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Shankland, Xiong Win in Tiebreaks to Reach FIDE World Cup Halfway Point

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Shankland, Xiong Win in Tiebreaks to Reach FIDE World Cup Halfway Point

Image Caption

GM Sam Shankland at the 2021 FIDE World Cup. // photo Anastasiia Korolkova, FIDE

Two American Grandmasters remain in the 2021 FIDE World Cup, the International Chess Federation’s global knockout bracket that enters its halfway Fourth Round in Sochi, Russia.

GMs Sam Shankland and Jeffery Xiong, the World’s Nos. 31 and 33 ranked Grandmasters according to FIDE, advanced as part of the bracket’s remaining 32 players after both Americans were forced to perform in rapid tiebreakers at the end of the third round on Tuesday.

Xiong had been tasked to win-on-demand even earlier than that, since losing the first of his two-game classical match against Swedish World No. 78 GM Nils Grandelius last Sunday. But the Dallas GM leveled the match in the second game, scoring as White against a Grunfeld after catching Grandelius in a greedy pawn grab.

Black had found equality even with Xiong’s c-passer left on the board, but it was the physical act of capture with 28. … Bxc3? that proved to be the predatory mistake. Here in the second classical game, Xiong forced both a mating attack, and a pair of rapid tiebreakers on Tuesday.

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Xiong, Jeffery – Grandelius, Nils after 28…Bxc3.

[pgn][Event "FIDE World Cup 2021"] [Site "Krasnaya Polyana RUS"] [Date "2021.07.19"] [Round "3.2"] [White "Xiong, Jeffery"] [Black "Grandelius, Nils"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D85"] [WhiteElo "2709"] [BlackElo "2661"] [Annotator "Tactical Analysis 4.1 (5s)"] [PlyCount "63"] [EventDate "2021.07.12"] {[%evp 16,63,46,4,71,42,41,5,5,-1,3,5,26,25,29,29,37,37,36,37,37,8,41,43,43,4, 48,40,44,48,48,25,23,23,25,22,24,24,22,0,6,-25,180,192,1529,1637,1571,1593, 29987,29985]} 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. c4 Bg7 4. Nc3 d5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. e4 Nxc3 7. bxc3 c5 8. Rb1 O-O 9. Be2 (9. Be3 $14) 9... Bg4 {D85: Exchange Grünfeld: Unusual White 7th moves and lines with 7 Nf3.} (9... Nc6 $11) 10. Rxb7 cxd4 11. Nxd4 $146 ({Predecessor:} 11. cxd4 Bxf3 12. Bxf3 Bxd4 13. O-O Nc6 14. Qa4 Qc8 15. Rb3 Qe6 16. e5 Rac8 17. Bxc6 Qxc6 18. Qxd4 Qxc1 19. Qxa7 Rfd8 20. Qb7 Rc2 21. Rb1 Qa3 22. e6 Rxa2 23. exf7+ Kxf7 {1/2-1/2 (78) Foord,D (2045)-Humphreys, J (2066) England 2011}) 11... Qc8 {And now ...Bxe2 would win.The position is equal.} 12. Rb3 ({Much worse is} 12. Rxe7 Qxc3+ 13. Kf1 Qb4 $17) 12... Bxe2 13. Nxe2 ({But not} 13. Kxe2 Rd8 $17) 13... Nc6 14. O-O Rd8 15. Qc2 Ne5 16. h3 Qc6 17. Bg5 Rd7 18. Rd1 h6 19. Rxd7 Qxd7 20. Bh4 Rd8 (20... Nc4 $11) 21. Nd4 $14 Nc6 22. Nxc6 Qxc6 23. Bxe7 Re8 24. Bh4 Rxe4 25. Bg3 Re1+ 26. Kh2 Qc4 $1 { [%cal Rc4f1] Threatens to win with ...Qf1.} 27. f3 Ra1 {...Qf1 is the strong threat.} 28. Qf2 Bxc3 $2 {This costs Black the game.} (28... h5 $11 {and Black has nothing to worry.}) 29. Qe3 $18 Bd4 (29... Qf1 30. Bf2 Bg7) 30. Rb8+ Kh7 { [#]} 31. Be5 $1 {[%mdl 512]} Bxe5+ (31... Rh1+ 32. Kxh1) 32. Qxe5 {[%csl Gb8] [%cal Re5h8] Weighted Error Value: White=0.13/Black=0.57} 1-0 [/pgn]

“I got absolutely nothing out of the opening, it was equal for about 30 moves or so, just at the last second I think [Grandelius] kind of relaxed,” Xiong said about the second classical game in a FIDE interview. “Because basically just one more precise move and we probably make a draw, so I felt very, very lucky to still be in the match.”

Xiong scored again in the clutch in the first of two rapid 25+10 tiebreakers, winning as Black in a Caro-Kann. The early middlegame nearly saw threefold repetition, before Xiong refreshened the game with 24. … Na5. In a Queen-and-minor piece endgame, Xiong trapped Grandelius’ bishop for two pawns with 47. … g5, and later found the timely 54. … a4! to slip by White’s structure. Grandelius’ decision to trade queens was a mistake in time pressure, allowing Xiong’s multi-functional bishop to flex the final position. In the second rapid tiebreaker, the Dallas GM offered a draw from a winning position to ice the match.

