie Portman and Indya Moore made stylish arrivals in floor-length dresses.

Other memorable moments from the evening included powerful speeches from Mindy Kaling and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Check out the gallery to see all the powerful looks on the 2019 Elle Women in Hollywood event.

Consumers Associate Cold With Luxury — Here’s Why Brands & Retailers Should Take Note

Retailers may want to turn down their thermostats.

A new study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, called “Shivering for Status: When Cold Temperatures Increase Product Evaluation,” suggests consumers associate physical coldness with luxury. The study was co-authored by Jaewoo Park and Rhonda Hadi, from Musashi University and the University of Oxford, respectively.

Researchers tasked participants with holding and inspecting decorative vases — with one group given vases that had been chilled in a fridge and the other given vases held at room temperature. Subjects who inspected the cooler vases were more likely to say the items conveyed luxury and status and that they found them more desirable.

In another setup, the researchers showed consumers luggage ads with winter and spring scenes. When evaluating the ads for high-status items, respondents expressed a preference for the products in the winter advertisements.

With the holiday season approaching, wintry window displays and print ads are inevitable — and consumers are also shopping for cold-weather items like snow boots, parkas and wool socks. And the evidence from the study suggests fashion brands and retailers would be wise to pair the two ideas in their marketing campaigns and elsewhere to ensure the best ROI.

The report’s authors say their work could have “practical implications for retailing, product design, brand management and marketing communications.” For instance, keeping store temperatures on the cooler side could influence the value customers place on a product. Ad campaigns that depict cold-weather scenes might also improve consumers’ perceptions of items’ luxury.

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Billionaire Fashion Magnate François Pinault to Open $170M Art Museum in Paris

In addition to being a titan of the fashion industry, François Pinault is a major art collector.

Now, the 85-year-old Kering founder is preparing to open a $170 million private museum in Paris to showcase his collection.

The museum, designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando, is slated to open in June 2020. It will showcase some 5,000 works of contemporary art by the likes of Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman and Damien Hearst. The museum is housed in the Bourse de Commerce, Paris’ former stock exchange building.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Pinault is the 22nd richest man in the world, with a net worth of $35 billion. Most of his fortune issues from his founding of Kering, the luxury group that houses Gucci, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta and more. Pinault stepped away from day-to-day operations of the conglomerate in 2003 and his son, François-Henri, currently serves as chairman and CEO.

Considered by many to be one of the most important figures in the French art scene, Pinault tried to open a museum in his native France in 2000, but the project never got off the ground. He has two museums in Venice — the Palazzo Grassi and the Punta della Dogana — both of which were also designed by Ando.

The Bourse is centrally situated near two legendary Paris art sites: the Centre Pompidou and the Louvre. It will be the second billionaire-funded art space in the city, joining the Fondation Louis Vuitton, which LVMH magnate Bernard Arnault opened in 2014.

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What Does It Take To Do Business With Nordstrom?

It’s all about breadth, according to Kristin Frossmo, EVP and GMM of Nordstrom’s shoe division.

She sat down with FN editorial director Michael Atmore to talk all things shoes on Monday in New York. The two were part of Nordstrom Live, the retailer’s three-day summit held for its top sellers and stylists across the country.

When it comes to growing its brand portfolio, Fossmo said, Nordstrom is looking for companies that offer expansive assortments.

“We have an ability to talk to brands and they listen. There’s real receptiveness. You look at Gucci or Valentino [with] this massive breadth, and that [enables] us to pull together a line that really has a huge range of classifications,” Frossmo said. To do business with Nordstrom, she said, “You have to have penetration in all these classifications, by season, and have the flow and choices. We are fortunate in the sense that we spend a lot of time in those conversations [with purveyors] because we want to grow and do more business with brands that are relevant to our customer.”

She added that Nordstrom is looking to expand with Fendi and Givenchy offerings in the designer shoe space.

Newness is also a key to success, on both the brand and retailer side, which is why Nordstrom’s new New York City flagship will have more than 55 shoe exclusives when it opens to the public on Oct. 24.

Frossmo acknowledged New York’s already abundant shoe choices in this enormous market. “No one needs another place to buy shoes in New York,” she said. “But when you see the way we’ve brought together the mix of brands, the point of view and [how we’re] really trying to deliver the essence of each brand to the assortment and how it comes together in the most spectacular space, that I have confidence in. That’s what I’m most excited about.”

As far as trends are concerned, boots are back and will be spotlighted for the debut of Nordstrom’s New York store. Prominent styles will include combat boots, to-the-knee boots and boots seen in animal prints and colors, Frossmo said. Other looks for fall include the Mary Jane and a mix of feminine yet tough silhouettes coming from Dior, Malone Souliers and Gucci.

A major part of Nordstrom’s women’s shoe business is sneakers, accounting for 20% of sales.

Atmore said, “Market saturation isn’t always the end or the beginning of a trend. It’s just evidence that there was so much demand. Sneakers are a staple and it’s something everyone wants in their wardrobe. The question is which shoe?”

“That part is changing pretty quickly,” Frossmo responded, noting Golden Goose and Alexander McQueen as brand standouts. “Right now, it is the clean white sneaker. Sneakers are an entry point for our customers. That’s where they start and they grow with us in other parts of our business.”

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As He Faces Criticism Over China, LeBron James Gifts 800 Nikes to Students at His ‘I Promise’ School

Yesterday, when a few of the students at LeBron James’ I Promise school showed up to class, they were given a pair of new Nike LeBron 16 sneakers to celebrate their hard work.

According to an Instagram post by @ljfamfoundation, more than 800 pairs were given to the select students, including 10 different colorways like the “Remix,” “Four Horsemen,” “Harlem Stage,” “MPLS” and “Medicine Ball” styles.

Last year, Nike and James created a special “I Promise” colorway of the LeBron 16 sneaker that was only made available through a raffle that raised funds for children in his native Akron, Ohio. His LBJ Family Foundation charity opened its doors to the “I Promise” school last July, offering an education to local children in the first to eighth grade.

In related news, James is currently in the midst of controversy after addressing the media yesterday about the ongoing fallout between the NBA and its relationship with China. He called Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey “misinformed” after he took to Twitter to voice support for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, a semiautonomous territory of China.

 

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How Luxury Brands Could Cash In On the Growing Resale Market

While the luxury resale market continues to grow at an average rate of 12% a year, a new study suggests that it will also benefit the larger luxury sector.

According to data from resale platform Vestiaire Collective and Boston Consulting Group, the resale economy could be an opportunity for luxury brands to connect with new audiences.

Pre-owned luxury items are particularly popular with younger shoppers. They traditionally lack the funds to buy high-end products and often want things that won’t harm the planet.

In particular, the survey found that 71% of customers were purchasing items they could not afford to buy firsthand, with 62% saying they were buying from that brand for the first time. Of those 62%, almost all said they would buy from that brand again.

