Life Update, Everlane Drama, Etc.

jean jacket and leggings outfit

It’s been a long time since I last wrote – maybe the longest break I’ve ever taken since starting this blog. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s happened since my last post: I took the GRE, I turned 29, I got very ill, and then the world fell apart. So, I haven’t felt much like writing about clothes.

After I finally got past the GRE, I realized how much I’d been burning the candle at both ends. I felt so physically and emotionally exhausted that I just needed to…stop. For a while. I said I’d take a break from blogging for a week or so, but just when I was ready to write again, I came down with an odd bug that left me bed-ridden and constantly vomiting for another week. I still don’t know what it was – the nurse I spoke to on the phone wasn’t sure, and while she made me an appointment to go to urgent care, she simultaneously scared me out of going by telling me the waiting room would likely be filled with flu and coronavirus patients, and I could be there for several hours. I decided to tough it out at home rather than take the risk.

As soon as I got better, the world went into lockdown, and shortly after that my husband came down with a terrible illness that laid him out for four full days and from which he is still recovering. We told ourselves at first that it was just the flu, but now it’s obvious that it was almost certainly COVID-19. I don’t know if I carried it into our home asymptomatically and gave it to him, or if I’m still going to get it, or if it even really was coronavirus – not knowing and not being able to get tested is the most stressful part. All we can do is try to take good care of ourselves and stay away from others.

Like many people, I’ve been working from home full time for the last two weeks and will be for the foreseeable future. I feel *extremely* lucky to have a job (and a paycheck and health benefits) that will continue uninterrupted through this crisis (probably). I know that so many others in this country are not so lucky. We’ve been doing our best to balance protecting our finances with supporting local businesses and donating to aid groups. Matt’s commencement ceremony has been cancelled, but he’s still graduating in a few weeks and with the current economy and social distancing orders in effect, we don’t know how long it might take for him to find a job (email me if you’re in need a very talented and handsome chemist and STEM educator).

It feels kind of hollow to write about clothing right now, but I guess I’ll at least say that I wear a pair of black cotton leggings pretty much every single day, and usually pair them with a sweater or work appropriate casual top. I continue to do my hair and makeup like any normal day – mostly because I take a lot of Zoom meetings and I am vain enough that looking good on Zoom is really important to me. I’ve been doing a little bit of pandemic shopping with the birthday gift cards and referral credits I’ve racked up in the last few weeks, and I plan to write about some of that stuff soon.

The big news in the ethical fashion world right now is that Everlane laid off most of its remote, part-time customer service team, just days after they formally requested that the company recognize their newly-formed union. It’s true that many companies are facing difficult decisions regarding their workforce and their ability to stay afloat right now, but the timing of the layoff, and the specific employees who were laid off, make it very difficult to interpret Everlane’s move as anything other than a retaliation against the unionization efforts. It’s incredibly disheartening – Everlane is a company that I have worked with frequently and that I really believed in the ethics of. I’m not sure where I stand with them now.

I think that, at least for the time being, I won’t be making any new purchases from Everlane, accepting any gifted product, or publishing any new affiliate links. I maintain my opinions about any pieces I’ve previously written about – most of my wardrobe is from Everlane and the quality of the clothing is not my issue – and I’ll be leaving up previously published links. Frankly, I am not so principled of a person that I am willing to forgo the precious income those links bring in, especially at such a financially precarious time. I hope that when the world goes back to “normal” (if it ever does, and whatever that means), Everlane will hire those employees back on. The PR statements on their Instagram account sort of allude to that being the plan, but it’s not exactly a promise. I recommend following the union on Instagram for updates.

While Everlane’s actions have been supremely disappointing, I feel uplifted seeing the ways that some companies have really kicked it into high gear to support their workforce, particularly Elizabeth Suzann, who pulled out all the stops to make sure that employees would continue getting paid. It was easy to see from the incredible mobilization of the past two weeks that ES puts people first. That really solidifies my dedication to the company as a customer, and my admiration of Liz as a leader. Maybe now is the time that I finally invest in the linen Florence shorts I’ve always wanted??

To sign off, I’ll just say that this pandemic has changed a lot of things for me. My graduate school timeline is paused for now and I’m reassessing what the best path is moving forward. I don’t know what the future of this blog is as I wrestle with the discomfort of trying to sell people things during a global pandemic and as I edge away from this space to focus on a long-shelved writing project that is harder and less lucrative, but more artistically fulfilling. I always knew that this spring was going to be the end of one era of my life and the beginning of an unfamiliar new one, but I never anticipated what the added chaos of a real, honest-to-God pandemic could do to it. I feel like I’m holding my breath, just waiting for the world to right itself before I can exhale.

Hope you’re all safe and healthy. I hope to write again soon.

R.

 

11 thoughts on “Life Update, Everlane Drama, Etc.

  1. Renee! I’m so sorry to hear this, but glad it passed without any major complications! Hope you are taking care.
    Liz

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  2. I’ve been having the same thoughts as you about Everlane. I like Everlane’s clothing and it’s one of the few ethical brands I can afford. But this situation doesn’t sit well with me and it feels especially ironic when they tout transparency and the ethical treatment of people. As a fellow writer, I’d love to hear more about the writing project you’re working on (if you’re willing to share, that is)!

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    1. I agree. It’s hard times for all businesses right now, but Everlane’s actions don’t match their messaging, from what I can see. I hope that they’ll be able to make positive changes in the future as the economy returns to something like normal. As for my writing project – I’m working on a novel! And also a collection of essays related to science/nature in Washington, DC. The essays may find their way to the internet in some form or another, but the novel is really more of a personal experiement. 🙂

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  3. Similar to Chantel’s comment above, I love your blog! I’ll miss seeing your updates here, but think it’s awesome you’re prioritizing a creative writing project.

    I’ve been following along for awhile but never commented before. Really wanted to say – I totally agree with your perspective on Everlane, & for highlighting ES as a counter-example.

    Hope you & your family remain healthy from here on out!

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  4. Glad to hear your husband is on the mend. I haven’t blogged as much this year because of other priorities, but the pandemic certainly changes things even more. It’s a scary, uncertain time. Take care of yourselves!

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  5. Hi Renée,
    Finally got the chance to read your last article. And I always enjoy it.
    I hope you, your family and your loved ones are doing good and healthy.
    The Pandemic has hitten us in so many different ways.
    I am from Paris, France, and things have been and still are weird here too since mi-March. Though i feel lucky in so pany ways.
    I hope you will be able to continue writting on your blog because I love your sweetness and points of view. And I am sure there is a few of your blog followers feeling like me.
    So, please keep in touch with us.
    With Love,
    -Stephanie

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