Image Caption

GM Jeffery Xiong in the third round of the 2021 FIDE World Cup in Sochi, Russia. // photo Eric Rosen, FIDE

[pgn][Event "FIDE World Cup 2021"] [Site "Krasnaya Polyana RUS"] [Date "2021.07.20"] [Round "3.3"] [White "Grandelius, Nils"] [Black "Xiong, Jeffery"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B10"] [WhiteElo "2661"] [BlackElo "2709"] [Annotator "Tactical Analysis 4.1 (5s)"] [PlyCount "122"] [EventDate "2021.07.12"] {[%evp 9,122,17,31,21,30,38,24,20,36,0,0,-14,-17,-17,-17,-31,-17,-18,-16,-24, -11,-51,-8,-8,-16,-32,-22,-41,-23,-26,3,3,3,-14,-20,-22,12,-1,-8,-25,-22,-26, 12,-21,-31,-20,-13,-34,-7,-58,-60,-60,28,26,38,21,33,33,33,7,18,7,39,39,34,16, 37,0,0,0,0,-12,-8,-19,-18,-29,-21,-49,-46,-46,-49,-49,-49,-49,-40,-81,-81,-80, -81,-81,-81,-80,-80,-80,-82,-101,-99,-101,-99,-104,-96,-168,-168,-632,-618, -635,-597,-1325,-1316,-1788,-29940,-1317,-29966,-1809,-29970]} 1. e4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. d4 Nf6 5. Ne5 g6 6. Bb5+ {B13: Caro-Kann: Exchange Variation and Panov-Botvinnik Attack.} Nbd7 {[%cal Bb8d7,Bd7f6,Bf6e4][%mdl 32]} 7. O-O Bg7 8. Re1 {White has an edge.} O-O 9. Nf3 Ne4 10. c3 Ndf6 11. Nbd2 $146 ({Predecessor:} 11. Bf4 Qb6 12. Qb3 Ng4 13. Re2 e5 14. Nxe5 Nxe5 15. dxe5 Bg4 16. Be3 Nc5 17. Bxc5 Qxc5 {0-1 (50) Lorparizangeneh,S (2747)-Barp,A (2586) Chess.com INT 2020}) 11... Nd6 12. Bf1 b6 13. Ne5 Bb7 14. Ndf3 Nfe4 15. Nd3 Rc8 (15... a5 $15) 16. Nfe5 $11 Nf5 17. g3 e6 18. Bg2 Re8 19. Ng4 f6 20. Ne3 Nfd6 21. Nf1 Nc4 22. Ne3 Ncd6 23. Nf1 Nc4 24. Ne3 Na5 25. Ng4 Qd7 26. f3 Nd6 27. Bh6 Bh8 28. Bf4 (28. Rc1 {is interesting.} Nf7 29. b3 Nc6 30. Bf4 h5 31. Nh6+) 28... Nf7 29. Nh6+ ({White should try} 29. Qe2 $11) 29... Nxh6 $15 30. Bxh6 Nc4 (30... e5 $1 $15) 31. Bh3 $1 $11 Nd6 32. Qd2 Qf7 33. Bf4 Nf5 34. Bxf5 exf5 35. h4 a5 36. Rxe8+ Rxe8 37. Re1 Ba6 38. Kf2 Bg7 39. Rxe8+ Qxe8 40. Qe3 (40. Bd6 { keeps more tension.} Qd7 41. Ba3 h6 42. Nf4 g5 43. Ng6) 40... Qd7 41. b3 Bf8 42. a4 Kf7 43. Ke1 h6 {...g5 is the strong threat.} 44. Qe2 Qc6 45. Kd2 b5 46. axb5 Bxb5 47. Qe3 (47. Qd1 $15) 47... g5 $1 $17 48. hxg5 hxg5 49. Bxg5 Bxd3 50. Qxd3 fxg5 51. Qxf5+ {[%mdl 64] [#] Double Attack} Ke8 52. Kc2 Be7 53. f4 gxf4 54. gxf4 Kd8 55. c4 {[#]} (55. Kb2 $17) 55... a4 $1 $19 {[%cal Ra4b3,Ba5a4, Ba4a3][%mdl 32] Hoping for ...axb3+.} ({Resist} 55... dxc4 56. Qxa5+ Kd7 57. Qf5+ Kd8 58. Qa5+ Kc8 59. bxc4 $15) 56. Qxd5+ $2 (56. c5) 56... Qxd5 57. cxd5 { KB-KP} a3 58. Kb1 Bd6 59. Ka2 Ke7 60. f5 Kf6 61. b4 Bxb4 {Weighted Error Value: White=0.34/Black=0.09} 0-1 [/pgn]

After a built-in tournament rest day on Wednesday, Xiong moves on for a match with Indian World No. 22 GM Santosh Gujrathi Vidit, who squeaked in to the fourth round after a marathon tiebreaker session with compatriot GM Baskaran Adhiban that went deep through two 5+3 blitz tiebreakers on Tuesday.

Shankland nearly had one foot out the door on Tuesday, after drawing both classical games with third-round opponent Ukraine GM Alexander Areshchenko. As Black in the first rapid tiebreaker, a time control that the California GM is the first to admit plays to his disadvantage, Shankland had lost control of a Najdorf Sicilian and was running out of space and time when his Russian opponent left open a tactical shot that brought two of Shankland’s passers home.

The White queen’s capture at 54. Qxf8 pulls her out of bounds, allowing 54. … Qd5+ and the d-pawn queens. The nice intermezzo 56. … Qd2+ allowed Black continued protection of the passed f-pawn, and Shankland’s monarch team works in perfect tandem to see the new queen to the board.