That creates an opportunity for luxury brands to connect with consumer groups that may have previously been out of reach. Particularly in the case of millennials and Generation Z consumers, who may go on to increase their annual income, this can create a pipeline of customers who will then shop directly from the brand and pay full price. Some 57% said they would definitely buy or would consider buying firsthand goods after their resale purchase.

BCG and Vestiaire Collective also highlighted the resale market as a way for luxury brands to showcase their support of and participation in sustainability initiatives. That can position a brand more favorably with younger consumers, who are increasingly concerned about environmental impact, while also promoting brand values indirectly through secondhand sites.

“The secondhand market prolongs the life of luxury products,” said Olivier Abtan, managing director and partner at BCG and leader of its global luxury sector worldwide. “Most of what is sold on luxury secondhand platforms is high quality, with 62% of the clothes either unworn or hardly worn. Brands wishing to be more eco-friendly benefit from this circular luxury economy.”

The circular nature of reselling is also valuable for brands; while shoppers on resale sites are purchasing secondhand, the majority of resellers (70%) never or rarely purchase their items secondhand. An additional 44% of sellers also noted that they bought more expensive items when they had plans to resell them — and recoup some of the original expenditure.

The resale luxury market is forecast to grow to $36 billion in 2021, from $25 billion in 2018, at which point it will account for 9% of the total luxury market. By seeing this growth as an opportunity for customer engagement and brand marketing, luxury brands could also see a growth in their own revenue.

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Sustainability Matters: Shoe Bank Launches Free Women’s Footwear Swap Program to Reduce Waste + More News

Oct. 15, 2019: Have too many shoes in your closet that are not being worn? Help is on the way with the launch of Shoe Bank, a marketplace for swapping women’s shoes. Here, consumers can give and get new shoes without spending money by simply uploading a photo of a gently worn pair of shoes they no longer wear, then they can search for and get another pair in exchange. Participants can wear the shoes for as long as they want, then swap them again. Three levels of style and branding allow users to get a pair that is on par with what they have uploaded. The exchanges are made for a minimal shipping and handling fee. To get started, visit Shoebank.shoes. There are no membership or subscription fees, and no credit card is needed to join.

Oct. 15, 2019: Zutano, a designer of infant and juvenile clothing, accessories, and infant and early walker footwear, has acquired children’s footwear brand Morgan & Milo, known for its offering of shoes for kids up to age 7. Both brands take an environmental stand, with Zutano using 100% organic GOTS-certified cotton in its clothing, while Morgan & Milo shoeboxes are made of 100% post-consumer recycled paper that also feature games, riddles and fun characters. The shoes are now available at Zutano.com and Amazon.com.

Oct. 15, 2019: Vegan Fashion Week, which launched Oct. 10, concludes its programs today in Los Angeles. Under the theme “Fashion Is Activism,” VFW included runway shows and presentations highlighting cruelty-free brands and sustainable sourcing. Doc Martens was among the vegan-friendly labels that participated. Special guests included actress Mena Suvari and musicians Moby and Kate Nash.

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Sofia Richie & Supermodel Taylor Hill Go for Sandals With Suits at Boohoo Collection Launch

It’s been said that life looks better through rose-colored glasses, but ask Taylor Hill and she’ll show you how much better life is wearing a dusky pink suit.

On Sunday, the supermodel celebrated with Sofia Richie and her fellow runway stars the launch of her Boohoo collection with a pink-themed tea party at The Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles. The collection is a curation of fall 2019 styles.


taylor hill x boohoo, boohoo fall 2019, MALIBU, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 13: (L-R) Sofia Richie and Taylor Hill attend boohoo x Taylor Hill Tea Party at The Beverly Hills Hotel on October 13, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Presley Ann/Getty Images for boohoo.com)

Sofia Richie (L) and Taylor Hill at Hill’s 2019 Boohoo collection launch at The Beverly Hills Hotel in L.A.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Boohoo

Hill arrived in a pink suit from her collection that she styled with a white bandeau and taupe sandals. Dusky pink is a running theme in her edit for the e-tailer. Neutrals, greens, mustard yellows and other muted tones are incorporated in more seasonal ready-to-wear staples.

Included are accessories like handbags embellished with pearls and faux fur. The footwear in the collection includes styles under $30 like strappy sandals, PVC stilettos along with on-trend white Western boots and brown croc-embossed boots; there’s even a pair of snakeskin sock boots for $28 on Boohoo.com.


boohoo boots, shoes, snakeskin boots

Boohoo’s snakeskin boots; $28.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Boohoo


taylor hill x boohoo, boohoo fall 2019, MALIBU, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 13: (L-R) Jasmine Tookes, Taylor Hill and Stella Maxwell attend boohoo x Taylor Hill Tea Party at The Beverly Hills Hotel on October 13, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Presley Ann/Getty Images for boohoo.com)

(L-R): Jasmine Tookes, Taylor Hill and Stella Maxwell at Boohoo x Taylor Hill’s fall 2019 curated collection launch at The Beverly Hills Hotel in L.A.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Boohoo

Hill said the British brand’s accessible price range made the partnership appealing. “I really admire how Boohoo is super inclusive,” she said. “There is something for everyone and they’re always one step ahead with the trends and really affordable. You don’t have to break the bank to make your closet look fabulous.”

Richie joined the soiree wearing Taylor Hill x Boohoo’s plaid suit with nude sandals. Guests included models Stella Maxwell, Jasmine Tookes, Iskra Lawrence and Mackinley Hill.


taylor hill x boohoo, boohoo fall 2019, tea party, MALIBU, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 13: Jessica Serfaty attends boohoo x Taylor Hill Tea Party at The Beverly Hills Hotel on October 13, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Presley Ann/Getty Images for boohoo.com)

Jessica Serfaty at Boohoo x Taylor Hill’s fall 2019 curated collection launch at The Beverly Hills Hotel in L.A. .
CREDIT: Courtesy of Boohoo

Model-influencer Jessica Serfaty, who wore a sheer polka dot top, flared black trousers and plexi pumps with black cap toes, told FN she learned the secret to looking good in front of the camera from her mother. “My mom taught me ‘no salt,’ ” she said. “It’s bad for the eyes, lymph nodes, hands and feet, especially the heels.”


taylor hill x boohoo, boohoo fall 2019, MALIBU, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 13: Sofia Richie attends boohoo x Taylor Hill Tea Party at The Beverly Hills Hotel on October 13, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Presley Ann/Getty Images for boohoo.com)

Sofia Richie at Boohoo x Taylor Hill’s fall 2019 curated collection launch party at The Beverly Hills Hotel in L.A.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Boohoo

Boohoo boasts a global demographic of 16- to 30-year-olds and has 13 million registered customers, according to the brand. Along with Nasty Gal and PrettyLittleThing brands under its umbrella, the fast-fashion group beat expectations for fiscal 2019, reporting a 49% lift in both earnings and annual profits. Adjusted profits for the fiscal year ended Feb. 28 were 76.3 million pounds ($99 million), up from 51 million pounds ($65 million) in 2018 and ahead of the 66.9 million pounds ($85.3 million) forecast by analysts. Revenues reached 856.9 million pounds ($1.1 billion), up 48% year over year, with U.K. sales up 37% and international sales up 64%.


