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When Self-Care Becomes Community Care

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While we’ve technically got until the solstice to call it "summer," Labor Day weekend is widely observed as your last unofficial chance for getting in that picnic, barbecue, or beach trip before September really gets underway. But it’s also good for something else — namely, sweet deals. Pretty much every major retailer gets in on the sales frenzy, as do a number of indie brands. They’re not waiting ‘til the weekend, either, with a bunch of these discounts up and running since last week.

Since there’s just so much stuff, Racked’s shopping team decided to highlight the very best of the best exclusively for our newsletter readers. You can check out Cory and Tiffany’s picks below, or shop the full list of sales here. We’ve also got the scoop on several awesome deals to come and will be updating the page as new sales go live, so make sure you check back on Monday!

Pink suede jacket.
Photo: The Dreslyn

Abercrombie & Fitch: The teen retailer has surprisingly good stuff for grown-ups too, including jeans that are all $39 until September 4th. Everything else is 40% off through September 5th. Start with the jackets — like this classic trench, now $96, and this super-cute bomber, now $72 — and the loungewear, which is just as soft and comfy (and sexy) as when you lived in it in high school.

ThirdLove: The bra-and-underwear brand has a special Labor Day weekend sale going on right now with 20% off select styles. That brings both the Lace Balconette Bra and the Perfect Contour Plunge Bra down to $60, and the Lace Full Coverage Bra down to $54. That’s still on the pricey side, but they are insanely comfortable.

Rebdolls: The best Labor Day weekend sales are the ones that give you sitewide discounts so that you can buy the new, full-price stuff you’re excited about for fall. Plus-size site Rebdolls is offering 20% off sitewide with code SUMMERSALE20; use it on stuff like these paper bag-waist palazzo pants, now $39.99, and this off-shoulder jumpsuit, now $36.

Steven Alan: Everything at Steven Alan is 50% off through Monday with code SUMMER. There are a bunch of cute summery tops, but we’d suggest going with items you can wear all fall and next spring and summer, like this maroon-and-navy striped princess-sleeve silk-cotton blend dress, now $163, or this textured French cotton “chore jacket,” now $186.

Commando: Who wants to spend money on tights? Literally no one. That’s why you should stock up now through September 5th, when you can take $20 off your purchase of $100 with code MOREFORLESS100. Need some help spending that much? Commando also makes truly excellent seamless underwear and pretty bralettes; these lace-sided thongs for $22 are our favorite.

The Dreslyn: Here’s another sitewide sale for 20% off. The Dreslyn stocks lots of gorgeous pieces by independent and avant garde designers. If you’re feeling splurge-y, go for something like this baby pink suede jacket by Rejina Pyo. More practical shoppers should check out the new fall shoes by Intentionally Blank. All the boots are great, including these stiletto Chelsea boots, $172 after the discount, and these slip-on scuba boots, $148 after the discount.

Oak + Fort: Select items are marked down up to 70% off this weekend at Oak + Fort; that includes some good transition pieces, like this red blouse for $70.40, these black work pants for $68.60, and this three-quarter sleeve cream knit sweater for $54.40.

Dear Frances: If you need shoes or boots, definitely click through the Dear Frances sale. There’s a 20% off discount sitewide, which means you can actually grab some fall stuff at a good markdown. The Spirit Boots are $440 (from $550), and the Float Boots are $396 (from $495). Not cheap, but certainly less expensive.

Opening Ceremony: Sale merch at Opening Ceremony is an extra 20% off right now, which brings the total discount up to 80% off. There’s a decent amount of stuff to sift through, so we recommend scrolling through by category, with dresses, shoes, and accessories being some of the best.

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In the News
August Jobs Report Shows Continued Shrinkage for Retail Industry

August’s job report, released this morning, shows that fewer jobs were added last month than expected — 156,000 instead of the predicted 180,000 — but while some industries, like manufacturing, showed signs of growth, retail suffered further losses. After adding 3,000 jobs in July, department stores cut 600 in August. Meanwhile, apparel and accessories specialty stores got rid of an additional 2,400 jobs last month after eliminating 10,000 in July.

As we’ve reported all year, 2017 has been tough for retail, which has been riddled with mass layoffs and store closures. Even though as many as half of the country’s retail jobs could be at stake, the massive industry often gets overlooked in conversations about employment in America. If you’re part of the retail workforce, we’d love to hear about your recent experiences. Drop us a note at —Stephanie Talmadge, newsletter editor

After a Storm, Self-Care Becomes Community Care
Hurricane Harvey donations.

It was August 1992. My family had just settled into one of the few remaining rooms in a north Arkansas motel following a mandatory evacuation notice. Hurricane Andrew would go on to destroy Iberia Parish, where I was from — obliterating 407 homes, ripping the roofs off of two emergency shelters, and causing $325 million worth of property and crop damage.

But at 7 years old, I didn’t know that. I just knew that what had started out as a fun, impromptu road trip suddenly wasn’t so fun. Over the next three days, I would sit on the floor of our temporary home and search my face in the wall mirror, trying to untangle the volatile mix of fatigue, terror, and uneasiness welling up inside me. I didn’t know what the adults were talking about in hushed tones — quietly making phone calls, closely watching the news — but I knew that it was serious.

But in those early moments, all I could think about was how much I wanted to take a bubble bath. I just wanted to sink down into the scorching water, up to my ears in bubbles, and think about what it’d be like to meet Jordan Knight. I looked over at the Barbies I had not-so-stealthily shoved in my small gray duffel bag when my mama had rushed off down the hall to get another me another pair of socks. “Just the necessities. And hurry!” she had reminded me. I mentally cursed them with the only bad word I was allowed to say: “Darn.” I spent the rest of those three days being irrationally infuriated that I hadn’t snuck in a glorious pink bottle of Mr. Bubbles instead of stupid Birthday Surprise Barbie.

That was my first real memory of what it means to be a resident of the Gulf Coast. In exchange for Saturday nights at the Atchafalaya Club listening to Geno Delafose and the grease-soaked paper bag of hot cracklins before a Mardi Gras parade, you accept that you live mere feet above sea level. In exchange for total strangers taking care of you like family and more festivals than you could ever attend, you deal with the constant threat of evacuation. Most Gulf Coast residents are well-seasoned evacuees. In my 32 years, I’ve been through 15+ storms, historical floods, and even a chemical explosion. Currently, I'm lucky to be a few hours away from the devastation of Harvey, so I’m gathering diapers, cleaning supplies, and toiletries for the people I love in the eye of the storm, scrolling — like many of you — through social media and messages from friends closer to the damage, trying to coordinate donations.

The truth is, the storms never get easier. There’s always a stomach-hollowing sense of loss and pain. But you do get better at preparing for them. You begin to understand the small comforts — knowing how to feel the slightest bit more human when you’re 300 miles from your home, wondering if your house is under eight feet of water, if your friends are safely evacuated, and if life as you know it will forever be changed.

In times of disaster, self-care becomes much more than the newest buzzword used to sell $80 candles and the latest foaming face mask. Caring for yourself, in the most elemental sense, takes on a role so incredibly critical to your mental and spiritual resilience that it feels anything but selfish. 

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