[pgn][Event "FIDE World Cup 2021"] [Site "Krasnaya Polyana RUS"] [Date "2021.07.20"] [Round "3.4"] [White "Areshchenko, Alexander"] [Black "Shankland, Sam"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B90"] [WhiteElo "2687"] [BlackElo "2709"] [Annotator "Tactical Analysis 4.1 (5s)"] [PlyCount "144"] [EventDate "2021.07.12"] {[%evp 23,144,10,31,12,12,12,12,7,10,7,13,15,6,0,1,1,0,-14,-12,-47,-23,-23,-18, -18,-21,-25,-8,-19,-19,-21,-1,-9,0,0,0,0,0,-4,-1,-24,-21,-23,-20,-29,-17,-17, -22,-31,0,0,42,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,15,13,30,23,29,29,22,29,34,25,40,30,30,43,42,9,21, 21,21,21,71,0,160,17,17,-12,-12,-90,-61,-88,-104,-197,-201,-203,-204,-196,-195, -192,-199,-194,-194,-295,-292,-292,-247,-266,-274,-243,-242,-268,-86,-383,-314, -1010,-1082,-1003,-1024,-989,-782,-1304,-1305,-1282,-1319,-1319,-1320]} 1. e4 { Ftacnik,L} c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. f3 Be7 9. Qd2 O-O 10. O-O-O Nbd7 11. g4 b5 12. g5 Nh5 {outshines the older 12...b4.} 13. Kb1 {B90: Sicilian Najdorf: Unusual White 6th moves, 6 Be3 Ng4 and 6 Be3 e5.} Nb6 14. Na5 {Hoping for Nc6.} Rc8 15. Nd5 {The position is equal.} Nxd5 16. exd5 Bxd5 17. Qxd5 Qxa5 18. c4 Nf4 19. Bxf4 exf4 20. cxb5 axb5 21. Qxb5 $146 ({Predecessor:} 21. h4 Rc5 22. Qb3 d5 23. Be2 Rd8 24. Rd4 Qb6 25. Rhd1 h6 26. Rxf4 hxg5 27. hxg5 Bxg5 28. Rb4 Rdc8 29. a3 Rc1+ 30. Ka2 Qf2 31. Bxb5 Rxd1 {1/2-1/2 (31) Leko,P (2679)-Giri,A (2762) Heraklion 2017 CBM 182 [Ftacnik,L]}) 21... Qa7 22. h4 Rc5 23. Qa6 Qc7 24. Bd3 Rb8 25. Rc1 d5 26. Rxc5 Bxc5 27. Rc1 {[#]} Qe5 $1 {[%csl Gb8][%cal Re5b2]} 28. Bb5 d4 29. Bd3 g6 30. Ka1 Bf8 31. Qc4 Qe3 32. h5 {White wants to play hxg6.} Rb4 33. Qc2 {[%cal Rh5g6]} gxh5 34. Bxh7+ Kg7 $1 {Threatens to win with ...Rb5.} 35. Bd3 h4 36. g6 h3 (36... fxg6 $11 37. Qc7+ Be7) 37. gxf7 (37. Rh1 $1 $14 Rb6 38. gxf7 (38. Rxh3 Qg1+ 39. Qb1 Qxb1+ 40. Kxb1 fxg6 $16)) 37... Rb6 $1 $11 38. Rh1 Rh6 39. a3 {Black must now prevent Ka2.} h2 40. Qg2+ ({Not} 40. Rxh2 $2 Qg1+ 41. Ka2 Rxh2 $19) 40... Kf6 41. Be4 Kxf7 42. Ka2 d3 $1 43. Rxh2 Rxh2 44. Qxh2 {Qh5+ is the strong threat.} d2 45. Qh5+ Ke7 46. Qe5+ Kd8 47. Qd5+ Ke7 $1 48. Qe5+ Kd8 49. Qb8+ ({Much less strong is} 49. Qd5+ $6 Ke7 $16) 49... Ke7 50. Qc7+ Kf6 (50... Ke6 $11 51. Qc8+ Ke7 52. Qc7+ Ke6 53. Qc8+ Ke7 54. Qc7+) 51. Bc2 (51. Qd8+ $1 $16 Ke6 52. Qe8+ Be7 53. Qg8+ Kd7 54. Qd5+ Bd6 55. Qf7+ Kd8 56. Bc6) 51... Kg5 $2 (51... Qe6+ $11 52. b3 Qd6 53. Qxd6+ Bxd6) 52. Qf7 (52. Qc6 $1 $16 {[%cal Rc6g6] Qg6+ would kill now.} Kh4 53. Qf6+ {[%mdl 64] Double Attack} Kg3 54. Qxf8) 52... Qxf3 53. Qf5+ Kh4 54. Qxf8 (54. Bd1 $11 Qxd1 55. Qxf4+ Qg4 56. Qxd2 ) 54... Qd5+ $17 55. b3 $1 d1=Q 56. Bxd1 (56. Qf6+ $17 Kh3 57. Bxd1 Qd2+ 58. Qb2 Qxd1 59. Qc3+ f3 60. a4) 56... Qd2+ $19 57. Kb1 Qxd1+ {[%mdl 4160] Endgame Double Attack. KQ-KQ} 58. Kb2 Qd2+ {[%mdl 1024] Black has strong compensation.} 59. Kb1 Qd3+ 60. Kb2 f3 61. Qh6+ (61. Qf4+ $142 Kh3 62. a4) 61... Kg3 62. Qg5+ Kf2 63. a4 Ke1 64. Qg3+ Ke2 65. Qg4 {[#]} Kd2 $2 (65... Qe3 $1 $19 {is more deadly. Strongly threatening ...Ke1.} 66. a5 Qd2+ 67. Kb1 Qd5) 66. Qf4+ $2 { [%mdl 8192] This costs White the game.} (66. Qg5+ $17 {was the only defense.} Ke2 67. Qg4) 66... Kd1 67. a5 $2 {[#]} (67. Ka3 Qc3 68. Qg4) 67... Qe2+ $1 { Black is clearly winning.} 68. Ka3 f2 69. Qd4+ Kc2 {( -> ...Qe7+)} 70. Qc5+ Kb1 71. Qf5+ Qc2 72. Qf6 Qc1+ {[%mdl 32768] Weighted Error Value: White=0.15/ Black=0.13. Loss on time!?} 1-0 [/pgn]

On paper, Shankland was set for an all-US Chess meeting with compatriot GM Fabiano Caruana in the fourth round, though the World No. 2 fell as the biggest name among several top-seed upsets in the third round. Caruana lost his match by dropping the second classical game with the White pieces against World No. 124 and Uzbekhistan No. 1 GM Rinat Jumabayev.