taylor hill x boohoo, boohoo fall 2019

Taylor Hill for Boohoo fall 2019.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Boohoo


taylor hill x boohoo, boohoo fall 2019, MALIBU, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 13: Iskra Lawrence attends boohoo x Taylor Hill Tea Party at The Beverly Hills Hotel on October 13, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Presley Ann/Getty Images for boohoo.com)

Model Iskra Lawrence at Boohoo x Taylor Hill’s fall 2019 curated collection launch party at The Beverly Hills Hotel in L.A. 
CREDIT: Courtesy of Boohoo


taylor hill x boohoo, boohoo fall 2019, MALIBU, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 13: Umar Kamani attends boohoo x Taylor Hill Tea Party at The Beverly Hills Hotel on October 13, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Presley Ann/Getty Images for boohoo.com)

PrettyLittleThing founder Umar Kamani at Boohoo x Taylor Hill’s fall 2019 curated collection launch party at The Beverly Hills Hotel in L.A.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Boohoo

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Prince William’s Festive Dress and Slippers Steal the Style Spotlight From Kate Middleton in Pakistan

Kate Middleton isn’t the only one who gets to have a moment in the style spotlight. Prince William let the light shine on him today on the second leg of their five-day tour of Pakistan.

They arrived in eye-catching green outfits for a cultural reception in Islamabad. Middleton had on a sequined gown by Jenny Packham with metallic Jimmy Choo Mimi sandals ($875 on the brand’s site).


Catherine, Catherine Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Prince William pose as they attend a special reception hosted by the British High Commissioner Thomas Drew, at the Pakistan National Monument, during day two of their royal tour of PakistanPrince William and Catherine Duchess of Cambridge visit to Pakistan - 15 Oct 2019

Prince William wears Naushemian’s “sherwani” dress with Arthur Sleep slippers and Kate Middleton wears a Jenny Peckham dress with Jimmy Choo sandals.
CREDIT: Shutterstock

For William, his usual tux was left in the closet along with his Oxfords. He matched his wife’s color palette with festive flair, choosing Pakistan-based formalwear label Naushemian’s “sherwani” dress — a coatlike garment he wore over a tunic with loose trousers.


Naushemian sherwani dress, arthur sleep slippers, shoes, jenny peckham green dress, jimmy choo sandals, Prince William and Catherine Duchess of Cambridge speak with guests as they attend a special reception hosted by the British High Commissioner Thomas Drew, at the Pakistan National Monument in Islamabad, during day two of their royal tour.Prince William and Catherine Duchess of Cambridge visit to Pakistan - 15 Oct 2019

Prince William wears Naushemian’s “sherwani” dress with Arthur Sleep slippers and Kate Middleton wears a Jenny Peckham dress with Jimmy Choo sandals.
CREDIT: Shutterstock


Naushemian sherwani dress, arthur sleep slippers, shoes, jenny peckham green dress, jimmy choo sandals, Prince William and Catherine Duchess of Cambridge speak with guests as they attend a special reception hosted by the British High Commissioner Thomas Drew, at the Pakistan National Monument in Islamabad, during day two of their royal tour.Prince William and Catherine Duchess of Cambridge visit to Pakistan - 15 Oct 2019

Prince William wears Arthur Sleep slippers in Pakistan.
CREDIT: Shutterstock

His shoes, however, were British. The Duke of Cambridge had on black evening slippers by Arthur Sleep, a men’s and women’s luxury footwear label that has produced handmade shoes in London for more than 500 years. Prices range under $400 for many of the styles available on its website.

The royal couple celebrated the country’s music and culture at the event as they highlighted the United Kingdom’s relationship with the host country.


Naushemian sherwani dress, arthur sleep slippers, shoes, jenny peckham green dress, jimmy choo sandals, Catherine Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry during a reception hosted by the British High Commissioner to Pakistan in IslamabadPrince William and Catherine Duchess of Cambridge visit to Pakistan - 15 Oct 2019

Prince William wears Naushemian’s “sherwani” dress with Arthur Sleep slippers and Kate Middleton wears a Jenny Peckham dress with Jimmy Choo sandals.
CREDIT: Tim Rooke/Shutterstock


Prince William, sherwani, Pakistani traditional outfit, celebrity style, British royals, Kate Middleton, Jenny Packham dress, green gown, silver sandals, and Catherine Duchess of Cambridge during a reception hosted by the British High Commissioner to Pakistan in IslamabadPrince William and Catherine Duchess of Cambridge visit to Pakistan - 15 Oct 2019

Prince William wears Naushemian’s “sherwani” dress with Arthur Sleep slippers and Kate Middleton wears a Jenny Peckham dress with Jimmy Choo sandals.
CREDIT: Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

Click through the gallery to see more of Kate Middleton’s royal tour style. 

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These Are the Trends That Fashion’s Early Adopters Will Be Wearing Now

With fashion month behind us, now is the time to do what we do best—discern and dissect which trends will be most impactful in spring 2020. But here’s the thing: We fashion people are impatient. And let’s be honest, we’re probably not going to hold out all the way until spring to jump on some of the coolest new styles we spotted on the runways. So today we’re sharing the biggest S/S 20 trends that fashion girls can start wearing right now. While bra tops, hot pants, crochet, and ’90s naked dresses had a huge presence on the spring runways (and will no doubt be high up on our wish lists when the weather gets warmer), the seven trends below are styles that we can easily add into our fall and winter wardrobes right now (just add layers). From ’60s wallpaper prints to heeled loafers (they’re back) and Bermuda shorts, scroll below as we share the biggest S/S 20 trends to buy right now. Here’s to what’s next in fashion.

Leather continues its domination into spring with designers proving that the trending fabric is not reserved for colder months. The supple material was spotted in all different hues from dark green to cream in the form of matching skirts and tops, maxi dresses, and jackets. 

Whether worn as part of a three-piece suit, mismatched with a jacket, or simply thrown over a white blouse and skirt, vests were all over the spring runways, adding a dapper and flattering touch to every look. Bonus: They’re a great addition to your fall wardrobe and provide an extra layer of warmth and polish to your work suit.

While shorter-than-short hot pants are set to be everywhere by spring 2020 (thanks to the likes of Hermès, Chanel, and Ferragamo), longer Bermuda shorts are a tad more wearable right now. They had a huge presence on the spring runways, from Bottega Veneta to Givenchy, putting a new twist on the classic suit. Move over, bike shorts. There’s a new style in town.

Loafers are back. For spring, heeled loafers are the shoe of choice with the addition of cool mixed textures. Get on the trend early, and wear them with tights this fall and winter.

From Gucci to Carolina Herrera to Marc Jacobs to Balenciaga, designers went dotty for spring. Polka dots are here to stay. Opt for a minidress, maxi skirt, or tailored trousers. 

