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Ivanka Trump's Clothing Brand Is Conveniently Exempt From New Tariffs

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Why Mark Zuckerberg Wore a Suit for His Congressional Testimony
Mark Zuckerberg

For once, Mark Zuckerberg looks like what he is: a businessman. Testifying at a joint hearing before two Senate committees about his company’s role in the Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal, the Facebook CEO wore a navy suit, pale blue tie, and crisp white shirt.

Its a big deal for a man whose signature look is deliberately casual hoodies, fitted T-shirts, and jeans and who helped usher in the end of business attire in corporate workplaces.

Zuckerberg’s attire is a reminder that even in 2018, when men want to look like adults, they suit up.

Zuckerberg’s hoodies, T-shirts, and jeans are part of larger trends in how men dress

The casual tech bro look Zuckerberg normally favors has been hugely influential. He’s done for hoodies and T-shirts what Kurt Cobain did for flannel. He’s worn them so much, they’re now inextricably linked to tech culture.

Jeans are now commonplace not only in Silicon Valley businesses but in companies nationwide. The swing from business attire to business casual to plain casual has hit suits hard. According to the market research firm Euromonitor, sales of men’s suits in the US fell sharply in 2017, a trend that it has reported for years.

As suits have gone down, luxury hoodies have become a thing. Kanye West’s Yeezy line includes a selection of hoodies that cost nearly $700. Defending the overpriced sportswear featured in his Yeezy 2 collection, West told Vanity Fair in 2015, “I was so happy to just show so many sweatshirts. It’s as simple as that. I think sweatshirts are the way of the future. ... Sweatshirts are fucking important.”

Zuckerberg’s casual uniform is also part of a larger pattern of powerful men trying to make their lives easier. Wearing essentially the same ensemble day in and day out gives men one less decision to make. During a Facebook town hall in 2014, Zuckerberg said he has the same clothing on repeat because he wants to limit the time he spends on “frivolous” decisions. The following year, then-President Obama made a similar point, explaining that he didn’t want to think about what he was wearing or eating; he typically wore either a blue or gray suit. Scientists have even coined a name to describe this phenomenon: decision fatigue.   

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Ivanka Trump Clothing Will Conveniently Be Exempt From New Tariffs
Ivanka Trump

President Trump’s proposed $100 billion in tariffs on Chinese products will affect, among others, the robotics, information technology, communications, and aerospace industries. Not included: “domestic consumer goods” such toys and clothing, according to a report from ThinkProgress. This is particularly convenient for Ivanka Trump, whose eponymous clothing brand manufactures in China.

The Washington Post notes that US officials used algorithms to calculate tariffs that would cause the “lowest consumer impact” on the US economy, thus exempting toys and clothing. However, American Apparel CEO Rick Helfenbein said that the new tariffs may end up hurting brands that manufacture within the US by increasing costs on the machinery used to make footwear and clothing.

Despite the fact that she no longer holds her role as a vice president in the Trump Organization, Ivanka Trump still makes $1.5 million per year as an owner of the Trump family business, according to the Huffington Post. That she is also a top White House adviser and, obviously, the president’s daughter has raised plenty of ethical red flags; the exemption from Chinese tariffs is only the most recent example. -- Rebecca Jennings

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