Image Caption

GM Fabiano Caruana was eliminated in the third round of the 2021 FIDE World Cup in Sochi, Russia. // photo Eric Rosen, FIDE

Caruana lost more than control of a Queens Gambit Declined with the World Cup exit; when FIDE updates its rankings in August, Caruana will be under a 2800 rating he had maintained since March 2018, and out of the World No. 2 spot held since that June.

[pgn][Event "FIDE World Cup 2021"] [Site "Krasnaya Polyana RUS"] [Date "2021.07.19"] [Round "3.2"] [White "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Black "Jumabayev, Rinat"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D36"] [WhiteElo "2806"] [BlackElo "2637"] [Annotator "Tactical Analysis 4.1 (5s)"] [PlyCount "116"] [EventDate "2021.07.12"] {[%evp 23,116,33,33,33,44,44,49,21,42,14,55,55,49,47,62,45,57,35,56,49,66,56, 66,55,60,55,69,27,70,-20,-3,-37,-58,-58,-54,-50,-58,-66,-63,-67,-51,-54,138, 122,138,122,135,132,128,128,138,86,86,64,64,0,0,0,0,-199,-197,-181,-162,-241, -243,-163,-213,-258,-266,-254,-254,-239,-246,-282,-286,-283,-281,-293,-300, -300,-287,-279,-279,-283,-282,-317,-290,-372,-375,-1238,-29907,-1240,-1240, -29971,-29974]} 1. c4 e6 2. Nc3 d5 3. d4 Nf6 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bg5 c6 6. Qc2 Be7 7. e3 Nbd7 8. Bd3 Nh5 9. Bxe7 Qxe7 10. Nge2 g6 11. O-O O-O 12. Rae1 Ndf6 13. Nc1 {D36: Queen's Gambit Declined: Exchange Variation: Main line (5 Bg5 c6 6 Qc2).} Be6 $5 {[%mdl 4] A promising side line.} 14. f3 b6 15. Qf2 {White is slightly better.} c5 16. Qh4 $146 ({Predecessor:} 16. g4 Ng7 17. N1e2 Rad8 18. Nf4 cxd4 19. exd4 Qd6 20. Qd2 Qb4 21. Nfe2 h5 22. h3 {1-0 (44) Real de Azua,E (2441)-Valerga,D (2482) Buenos Aires 2015}) 16... Qd8 (16... c4 $11) 17. g4 Ng7 18. N1e2 Rb8 19. a4 c4 20. Bc2 a6 21. Nf4 b5 22. axb5 axb5 23. b4 cxb3 24. Bxb3 b4 25. Nce2 (25. Na4 $14) 25... Bc8 (25... Bd7 $11 {should be considered.}) 26. Ng3 (26. Ra1 $14) 26... Ba6 $11 27. g5 Bxf1 28. Rxf1 Nfe8 29. Nxd5 Rb5 $1 { [%cal Rb5d5]} 30. Qe4 Qxg5 31. f4 Qd8 32. f5 Nf6 $2 (32... Nd6 $15 {stays ahead.} 33. Qg2 Ndxf5 34. Rxf5 (34. Nxf5 $2 gxf5 35. Rxf5 Kh8 $17) 34... Nxf5 35. Nxf5 Kh8) 33. Nxf6+ $16 Qxf6 34. fxg6 Qxg6 {[#]} 35. Bxf7+ $1 {[%mdl 512]} Qxf7 36. Rxf7 Rxf7 {[#]} 37. Qd3 (37. Qc2 $142 $1 {[%cal Rc2c8]} Rb6 38. Qb3) 37... Rg5 38. Kg2 Nf5 $1 39. e4 (39. d5 $14 h6 40. d6) 39... Nh4+ $11 40. Kh3 Ng6 {[%cal Rg6f4] aiming for ...Nf4+.} 41. Qc4 $2 {[#] White is now going downhill.} (41. Qd2 $1 $11 h6 42. Nf5 (42. Qxb4 h5 $17)) 41... h5 $1 $19 { ( -> ...Nf4+)} 42. Kg2 (42. Qxb4 $2 {gets mated.} Nf4+ 43. Kh4 Rg4#) 42... h4 { [%mdl 64] Strongly threatening ...Kg7. Pin} 43. Kh3 (43. Qc8+ {keeps fighting.} Kh7 44. Qe8) 43... hxg3 44. hxg3 Kg7 {Threatens to win with ...Rf3.} 45. Qxb4 Rf3 46. Qb7+ Kh6 47. Qb8 Re3 48. d5 Rxe4 49. d6 {Black must now prevent d7.} Rd4 50. Qb2 Rxd6 51. Qc3 Rdd5 52. Qe3 Ra5 53. Kg2 Rae5 54. Qd4 Rd5 55. Qe3 {[#] } Rd3 $3 {[%mdl 512]} 56. Qe1 (56. Qc1) 56... Nf4+ 57. Kf2 Rgxg3 {[%csl Gg3] [%cal Rd3f3]} 58. Qe4 Rg2+ {Weighted Error Value: White=0.30/Black=0.12} 0-1 [/pgn]
Round 3 Results

GM Sam Shankland, 2709 vs. Ukraine GM Alexander Areshchenko, 2.5-1.5
GM Jeffery Xiong, 2709 vs. Sweden GM Nils Grandelius, 2.5-1.5
Kazakhstan GM Rinat Jumabayev def. GM Fabiano Caruana, 1.5-0.5
Poland GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda def. GM Sam Sevian, 1.5-0.5
Russia GM Vladimir Fedoseev def. GM Timur Gaeyev, 1.5-0.5

Women’s World Cup

Georgia GM Nana Dzagnidze def. IM Carissa Yip, 3-1

Image Caption

IM Carissa Yip won a classical game against Georgia GM Nana Dzagnidze, but eventually lost both rapid tiebreakers in round 3 of the 2021 FIDE Women’s World Cup. // photo Eric Rosen, FIDE

American Round 4 Matches in the 2021 FIDE World Cup

GM Sam Shankland, 2709 vs. Kazakhstan GM Rinat Jumabayev, 2637
GM Jeffery XiongVfL Bochum vs. 1. FC Union Berlin Indian GM Santosh Gujrathi Vidit, 2726

Each round in the FIDE World Cup is scheduled across three days, played as a two-game match that alternates white and black pieces over the first two days. Each match game is played with a classical time control, using 90 minutes on the clock plus an additional 30 minutes after 40 moves, with a 30-second per-move increment. If needed, the third day is used for tiebreaker games that decrease in time control until one player breaks through, beginning with two rapid 25-minute, 10-second increment games; then followed by two rapid 10-minute, 10-second increment games; two blitz 5-minute, 3-second increment games, and then finally forcing a winner with sudden death Armageddon.