With dresses featuring oversize florals and psychedelic colors, ’60s and ’70s prints are back in full force for spring and summer 2020. Designers are serving up vintage vibes reminiscent of your grandma’s wallpaper.

Move over teeny-tiny purses; spring is the season of larger-than-life bags. Go for colorful totes folded under your arm as seen at Lacoste, or wear a neutral tote across your body like at Bottega Veneta. Either way, you’ll finally have space for your spare pair of shoes. 

Up next, the seven biggest color trends we’ll all be wearing in 2020.

Here’s Where I Source Designer Bags for Less (Yes, Really)

There are shoe girls, there are jewelry girls, and then there are handbag girls like yours truly. My saved tab is filled with street style–approved trending bags, the classics I’ve been secretly saving up for since I was 16, and avant-garde picks I’m not cool enough to wear but still love looking at.

But this type of hobby isn’t exactly cheap, so I feel lucky to have found StockX, the e-tailer that’s been enabling my bag-crazy tendencies. And although the price points sometimes vary (it is a live marketplace, after all), it’s become my go-to retailer for buying, selling, and bidding on designer pieces in excellent condition. 

While perusing the site the other night, I spotted some of the season’s trending items (ahem, like the Pouch from Bottega Veneta), and I couldn’t wait to share them with you. Let’s go, bag ladies…

27 Around-$100 Items I’d Buy Immediately Out of Fear They’ll Sell Out

Being (basically) a professional shopper certainly has its perks, one of the biggest of which is that I have a grasp on the inventory of every cool site and brand at any given time. And nothing gets my attention like a great item at an affordable price point. I’ve been keeping track of my recent favorites that are all right around $100, give or take a few. Yes, some are closer to $150, but there are good reasons they made it onto this list, so trust me.

Whether you need a new pair of jeans, some sweaters, versatile accessories, or affordable outerwear, there are offerings below that just might meet your needs. Or if you have $100 to spend and simply need some guidance, I got you. Keep scrolling to start putting your cash to good use.

I can’t stop thinking about this cardigan.

All you need for the perfect outfit is a fitted turtleneck and knee boots.

My fear that this will sell out is valid.

I love that you can get away with wearing these to work (dress code depending).

I bought this is in black last winter, and I still can’t get over how cute it is.

It’s not often that belts excite me as much as this one does.

This color combination just makes me happy.

Tweed makes everything better.

Well, this looks expensive.

This is cashmere. Enough said.

If you haven’t bought into the lug-sole boot trend yet, now’s your chance.

My jaw dropped when I saw this top on Revolve.

I’m pretty positive that this new Reformation arrival will fly out of stock.

This also comes in a pretty red hue.

Here’s your new favorite cozy coat. You’re welcome!

As you can see, these look very cool with Western boots.

I don’t know about you, but I have so many outfit ideas to pair with these.

The easy, cheap way to look very on trend this winter.

Something for when you inevitably get tired of wearing jeans.

Alo just released my favorite pullover yet.

Why spend hundreds on boots when these exist?

I guess I’m a Patagonia girl now.

This plus black jeans and fun heels equals the perfect chill holiday party outfit.

I love a good non-boring white top.

Retro sneakers are coming for dad sneakers.

The cut of this workout top is so pretty.

The epitome of coziness.

Next up, the top five under-$100 new arrivals of the month.

11 Ways to Wear Jeans With Flats and Still Be 100% On Trend

We’ll be the first to admit that wearing jeans with flats isn’t the most exciting of all the jean-and-shoe pairings in the world, but hear us out. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with wearing jeans with flats—they’re the bread and butter of our wardrobes and a comfortable combo we can always rely on—there comes a point where they start to feel rote and uninspiring. Enter our Who What Wear expertise.

If the combination seems boring and dull to you, that all changes here. We’re about to inject a massive amount of cool into the fail-safe outfit by offering you 11 ways to wear it that hit on the biggest denim and shoe trends of the season. From the Bella Hadid–inspired look to the jean style that will totally revive your ballet flats, keep reading for all the inspo you’ll ever need to keep wearing jeans and flats.

Channel your inner Bella Hadid and wear loose-fitting denim with Oxfords. Bonus points if you opt for a chunky-soled pair.

Combine two divisive trends in one go—tie-dye denim and Birkenstock’s old-school clogs. Take it from us: Clogs are the next big “ugly” shoe trend.

We consider flats and jeans the hardest-working basics in our closets. Let them shine all on their own when you choose a pair of go-with-anything straight-leg jeans and sleek mules.

Snakeskin print offers a cool upgrade to classic loafers. Combine it with rich coated denim, and you have the ideal luxe-looking fall outfit.

Embrace a high-low look when you style fancy Mary Janes with jeans in a classic blue wash.

If you live in black jeans, make your outfit pop with the addition of cow print, the controversial yet Meghan Markle–approved shoe trend of the moment.

The “safe” combo of black on black is made all the more interesting with a paper-bag denim silhouette and pretty mesh flats.

Darker saturated hues of indigo reigned supreme on the F/W 19 runways, and glove-like ballet flats are once again trending, so why not combine the two?

With so many ’80s silhouettes trending right now, we love the idea of wearing light-wash “mom” jeans with flats in a punchy hue for a modern-day spin.

Contrast seaming is the little detail that makes any pair of jeans infinitely cooler. To really make your outfit pop, wear them with shoes in the same color as the stitching.

PVC shoes are hardly a new trend, but in the form of flats, they feel fresh. Double down on the look by wearing them with utility-style jeans.

Next up: the only five brands I trust for straight-leg jeans.

Wait, When Did These 8 Basics Become Trendy?

The other day, my co-worker Nicole and I were discussing the extensive list of items on our fall shopping lists. As we were chatting about each of the trendy new pieces we planned on adding to our carts, I realized that a majority of the items on my list weren’t actually “trends” at all—they were basics that, thanks to the stylish fashion girls of the world, have officially become, well, trendy. I am really picky when it comes to what I deem a trend, so it makes sense that I was struggling with suiting becoming one of the most well-accepted fall trends of not only this season but last season as well, in addition to the rise of the more stylized bourgeoisie trend. At the end of the day, things like suits and trousers are not anything new; they are wardrobe staples that maybe weren’t cool, but they certainly weren’t out.

When classics suddenly become cool, do we call them a trend? Yes? No? It’s confusing, but all I know is that the return to a more simplistic way of dressing is here, and the trending basics ahead are leading the way. Take time to learn all about the basic pieces—including button-down shirts, shoulder bags, and even loafers—that are currently paving the way for a larger movement in this industry that is both unavoidable and exciting. The good news is that you probably own a majority of the eight items listed below, but in case you don’t, we shopped our favorite versions of each to ensure your fall wardrobe is fully up to date. 

Largely thanks to this recently birthed styling trick, the classic white button-down is officially on heavy rotation among the fashion set. 

It wasn’t until the suit-trend storm calmed that we were able to see suits for what they really are—an official fashion-girl basic. 

