It's been a tough year for everybody, and we could all probably use a good reason to smile.
Here are three: Fashion week has a new participant in Lowe's (yes, that Lowe's), the pumpkin spice latte is back and there's finally an article of clothing that matches the constant state of anxiety caused by 2020.
This, and more, in this week's retail therapy.
America's next top home improvement model
It's word association time. Peanut butter: Jelly. Fries: Ketchup. Fashion: Lowe's…? It may have taken multiple read-throughs to ensure the accuracy of this report, but yes, Lowe's is teaming up with designers for New York Fashion Week.
The home improvement retailer is making the most of a year that's been terrible for everyone else in retail by partnering with the likes of Jason Wu, Rebecca Minkoff and Christian Siriano to style and livestream each designer's outdoor show. Confused yet? So is the rest of the world, but at this point in the year, we're willing to take this over another sign of the impending apocalypse.
According to a Lowe's press release, designers will choose certain Lowe's products that reflect their definition of home, and those will be used as the backdrop for their shows. Given how long all of us have been working from home — and doing everything else from home — we can only imagine this means New York Fashion Week this year will reflect how tired we all are of our confined living quarters.
But no! The home improvement retailer actually has a much more uplifting message in mind: "these straight-off-the-runway curations… have been available at Lowe's all along, demonstrating that beautiful and thoughtfully designed spaces can be both accessible and affordable."
Let's pumpkin spice this pandemic
Cutting straight to the news here: The Pumpkin Spice Latte is back at Starbucks, as of Tuesday, according to Eater. As the official start to fall (equinox be damned), this can mean only one thing: We have all successfully made it through another season in one of the worst years in recorded history.
It also means we finally all have something to meaningfully argue about. Need a go-to conversation starter when the only thing that's changed recently is the local school's decision to hold school virtually or in-person? Bring up the pumpkin spice latte. What about when someone asks what's new and, of course, there is nothing new? Again: the pumpkin spice latte.
Not ashamed to admit I’ve already purchased a pumpkin spice latte— bre (@brepatrick6) August 27, 2020
first pumpkin spice latte of the season..... it is now fall and i will be wearing jeans— adam (@adam_houston01) August 25, 2020
People are so divided on how they feel about the iconic drink (yes, it is iconic), and about how the rest of us should feel about the iconic drink, that there are entire articles dedicated to the topic. There is also a frankly astonishing range of products inspired by the pumpkin spice latte, which can be purchased either to make August feel more like fall or to proudly tout where one's allegiance falls on the pumpkin spice fan spectrum.
A select few to start us all off down this rabbit hole: Pumpkin Chai Poo-Pourri (cause who doesn't love walking into a bathroom and smelling something they'd like to drink), Pumpkin Spice Latte Self-Adhesive Shapes (??) and a Pumpkin Spice Latte Single Wick Candle from Bath & Body Works.
Never felt the weight of the world on your shoulders? Now you can
When rain clouds are gathering and the family dog is scared of thunderstorms, there's only one product we have all been trained to bring out: the thunder shirt. It hugs the dog to calm it down and helps the dog relax while the storm rages on outside.
We're not really here to talk about dogs, but in this analogy, the approaching thunderstorm is the back half of 2020 and we are each the dog that's been reduced to shaking levels of anxiety. The good news? Gravity Blanket saw this one coming and has now launched a weighted robe to ensure we can deal with the stress of this year and remain functioning adults.
What does it mean to have a weighted robe? According to the retailer, which partnered with Modernist on the product, it means putting a three-pound weight around customers' necks. While that may sound more like manual labor than relaxation, it in fact "helps harness the power of deep touch pressure stimulation to promote stress reduction and relaxation."
Honestly, at this point, what have we got to lose? Throwing another $130 at a product that may or may not fill the void of near-constant isolation can't hurt, right?
Have Santa's elves caught cabin fever?
Like it or not, the holidays are almost upon us. The announcements about retailers staying closed for Thanksgiving are already coming in, and everyone sitting at home is calculating how many hours of Hallmark movies they can watch before running out of any form of entertainment.
It seems toy retailers are also running low on inspiration — and we can't blame them in a year when hardly any feature films have been released, and even Disney's Mulan has been relegated to a $30 upcharge on Disney+.
Among the must-have toys this year is Moose Toys' Gotta Go Flamingo, which is quite literally a potty trained flamingo that also sings and dances. "Simply feed Sherbet his magical flamingo food and watch his neck wiggle as he gobbles it down. You know when it's time for Sherbet to go because he sings a signature 'Uh Oh, Gotta Go!' jingle and poops into the bowl," the press release reads.
As with anything that sounds annoying at first blush, kids will probably love this toy — and it could also help them learn a valuable skill. But parents might want to consider being stuck in home quarantine through 2021 with only Sherbet's "Uh oh, gotta go" breaking the dead silence before hitting the purchase button on this one.