Games begin every day at 8:00 a.m. eastern, with full rest days scheduled before round 4 on Wednesday, July 21, and before round 7 on Saturday, July 31. For complete information on the FIDE World Cup 2021 and the Women’s World Cup, visit the official website.


FIDE World Cup 2021 Quick Links

Official Website with Live Broadcast

World Cup Bracket and Results

Women’s World Cup Bracket and Results

Schedule

Live games on Chess.com

Live games on Chess24.com

Fashion

The truth about fast fashion: can you tell how ethical your clothing is by its price?

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What is the true cost of a Zara hoodie? In April 2019, David Hachfeld of the Swiss NGO Public Eye, along with a team of researchers and the Clean Clothes Campaign, attempted to find out. They chose to analyse a black, oversized top from Zara’s flagship Join Life sustainability line, which was printed with lyrics made famous by Aretha Franklin: “R-E-S-P-E-C-T: find out what it means to me”. It was an apt choice, because the idea was to work out whether any respect had been paid to the workers involved in the garment’s production, and how much of the hoodie’s average retail price, €26.66 (£22.70), went into their pockets.

This was no simple assignment. It took several people six months, involved badgering Zara’s parent company, Inditex, over email, slowly getting limited information in return, and interviewing dozens of sources on the ground in Izmir, Turkey, where the garment was made. The researchers analysed financial results and trading data, and consulted with experts in pricing and production. It was, Hachfeld says on the phone, with dry understatement, “quite a huge project”.

Their research suggested that the biggest chunk of the hoodie’s retail price – an estimated €10.26 – went back into Zara, to cover retail space and staff wages. The next biggest slice, after VAT at €4.44, was profit for Inditex/Zara, at €4.20. Their research suggested that the textile factory in Izmir received just €1.53 for cutting the material, sewing, packing and attaching the labels, with €1.10 of that being paid to the garment workers for the 30-minute job of putting the hoodie together. The report concluded that workers could not have received anything like a living wage, which the Clean Clothes Campaign defined, at the time the report was released, as a gross hourly wage of €6.19.

When the research was covered by the media at the time, Zara said the report was “based on erroneous premises and inaccurate reporting”, that the €7.76 sourcing price was wrong and that the workers were “paid more than the amounts mentioned in Public Eye’s report”. But at the time and when I contacted Zara for this article, the company declined to set out in greater detail where the research was inaccurate.

Workers in a small garment factory in Istanbul
Workers in a small garment factory in Istanbul. Photograph: NurPhoto/Getty Images

What is clear is that trying to find out the true production cost of a garment is a tortuous and potentially fruitless process – even when assessing a major high street retailer’s flagship “sustainability” line.

Hachfeld points out that Zara is by no means uniquely opaque. It is doing more than many clothing brands and has long-term commitments in place to work towards living wages. “They are launching initiatives and consultations with trade unions. But the question remains: when will they deliver on it?” he says. Vanishingly few retailers guarantee living wages across their vast, complex supply chains. According to the not-for-profit group Fashion Revolution, only two of the world’s 250 largest fashion brands (OVS and Patagonia) disclose how many of their workers are paid a living wage – despite the kind of resources that make billionaires of founders. Forbes estimates that Zara’s founder, Amancio Ortega, is worth $77bn (£55bn) and that H&M’s founder, Stefan Persson, is worth $21.3bn; the Sunday Times puts the wealth of Boohoo’s co-founder, Mahmud Kamani, at £1.4bn.

Throughout fashion, the numbers just don’t add up. High-street clothing has been getting cheaper and cheaper for decades. A major reason why, according to Gordon Renouf, the CEO of the fashion ethics comparison app Good on You, is that so many western brands have “moved from onshore production 40 years ago to larger offshore production”. Often, the countries they have chosen have “much lower wage costs, weaker labour movements and laxer environmental regulations”. Of course, we know all this, but we have also become accustomed to reaping the benefits. Our perception of what clothing should cost – and how much of it we need – has shifted.

In 1970, for example, the average British household spent 7% of its annual income on clothing. This had fallen to 5.9% by 2020. Even though we are spending less proportionally, we tend to own more clothes. According to the UN, the average consumer buys 60% more pieces of clothing – with half the lifespan – than they did 15 years ago. Meanwhile, fashion is getting cheaper: super-fast brands such as Shein (which sells tie-dye crop tops for £1.49) and Alibaba (vest tops for $2.20), have boomed online, making high-street brands look slow-moving and expensive by comparison.

But the correlation between price and ethics is knotty, to say the least. The conversation about sustainable fashion tends to be dominated by expensive designer brands: at Stella McCartney, for example, a wool-cotton jumper costs £925; at Another Tomorrow, each $520 sustainable viscose carbon-offset scarf neck blouse features a QR code in the label that outlines every stage of its “provenance journey”.

On the high street, many who proudly opt out of shopping at Primark or Boohoo for ethical reasons may be unaware that most reassuringly mid-priced brands don’t guarantee workers living wages or produce clothing without using environmentally harmful materials. A garment’s price is often more about aspiration and customer expectation than the cost of production. Hachfeld points out that the Zara hoodie was priced higher in Switzerland (CHF 45.90; €39.57), where Zara is positioned as a mid-range brand, than in Spain (€25.95), where it is perceived as more mainstream and affordable.