Cardigans—your grandma wears them, you wore them in elementary school, and now, you wear cropped versions for a night out and button them all the way up as a chic top alternative. The circle of life, you know?

What was once a staple in the ’90s and early ’00s quickly became obsolete, but if we know anything about fashion, it’s that everything comes back around. This simple handbag shape is one It girls reach for to accompany pretty much any look right now. 

Pleated skirts (particularly plaid ones) are reigning supreme thanks to the bourgeoisie styling fad that just won’t quit. Snatch up a few of these for fall, and you’ll forget you even ever liked jeans in the first place. 

This timeless shoe style is almost officially Instagram famous. Worn with socks and anklets, miniskirts, and other unconventional counterparts, loafers are destined to be one of the next big shoe micro-trends of fall 2019. 

Calling a leather jacket a trend seems like a bit of a reach, but according to the sheer volume of content fashion girls are creating around the item, it’s hard not to call them a trend. No, this isn’t a moto jacket. Instead, we’re talking blazer-esque shapes that are slightly oversize. 

Last but not least, we have trench coats. Spotted all over the streets during fashion month, the trendy basic is clearly the silhouette to own this season.

Next up, shop all the white T-shirts celebrities approve of right now. 

The Worst Shoes for Your Feet, From a Doctor

We all know the feeling: You walk out the door for a day on the go, only to find 20 minutes later that your choice of footwear just isn’t going to cut it in the comfort department. Unfortunately, the pain and blisters aren’t the only downsides to wearing uncomfortable shoes—there’s the chance they could cause more long-lasting damage to your feet. To help you prevent this, we reached out to an expert to find out which shoes are the worst for foot health.

Frankly, we expected high heels to top the list, but podiatrist Robert Khorramian, MD provided a surprising response to our question. The worst offender? Ballet flats. Dr. Khorramian pointed out that with women’s busy schedules, unstructured flats don’t offer enough support. He noted that walking for long periods of time in ballet flats “causes metatarsalgia neuroma and plantar fasciitis,” and also “destroys the fatty tissue underneath the feet,” resulting in the ever so dreaded corns and calluses.

While Dr. Khorramian named ballet flats as the most common shoes to cause foot-related issues, he explained that other unsupportive or painful styles are also worth avoiding. “Flip-flops can cause a lot of injuries,” he stated. “Pointy shoes can also cause corns and blisters because of the lack of circulation to the toes.”

Some of the most unsupportive shoes for your feet include classic ballet flats, flip-flops, pointed shoes, and precarious heels. So what are the best ways to protect your feet? “Always buy shoes that are cushiony underneath the soles of the feet and have enough toe room,” said Khorramian. And if you are planning to wear shoes with little support or high heels, he recommends carrying a larger bag where you can easily swap to comfortable shoes. “If you must wear heels, avoid wearing them while you’re driving, for long periods of time, and while walking.”

Shop our picks for the most supportive, stylish shoes below!

A heavy-duty sole means you’re ready for anything.

When shopping for the perfect ankle boots, opt for a lower heel.

Perfect for a day at home or at the office.

These boots offer plenty of support.

You can never go wrong with sneakers.

Skip the stilettos and try this comfier heel instead.

A boxier pointy-toe shoe will keep your feet from feeling jammed.

These trendy sneakers offer tons of support.

Swap flip-flops for these supportive sandals.

Loafers: Always classic choice.

These shoes are oh so cool and comfortable.

These sneakers were made for walking around all day.

These sleek loafers are polished enough for the office.

A low block heel offers more support for your feet.

Proof that fancy shoes don’t have to be uncomfortable.

A rounded toe will keep your feet comfy.

We’re all about these practical heeled loafers for fall.

A casual sandal that still offers comfort. Want more comfortable shoe inspiration? Here are nine cute outfits to wear with sneakers.

4 Cozy Trends to Invest In Now (Because Cold-Girl Winter Is Coming)

I know, I know—there’s fundamentally nothing hot about being cold. But indulge me for a moment, because winter is actually my favorite time of year, especially when it comes to getting dressed in the morning. After all, when you wake up shivering under three duvets because you live in Los Angeles and aren’t fully sure your 1920s apartment’s ancient furnace is safe to turn on (just me?), you learn to love layers and all things cozy.

I realize this is probably just as laughable to my colleagues in NYC as the time they visited L.A. and saw me show up to happy hour in a full-on winter coat when it was almost 70º outside, but I can’t help it if I like being warm! I have thus been delighted by all the cozy new trends rolling out for the season ahead: Think thick cable-knits, ’70s-style capes (they’ve been all over the runways!), shearling-trimmed jackets, and thick quilted jackets.

In a bid to get ahead of the new season and spend smartly (if you ask me, wardrobe-wise, there’s nothing worth investing in more than a quality winter coat that will last for seasons!), I started filling up my cart at LuisaViaRoma

Want to keep shopping? Next up, check out LuisaViaRoma’s new arrivals.

Meghan Markle Just Wore the It Bag I Predicted 5 Months Ago

In case you haven’t noticed, we write a lot of predictive stories here at Who What Wear. We’ve forecasted fall’s best designer bootswinter’s biggest coat style, and even anticipated the eight most popular trends of 2020 (with help from Anna Wintour). Not to toot our own horns, but we have to say we’re usually pretty accurate with our projections—and Meghan Markle’s newest outfit is proof.

Back in May, I predicted that Montunas would be the It bag brand of summer 2019, and now none other than Meghan Markle has stepped out wearing the rising brand, guaranteeing it a fast track to cult status. “All of our acetate pieces are inspired by our orchid house in the mountains of Costa Rica,” co-founder Amanda Hawila told Who What Wear back in May. “The shapes are all based on orchid pots and vessels, and the names are native Costa Rican orchids. For us, nature is our biggest inspiration—it’s not hard when you’re from Costa Rica!” Scroll down to see how the Duchess of Sussex styled her Montunas bag, and shop the brand for yourself. 

On Meghan Markle: Montunas Guaria Tortoiseshell Scarf Bag ($484); Sentaler coat; P.A.R.O.S.H. dress; Manolo Blahnik BB Pumps ($625)

Next, these will be the eight biggest trends of 2020, according to Anna Wintour

I’m Itching to Cut All My Hair Off—Here Are the Styles I’m Considering

Maybe it’s the turn of the season, or maybe it’s my ADD playing tricks on me, but I’m in the mood to cut all my hair off. This is no common occurrence for me; as a coily-haired queen who routinely heat styles my shoulder-length locks, I’m constantly seeking out ways to retain length, not get rid of it. But, there’s one haircut I keep seeing that is so chic and appealing that it’s got me seconds away from scheduling a hair appointment at any given moment: the blunt bob.

You might be wondering why this particular cut speaks directly to my soul, and the answer is simple. Aside from the fact that every single celebrity currently wearing the stark yet playful cut looks impossibly cool, the time has come for me to cut off some heat damage, and I’d like to do it in style. So, like a true beauty editor, I scoured the internet for the best blunt bobs to add to my “new hair, who dis” vision board. Ahead, 27 styles that are absolutely to die for.