Another Tomorrow scar-neck blouse.
‘Provenance journey’ … Another Tomorrow scarf neck blouse.

Online, debates about the price of clothing can get heated. The sustainable-fashion writer Aja Barber, for example, uses the phrase “exploitation prices” to refer to very cheap clothes, such as the 8p bikini offered by the Boohoo brand Pretty Little Thing last autumn. “Either the company or the garment worker is taking the hit, and most likely it’s not the company, because that wouldn’t be a profitable business model,” she says.

Barber has a personal threshold in mind when she buys an item. “Any time a dress is under £50, you really need to break down the labour on it,” she says. “Think about what you get paid hourly – think, could a person make this dress in three hours?” She doesn’t base this calculation on local wages in the global south, either, which are so much lower “because of years of colonialism and oppression”. She buys new clothes infrequently and tries to avoid polyester, which is made with fossil fuels and generally used in garments to make them cheaper.

Barber gets annoyed by the accusations of snobbery that ripple through social media when anyone criticises super-cheap brands. Largely, she says, these comments come from middle-class people “who want to participate in the system and not feel bad about it”. In her view, fast fashion is propped up not by those with very low disposable incomes, but by middle-class overconsumption.

The only way to tell if a garment has been ethically produced is by combing through the details on the manufacturer’s website (although many brands give little or no information) and checking out its rating on Good on You, which compares fashion brands on the basis of their impact on the planet, people and animals. Even among brands that have launched with sustainability as their USP, greenwashing is rife. Renouf warns against those that talk vaguely about being “natural” and “fair”, or bang on about recycled packaging, without giving details about, say, the materials they use or whether they engage with unions in their factories.

For the fashion retailer Sam Mabley, the idea that fashion can be ethical only if it is expensive is a myth. Mabley runs a sustainable fashion store in Bristol; he thought it was a shame that he was selling so many ethical T-shirts at around the £30 price point. Usually, he says, such T-shirts are created in small batches, by “cool indie brands who do printed designs – a lot of the work is in the design”. He decided to invert that business model, ramping up the scale in order to get bigger discounts from suppliers and creating plain, organic cotton, ethically produced Ts in black and white for £7.99. With just a month of social media promotion, he secured 4,000 orders.

A model wears a Yes Friends T-shirt by Sam Mabley
‘Buying power’ … a Yes Friends T-shirt by Sam Mabley.

He believes it would be fairly easy for fast-fashion brands to use their buying power to “drive change for millions of workers around the world” and guarantee their factories paid living wages, without drastically affecting their margins. He is not alone in this view: Jenny Hulme, the head of buying at the sustainable fashion mainstay People Tree, believes ethical production is necessary and possible in every part of the market. “If you order in big volumes, it does reduce price – if a company really wants to improve, it can,” she says.

The reality of high-street clothes shopping is still very far from this ideal. Apart from a few “sustainable” lines produced by the big fast-fashion brands – which I am loath to recommend, because of so many accusations of greenwashing – it is almost impossible to find new, ethical clothing at rock-bottom prices, because the business models that have enabled clothing to get this cheap rely on inexpensive, environmentally damaging fabrics and very low wages.

That may leave anyone wanting to dress ethically on a high-street purse feeling out of options, although Renouf points out that buying better is possible at every budget. That is why, he says, Good on You aims to “provide ratings for as many brands as possible, rather than simply promoting the most sustainable brands”. You could, for example, move from an ultra-rapid fashion brand to a more engaged high-street fast-fashion brand, which might not cost much more, but still could constitute progress.

Buying fewer, but better-quality, items might save you money overall and is the most consistent advice you will hear from fashion campaigners. “Buy the best quality that you can afford, perhaps in end-of-season sales or by buying a thick jumper in the middle of summer to wear the next winter,” says Hulme.

Stepping out of the trend cycle, and avoiding brands that trade on planned obsolescence, is another avenue to explore. For example, Patrick Grant, a judge on the BBC’s The Great British Sewing Bee, explains that his Community Clothing brand aims to give shoppers more bang for their buck by stocking basics rather than continually designing new collections (it also does without retail space and marketing). Working to slimmer margins means he can invest in good fabric, but keep prices fairly low: his £49 hoodies are made from 470g 100% loopback cotton, a thicker, more durable fabric than you might find for a similar price on the high street.

A blazer from ethical brand Lora Gene
A blazer from the ethical brand Lora Gene. Photograph: Lora Gene

For those who can afford mid-high street prices, researching small, sustainable brands might glean results. A quick look at the Zara website today shows silk dresses selling for as much as £199, with plenty of others at £49.99, while H&M-owned &OtherStories sells blazers for about £120; Barber points out that at these prices, shoppers could switch to ethical brands including Lora Gene, for which she has designed a collection, and Ninety Percent. (There is a dress I like the look of for £64 in the Ninety Percent sale; a mustard Lora Gene blazer is £139.)

If those prices are out of reach, swapping clothes, shopping secondhand, repairing and rethinking what you already have, and occasionally renting for special occasions can all be cheaper – even free – alternatives.

Voting with your wallet will only go so far, however, and won’t be possible for many people who are struggling, as the number of people in poverty in the UK soars to 15 million. Questioning the magical thinking of rock-bottom prices is not about blaming the consumer. Instead, you could write to MPs and CEOs and demand that they do something about living wages and the environmental cost of fashion. The responsibility lies with brands, and with the government, which should be held to account for a broken system.

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What Is Health at Every Size (HAES)? The Approach Focuses on Health vs. Weight

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What Is Health at Every Size (HAES)? The Approach Focuses on Health vs. Weight
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Whenever we go to the doctor’s office — whether it’s for an annual physical or a sore throat— one of the first things we do is step on a scale. For some of us, it’s a fraught moment: Will the number be higher or lower than last time? How will we feel about that? And folks in larger bodies, especially, may wonder: What will my doctor think about that?