Oh, and I’ll be sure to keep you posted on my personal style switch-up, too.

No one can rock a blunt bob (or any look, for that matter) quite like J.Lo.

The lightness in the ends of this crisp crop keep it youthful and not too severe.

Kardashian’s bob is sharply cut all the way around, but a little extra length in the front adds some more dimension and some more room to play while styling.

An earlobe-grazing cut and a side part truly are a match made in hair heaven.

This side-swept bob has the perfect amount of texture for an effortlessly chic moment.

Gerber shows us how to soften this cut by adding a soft wave and perhaps a shine serum.

Bob-length box-braids? So much yes.

The wet look of Ciara’s side-parted bob ups the drama factor to level 100.

This the sleek styling of Rowland’s cropped cut keeps it looking full and lush.

Kardashian’s bleach blonde bob looks so chic, whether it’s worn stick-straight or curled.

Hale has kept her hair on the shorter side for years now, so it’s no surprise she’s got this easy, waved style down pat.

Air-dried or blown straight, Graham’s bob is a winner.

While we wouldn’t necessarily call this cut blunt, we love the length of Washington’s coiled, natural strands. 

Just before Theron went for a full-on bowl-cut earlier this fall, her tresses hung just below her jawline, creating the perfect frame for her angular face.

A half-up, half-down style looks ridiculously cool on this short length.

We’re loving the makeshift bangs Chung fashions out of her mono-length cut by adding subtle barrel curls around her face.

This slicked-back bob is a vibe. There may be more to it than meets the eye, but it looks effortless.

The only thing cuter than Union’s blunt cut in this photo is her precious baby girl, Kaavia.

This shoulder-sweeping cut is so versatile. Here, Graham shows us how to switch it up by tucking on the side smoothly behind the ear.

Going for a grittier look? Do as Hudson does here, and go a step beyond tucking your hair behind your ears by slicking down the perimeter. Pure magic.

Pearl clips are the perfect accessory for a full-bodied cut like this one.

Daisy Buchanan, is that you? This barely there-bob is straight out of the 1920s.

Just because it’s blunt doesn’t mean this cut is a one-trick pony. It’s easy to create a shaggier look by adding a bit of texture.

We love the beachy wave Liu’s got going on here.

Martin’s natural texture is the perfect match for her blunt bob. 

This asymmetrical cut leans forward and falls a bit longer in the front. But the dusted ends are what really catch our eyes.

This look is so simple, and yet so cool. The sharp middle part and soft bump at the ends each add extra elements of style. Up next, the exact products hairstylists use on celeb clients for ridiculously shiny hair.

Every Single Thing Kate Middleton Has Worn in Pakistan, Including $10 Earrings

The royals are on the move. Hot on the heels of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s tour of South Africa, their Kensington counterparts have made the journey to a different destination: Pakistan. Kate Middleton and Prince William’s tour marks the first royal visit to the country in 13 years since Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles traveled there.

“The Duke and Duchess’s first official visit to the country will pay respect to the historical relationship between Britain and Pakistan, but will largely focus on showcasing Pakistan as it is today — a dynamic, aspirational and forward-looking nation,” Kensington Palace explained on its Instagram. So far, they have met with the Prime Minister of Pakistan as well as with local children who are working toward meeting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Naturally, Middleton has worn many local brands, including Maheen Khan and Zeen.

Scroll down to see every single outfit from Kate Middleton’s royal tour of Pakistan and revisit what Princess Diana wore on her visits to the country. 

On Kate Middleton: Jenny Packham dress

On Kate Middleton: Catherine Walker coat; Maheen Khan trousers; Emmy London shoes and clutch; Zeen earrings; Bonanza Satrangi Green Chiffon Dupatta ($11)

On Kate Middleton: Maheen Khan outfit 

On Kate Middleton: Catherine Walker dress and trousers; Zeen earrings and clutch; Rupert Sanderson shoes

Next, Meghan Markle just wore the It bag I predicted five months ago

Lagavulin Is Dropping a Nick Offerman Limited Edition Whisky This Month

Nick Offerman is back on the Lagavulin stage with his first ever special edition bottle of a totally new whisky product.

The Lagavulin Offerman Edition Aged 11 Years is a “partnership” bottle between Lagavulin and Offerman. The whisky they’ve come up with is an 11-year-old single malt prepared in special packaging displaying Offerman’s visage and name on the bottle. Offerman also added this quote to the label:

“I have traveled the world and sampled many attempts at pleasing nectars, but it is solely this distillation of Islay; a tiny, charismatic Scottish isle, that has claimed my palate. Yea, and my heart into the bargain.”

It’s always exciting to find out about a new celebrity whisky when the celebrity in question is a well-known whisky lover.

Offerman’s love affair with Lagavulin is a shared trait with his most iconic on-screen persona, Ron Swanson. Swanson famously visits the distillery in the show Parks and Rec, and a favorite outtake from an earlier season shows costar Chris Pratt choking on a glass of the peaty stuff in a scene with Offerman. Then of course, there’s the famed Yule Log videos from earlier this decade—essentially a 45-minute fireside chat with Offerman (who doesn’t chat, just drinks).

The new Lagavulin Offerman Edition Aged 11 Years bottle of whisky, complete with Offerman's face on the label
The new Lagavulin Offerman Edition Aged 11 Years bottle of whisky, complete with Offerman’s face on the label Courtesy Image

Lagavulin is famous for its 16-Year bottling, but has put out several incredible bottles in recent years under 16 years of age, including an 8-Year release for the distillery’s 200th anniversary, and a 12 year as part of a special series of whiskies.

This 11-year-old whisky is said to exhibit fresh berry character and considerable spice, all of which is atop a mound of smoky intonations from the peat. We haven’t tasted it, but we’re going to assume that, as in woodworking, Offerman knows what he’s talking about. The mellow 92 proof point is approachable as well.

At $75 a bottle, it’s worth giving Offerman’s pick a try. They’ve limited the scope of the release, so it’s likely that, with the bottle coming out this month, you’ll want to get your hands on it sooner than later for the holidays.

The Apple Watch Series 5 Is a Smartwatch That Does It All

Last month, Apple announced a suite of new products, including upgraded versions of the iPhone, the iPad, and the Apple Watch. There were a lot of new features to parse through with those products, but the new Apple Watch Series 5 caught my eye for two big updates in particular: an always-on display and a new built-in compass. Combined with its waterproof design, deep roster of apps, and robust activity tracking, it seemed like a smartwatch that checks all the boxes, so we decided to put the Series 5 to the test.