In a paper published in 2014, researchers found that 21% of patients with BMIs in the “overweight” and “obese” ranges felt that their doctor “judged them about their weight” — and as a result, they were significantly less likely to trust their doctor or even to return for follow-up care. And research shows that this lack of trust is valid: Doctors are more likely to be biased against patients with high BMIs, and that this impacts the quality of the medical care they receive.

After analyzing audio recordings of 208 patient encounters by 39 primary care physicians, scientists found that doctors established less emotional rapport with their higher weight patients, according to a study published in a 2013 issue of the journal Obesity. Other studies have found that this lack of rapport makes doctors more likely to deem a higher-weight patient as “noncompliant” or “difficult,” often before the exam has even begun. And for women, gender non-conforming folks, people of color and people with low socioeconomic status, a doctor’s weight bias may intersect with other biases and potentially make the situation worse.

Medical weight stigma can have dire consequences. When patients delay healthcare because they’re worried about discrimination, they miss regular screening exams and are more likely to be much sicker by the time doctors do see them, which is one of the reasons why some people assume everyone in a larger body is unhealthy and observe correlations (but not causations) between higher body weight and chronic health conditions that benefit from good preventative healthcare.

At the same time, provider bias can lead doctors to under-treat or misdiagnose their larger patients in all sorts of ways. Patients in larger bodies with eating disorders tend to struggle longer and be sicker when they finally do get treatment, because doctors can ignore their symptoms — or even praise their disordered eating when it results in weight loss. Weight stigma also causes doctors to overlook problems that aren’t about weight. For example, in May 2018, a Canadian woman named Ellen Maud Bennett died only a few days after receiving a terminal cancer diagnosis; in her obituary, her family wrote that Bennett had sought medical care for her symptoms for years, but only ever received weight loss advice.

Because of this mounting evidence about the health consequences of medical anti-fat bias, some providers are starting to shift their medical practices to what’s known as the “Health at Every Size” approach, the purpose of which is to take the focus off a person’s weight, and instead look more holistically at their overall health. Of course, many doctors are still using scales and prescribing weight loss. But the Health at Every Size movement can be a model for health and wellness that you can adopt for yourself, too.


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While only a fifth of the 600 respondents in a 2012 survey perceived weight-related judgment from PCPs, they were significantly less likely to report high trust in these doctors.


So, what is Health at Every Size?

Most doctors today approach health through what’s known as the “weight-centric” model, where weight is viewed as one of, if not the, most important marker of health. In the weight-centric model, if the patient is in a larger body, many conditions are treated primarily through the prescription of weight loss. Health at Every Size, commonly known as HAES (pronounced “hays”), is an alternative approach, also sometimes referred to as a “weight-inclusive” model of healthcare.

HAES originated in the fat acceptance movement and was further popularized by Lindo Bacon, Ph.D., a weight science research and associate nutritionist at the University of California, Davis, who wrote the book Health At Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight in 2010 and hosts the HAES Community website. “Health at Every Size is the new peace movement,” writes Bacon. “It is an inclusive movement, recognizing that our social characteristics such as our size, race, national origin, sexuality, gender, disability status and other attributes, are assets and acknowledges and challenges the structural and systemic forces that impinge on living well. It also supports people of all sizes in adopting healthy behaviors.” (If you’re interested, more information about the history and philosophy of HAES is available from the Association for Size Diversity and Health.)

HAES-informed practitioners do not routinely weigh patients, or use weight to determine how healthy a person is. Instead, they look at other biomarkers, like blood pressure and cholesterol levels, to assess physiological health. And they consider how various social, economic and environmental factors in a person’s life impact their ability to pursue health. Translation: Instead of assuming you’re lazy or uninformed if you aren’t exercising or eating vegetables, a HAES-aligned doctor will ask about your schedule, responsibilities and priorities, to see what kind of barriers you face to adopting a regular workout routine. And they’ll take into consideration whether or not you live near a grocery store, have time to cook, or can otherwise easily access healthier food.

This doesn’t mean a HAES provider won’t ever encourage you to be more active or change your eating habits; it means they’ll only recommend changes that are attainable and realistic for you. And, most crucially, they won’t be telling you to do these things to lose weight. In the HAES model, weight loss is never a goal of treatment because your body is never viewed as a problem to be solved. You have the right to pursue health in the body you have, rather than waiting for that body to change in order to be deemed healthy.

But isn’t it unhealthy to be fat?

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not inherently unhealthy to be fat. Research shows that the relationship between weight and health is much less clear-cut than we’re often told. Weight may be a correlating factor in health conditions like diabetes and heart disease, but scientists haven’t been able to prove that a high body weight causes such diseases. In some cases it may contribute, or it may be simply another symptom of a different root cause. (Consider how smoking can cause both lung cancer and yellow teeth — but nobody assumes that yellow teeth cause lung cancer.)

In fact, weighing more can actually protect you against certain health problems, including osteoporosis and some kinds of cancer. Heart surgery patients with higher BMIs also tend to have better survival rates than their thinner counterparts. The fact that a high body weight actually helps you survive major illness could explain why overweight and low-obese BMIs have the overall lowest risk of dying compared to other weight categories, according to data first published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2005. In short, it is absolutely possible to be fat and fit.

Even if you live in a larger body and do have health conditions often assumed to be weight-linked, there is good evidence that you can treat those problems and improve your health without pursuing weight loss. In a 2012 GFN of almost 12,000 adults, researchers found that lifestyle habits were a better predictor of mortality than BMI because regardless of their weight class, people lived longer when they practiced healthy habits like not smoking, drinking alcohol in moderation, eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily and exercising 12 or more times per month.

That’s good news because despite how often doctors prescribe it, we don’t have a safe and durable way for most people to lose significant amounts of weight. That’s because our bodies are programmed to fight weight loss, for our own good. According to an evidence review of common commercial weight loss protocols first published in 2007, and later updated in 2013: People lose some weight in the first nine to 12 months of any diet, but over the next two to five years, they gain back all but an average of 2.1 pounds. And dieting and “weight cycling” in this way can increase your risk for disordered eating and other health problems.