What It Is: The Series 5 is the latest version of the Apple Watch. The most noticeable change is the always-on display, which means the watch always shows the time in a dimmed power-saving mode until you turn your wrist to look at it. When you do that, the watch wakes up and the screen brightens. There are new ways to customize the look of your watch, too: Apple released an all-new titanium case material and brought back the ceramic case option for the Series 5, and the watch is available in 44mm and 40mm case sizes. On the inside, it’s powered by an S5 dual-core processor, is rated for 18 hours of battery life, and boasts 32 gigabytes of storage, so there’s plenty of room for downloading music. Other new features include the aforementioned built-in compass (and an accompanying compass app), international emergency calling on cellular-enabled watches, and a noise app that measures sound levels around you. There’s also “activity trends,” a recently released feature in the phone-based activity app that gives you a long-term overview of your activity levels after 180 days of wear.

apple watch series 5
The new Compass app Courtesy of Apple

Why We Like It: There are quite a few new and notable features on the Series 5, but the ones that stood out most include the always-on display (obviously), the compass, activity tracking, and overall ease-of-use.

The always-on display makes the Series 5 feel more like a real watch than a wrist computer. That was a big plus for me, as I usually wear, and prefer the look of, an analog watch. The display is crystal clear and easy to read, even when dimmed. The always-on function also works when using the built-in activity app, which I found really helpful. I could see my elapsed time, heart rate, and other stats at a glance while working out, without having to tap on the screen with sweaty fingers.

Although it seems basic, the compass is another nice addition. Most users will see the benefit in the maps app, where the compass data is used to show which way you’re facing (via a cone projected out of the blue location dot) on the map. But the standalone compass app also has its merits. While on a trail run in the mountains, the app gave clear and consistent readings without spinning or calibrating, and it worked no matter how I oriented my wrist. The app also displays helpful metrics like elevation, latitude, and longitude.

Apple Watch Series 5
Courtesy of Apple

 

Apple’s strong lineup of health tracking features is another big draw. There are tracking modes for all kinds of workouts, and combined with the activity app on my iPhone, I received lots of data on how much I’m moving during the day. I normally record my exercise on Strava, but the activity app combined with the Series 5’s suite of trackers (GPS, an optical heart rate monitor, and an ECG monitor are all standard), gave me a much fuller picture of my health. If you’ve tried earlier Apple Watches, that won’t be news to you, but the addition of long-term activity trends in the iPhone app should make the data even more helpful. It gives you benchmarks for everything from average time spent standing to your VO2 max.

Overall, the Series 5 was easy to use and wear. Setup took just a few minutes, the touchscreen was easy to navigate, and I loved that the watch is waterproof. Whether I was doing the dishes or swimming at the beach, I never had to worry about taking it off. If you need a tough, well designed, and highly capable smartwatch for everyday wear, it’ll be hard to beat the Series 5.

It’s also worth noting that Apple bumped down the price on the popular Series 3, so that it could be more affordable get an Apple Watch on your wrist. (Prices for GPS models start at $199, and GPS + cellular models start at $299.)

Nitpick: The Series 5 is rated for 18 hours of battery life, which puts it far below other exercise-focused smartwatches like the Garmin Fenix 6. If days-long endurance is a must for you, you might consider looking elsewhere—or be prepared for a more rigorous charging schedule.

[Apple Watch Series 5 GPS: $399; Apple Watch Series 5 GPS + Cellular: $499; apple.com]

Get it

This Is the No.1 Reason Why You Should Be Running in Cold Rain

In the mountain town of Flagstaff, Arizona, at 7,000 feet in altitude, the sky is always close. Dense clouds hover at what seems to be an arm’s length away, and weather can change from sunny to apocalyptic over the course of a three-mile run. It happens to be a mecca for distance runners, who come from all over the world to allow this wild place to harden them into elite competitors.

During my professional career as a middle-distance runner, I spent winters in Flagstaff preparing for the summer racing season. Those months were, without question, the coldest, muddiest, windiest, most unpredictable miles of my life. I can’t even narrow my memories to a certain kind of misery. I have sprinted in terror from lightning cracking at my heels, spent hours grimacing into wind, and churned through mud at a snail’s pace. There’s a deep fatigue that stems from that kind of effort, a raw-nerve exhaustion. When our pack would arrive back at the team house, we’d file in quietly, piling running shoes on the porch to dry, then drape our limp bodies over chairs and couches inside.

Another U.S. running hub is the Pacific Northwest, where inclement weather is also infamous. Hassan Mead, a 2016 Olympian in the 5,000 meters, hates running in the rain. So when he was recruited by famed coach Mark Rowland to join the Oregon Track Club Elite in Eugene, it gave him pause. “I said to myself, ‘This is my dream!’ ” Mead recalls. “But do I have to be wet for it?”

The answer is yes—and not just because suffering builds character. Exercise science makes a strong case for tough conditions. One of the biggest physiological challenges in distance running is maintaining correct body temperature. You want your muscles to be warm, so they’ll be safe at full expansion and contraction. But when core temperature gets too high, the heart puts more effort more toward cooling you down than fueling the workout.

So how to keep your muscles warm but your core from overheating? Cool rain. A couple of years in the Pacific Northwest made Mead a convert. “If I had it my way, I’d always race in cool rain,” he says. “It’s hard to get out in it, but those end up the best runs of your life.”

Suboptimal conditions challenge your body in different ways. Steve Finley, a retired professional middle-distance runner and coach of the Brooklyn Track Club, says training is all about forcing adaptations, which means taking athletes out of their comfort zones. A stiff wind that changes directions, hail that punctuates a tempo run, or a mud-laced downhill forces you to reconsider your limits.

Poor conditions also improve running mechanics. When rain softens grass, it affects foot contact with the ground. Pliability underfoot requires small supportive muscles in the feet and lower legs to work harder than usual, which helps develop stability and power off the ground. For those who stick to pavement, the slightly slick sidewalk or road activates muscles in the deep core—specifically the transversus abdominis—to tighten posture and make slight balance corrections. And jumping over puddles, side-shuffling around mud patches, and sprinting through heavy downpours turns a normal run into a high-intensity interval workout.

I understand that these payoffs don’t always have swaying power in the internal struggle that occurs when the skies turn ominous and you’re due a few miles. I’m now a coach, and I often see those same nerves and fatigue in my athletes I felt in Flagstaff. I know how they’re feeling in the moment, but more importantly, I know what it will add up to months and years from today. I would not tell them this when they’re shivering in Spandex before a hard effort, but I never feel closer to the highest of athletic highs than on these cold, wet days. This is where the heart of the sport is.

Nevertheless, I remind them they will reap rewards for this work. The wind, rain, mud, and cold all serve to round out their fitness in ways I cannot program into a training calendar. Tough conditions bring out the magic in the athlete. I hear it in their footfalls. Every time they pass me and my stopwatch, they bring a changing energy. Their strides loosen. They stop bracing against the rain. The shift is audible—a lighter patter of footsteps, the breathing of bodies allowing themselves to run fast. Hopefully the day they run for a PR is perfect—low 60s at race start, a faint wind at their back. But if race day is foul, they’ll be ready for it, too.

Before my runners headed out into the slop, I did not tell them to “have fun.” I would have hated hearing that. Wet, cold, about to run myself to exhaustion: I was a warrior and not there to have fun.

Even now, when I’m out in it, I remind myself that I feel more alive when the wind is howling and the road shimmers in the rain. Forget the time goals, forget the splits. The only thing that matters in this weather is effort. Bring the work.

Julia Lucas is a run coach and former professional mid-distance runner   

The Best Gear for Cold, Rainy Runs

For the days when an old college tee and sweats won’t do, here’s the gear that’ll keep you moving well.

 

Columbia Rogue Runner Wind Jacket
Courtesy Image

Columbia Rogue Runner Wind Jacket

Designed for the trail, this packable jacket is seam-sealed, so water won’t be able to enter, and reflective details help keep you visible. It has a packable hood if you’re fighting the wind rather than the rain.

[$199; columbia.com]
Asics Gel-Cumulus 21 G-TX
Courtesy Image

Asics Gel-Cumulus 21 G-TX

For runs that are more erratic than usual, wear shoes with stability. These have a beefed up outer sole to keep you stable on trails, while a Gore-Tex upper helps deflect some of the slop.

[$130; asics.com]

Darn Tough Vertex Micro Crew Sock
Courtesy Image

Darn Tough Vertex Micro Crew Sock

There’s no way around it—socks will get wet in the rain. So pick a pair that’s thin. That way, there’s less of them to get water-logged. These are stripped-down without forgoing cushioning.

[$20; darntough.com]

The Ultimate Guide to Being More Productive

If you want to improve your output to maximize your downtime, home life, work, and health, you need to do it one level at a time. We like to call it the productivity power-up. It’s easy and manageable. Consider it the Men’s Journal guide to getting sh*t done.

How to Make the Most of Your Leisure Time

Level 1: Binge Best-sellers During Your Commute 

You can’t read every great, new, thought-provoking nonfiction book on the NYT Best Sellers list. There aren’t enough free hours in the day. But with the audio app Blinkist, you can get the key ideas from top nonfiction books distilled in commute-friendly 15-minute chunks. That way, you can actually learn something on your drive and make up for the reading downtime you wish you had. This is also a great tip if you aimlessly scroll through Twitter and Instagram whilst commuting on trains and subways.

Level 2: Change Your Lightbulbs for Better Sleep  

You’ve probably heard that you shouldn’t twiddle on your phone before trying to fall asleep. This owes to the fact that the blue hue of the screen screws with your body’s production of melatonin, the chemical that makes you sleepy. To go a step further, try using a red-spectrum light in your bedroom, as your bedside reading lamp, say. Research suggests these lights improve sleep quality.

Level 3: Unschedule Your Free Time 

Resist the urge to jam-pack your weekends or days off. According to an Ohio State study, setting a busy, strict schedule for your free time can undermine the joy of leisure activities and negate much of their benefits. Free-flowing downtime helps you unwind better—provided you don’t spend the time staring at your phone, since purposelessly scrolling eats up time without any restorative perks.

Level 4: Plan Your Vacations for the Entire Year  

More than half of Americans fail to use all their PTO. Which benefits no one. According to one study, vacations have a 94 percent return on investment, in terms of a worker’s energy and outlook. Plan your vacations far in advance and all at once for the year, to get them on the books so they’re harder to skip.

How to Improve Your Productivity at Home

Level 1: Streamline Your Morning Routine  

A simple way to get more out of your morning—and to get out the door more quickly—is to use little pockets of downtime to knock out simple tasks. For example, instead of idly watching your coffee brew or your bagel toast, slap together a sandwich for lunch, or consolidate everything you need for the day next to the door, so you’re not scrambling to collect everything on your way out. You’ll save loads of time just by having your keys, wallet, and bag in one place.

Level 2: Create a Master Family Calendar  

Reduce back-and-forth overscheduling by creating a master family calendar. Include everything from dinner dates to soccer pickups, along with weekly household chores. Knocking out these chores incrementally during the week will also spare you from having to do them all over the weekend.

Level 3: Organize Your Toolshed  

If you’re tackling a weekend project, you can easily spend just as much time searching for your tools as working on the task at hand. To prevent this, spend a day organizing your workshop or garage, separating power tools from manual ones, hanging spare cords, and labeling drawers.

Level 4: Will Yourself to Rise Early   

The most useful, and straightforward, productivity advice can also be the most daunting: Get up early. Yes, you’ve heard it before, but by rising early, you can knock out important tasks before other demands arise. If you keep hitting snooze, set your alarm across the room, which will force you to get up.

How to Power Up Productivity at Work

Level 1: Get Off Slack  

A Harvard Business School study suggests that constantly chatting with coworkers on platforms like Slack decreases work quality. To avoid a daily barrage of messages, set your account to “away” in the morning and schedule a 15-minute afternoon Slack break to get caught up.

Level 2: Switch Your Seat  

An expanding body of research has found that open floor plans are a hindrance to productivity and don’t bolster teamwork. In fact, a recent study showed that people in an open-seat office spent much of the day seeking out ways to block coworker noise and recover some privacy—often by not being at their desks working. If chatter proves distracting, ask your boss to change seats.

Level 3: Find a Back-Burner Project 

Office downtime costs companies some $100 billion a year, according to Teresa Amabile, a professor at Harvard Business School. Amabile looked at more than 1,000 people in 29 professions and found that three out of four employees have dead time during the workweek because they can’t move ahead on projects, owing to issues beyond their control. Rather than sit idly, keep a list of low-priority projects that you can work on when the workflow pipeline gets clogged.

Level 4: Move Up Your Morning Drive   

A 10-mile commute into a major city on a Monday morning takes, on average, 15 minutes at 7 a.m. or 45 minutes at 8. Ask your boss to let you move your schedule forward to avoid the congestion, says Laura Vanderkam, author of Off the Clock. You could save as much as two hours a day.

How to Optimize Your Health

Level 1: Make a 10-minute Commitment  

Research shows that people who run 51 minutes a week—or about seven minutes a day—significantly lower their mortality rate, meaning that hour-long gym sessions are as daunting as they are unnecessary, at least in terms of basic health benefits. Sure, if you’re training for a marathon, a 10-minute run won’t cut it. But a quick run is better than nothing, and a much easier habit to form.

Level 2: Check Off Some Super-Tiny Goals  

Once you get in the habit of exercising regularly—even if in short increments—set some easy, quantifiable goals, says productivity coach Liz Sumner. Achieving them will boost your confidence and keep you moving forward, while falling short of goals over and over can be demotivating.

Level 3: Use Audiobooks to Your Advantage  

As you ramp up the difficulty of your fitness goals, muster the willpower to listen to your favorite audiobook or podcast only while you hit the weights or exercise. Researchers at the Wharton School have found that gym attendance rises by 51 percent among people who reserve listening to their favorite audiobook for while working out.

Level 4: Put Firm Numbers on Daily Objectives  

Now that you have plenty of confidence and are exercising regularly, put hard numbers on daily fitness objectives. Committing these daily goals to paper will keep you focused and provide small benchmarks as you work toward a larger goal, whether it’s to drop 20 pounds or bench press 200.