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In a University of South Carolina study, all of the men and women followed over the course of 170 months benefited from the adoption of healthy habits, no matter their size.

How do I practice HAES — and how do I get my doctor on board?

Practicing Health at Every Size will look different for everyone, because that’s part of its beauty: You get to decide your own health priorities and can focus on the goals that are accessible and realistic for your life, rather than following a doctor’s “one size fits all” approach to health. But there is one universal tenet: Your weight is no longer part of the conversation. That might mean that you ditch your scale, stop dieting and exercising for weight loss, start to explore intuitive eating and joyful movement — or all of the above.

But while there is growing awareness of HAES in the medical community, it is not the default approach in most healthcare offices. To find doctors or other practitioners in your area who identify as HAES-aligned, you can start by checking the HAES provider directory. But if not, it may be possible to have a productive conversation with your current doctor about why you’d like to take the focus off your weight. One simple way to set this boundary is to decline to be weighed at the start of the visit.

You may worry that the doctor’s office won’t allow you to skip the routine weigh-in, but you have a right to refuse to be weighed, says Dana Sturtevent, R.D., a dietitian and co-founder of Be Nourished, a nonprofit organization in Portland, Oregon, which offers workshops, retreats and e-courses for healthcare providers on how to offer trauma-informed and weight-inclusive care. “This can be a very real and potentially vulnerable step towards self-care,” she says. If your doctor objects, you can ask: “How will this information be used?” There are times when a weight is medically necessary, such as when it’s needed to determine the correct dosing of certain medication. If that’s the case, you can ask to be weighed with your back turned to the scale so you can’t see the number. But if you’re told it’s routine or that they just need to write it down for insurance purposes, you can ask that they write “patient declined” instead.

It can also help to give your doctor a heads up that you would prefer not to discuss weight or weight loss at your appointment. If you feel anxious about bringing this up in the exam room, you can download this letter, created by HAES providers Louise Metz, MD., and Anna Lutz, R.D., to send ahead or give to the nurse who takes your vitals at the start of the appointment. Dr. Metz has also collaborated with health coaches Ragen Chastain and Tiana Dodson to create the HAES Health Sheets Library, which contains downloadable fact sheets on how to treat conditions commonly linked to weight from a HAES perspective.

If your doctor persists in a weight-focused approach to your care, remember that you have the right to switch providers. But more importantly: “Remember that you are not required to be a certain weight in order to be worth of love, respect, belonging or decent medical care,” says Sturtevent. “Your body is your body.”

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9 Amazon Fashion Brands You Need to Be Shopping

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9 Amazon Fashion Brands You Need to Be Shopping

You’re already well-acquainted with Amazon as your shopping preference for everything from household products to books, tech accessories to groceries. But since 2017 one of the world’s largest retail marketplaces has made a pointed effort to expand past their traditional stock. In less than four years, Amazon has introduced dozens of in-house fashion brands, making their mark on the style world in the process. (And with free speedy shipping on most Amazon Prime items, there’s never been an easier way to do a spot of last-minute shopping).

We’ve gathered the nine standout Amazon fashion brands you need to know below. Whether you’re looking to refresh your underwear drawer, update your closet with some trend-focused finds, or simply add a few wardrobe essentials, the mega-retailer is literally your one-stop destination.

Core 10

What it is: High-quality workout-wear with tons of amazing reviews

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If you’re looking for affordable activewear that performs just as well as brands three times the price, Core 10 is your answer (it comes in extended sizing as well). Sports bras, leggings, shorts, hoodies, and more—it’s got all your workout needs covered.

Highlights include a ’90s-fantastic collaboration with Reebok launched earlier this summer and a “Build your own” legging option. Shoppers can customize their perfect pair with three lengths and three waistband styles, resulting in one shopper saying that they’re the “best leggings [she’s] tried. Hands down.”

Wild Meadow

What it is: Basics with a ’90s feel that all cost less than $30

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Launched this spring, Wild Meadow brings that easy-breezy youthful ’90s vibe and all styles are offered up to a size XXL. The best part? Not a single item costs more than $30, which means you should stock up—ASAP.

In the market for a tie-dye cami dress? A tie-front cropped tee? Still hunting for that perfect slip dress that will take you from day to night with a simple shoe swap? Wild Meadow has you covered with all that and more.

Amazon Essentials

What it is: Non-basic basics that are budget-friendly

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The Amazon Essentials brand includes food, household items—and wardrobe basics. Essentials, yes, but they’re anything but boring. Expect to find everything from floral t-shirt dresses to cozy fleeces, yoga leggings to bathing suits.

It’s affordable—prices are pretty much all under $50, with most under $25—and available in plus sizes. An important-to-know factor that makes this label stand out is how many maternity options there are, should you be in the market. In short, you can curate your entire wardrobe virtually no matter your size, budget, or stage of life.

Goodthreads

What it is: Trend-driven closet essentials

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Goodthreads started as a menswear-only Amazon brand but quickly expanded into the womenswear market. This line has a lot of wardrobe essentials, like button-down shirts, chinos, and sundresses, but they’re a bit more fashion-focused than some of Amazon’s other basics go-tos (like Amazon Essentials).

Here, you’ll find cinched-waist midi dresses, tops with subtly ruffled sleeves, and colorfully striped button-downs. The biggest draw, though, is the denim, which is sold in six different silhouettes, showcasing an impressive number of length and wash options. The size range for Goodthreads is XS-XXL on most pieces.

There is

What it is: Everyday underwear and lingerie, plus great swim options

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Amazon’s own lingerie brand offers everything from underwire bras to slinky slips and lace-trimmed thongs. If you’re looking for underwear or sleepwear of any kind, this is your brand.

For casual everyday wear, Mae offers cotton briefs and bras, lacy bralettes, and future go-to t-shirt bras to name a few. If you’re looking for more of a special lingerie moment, consider their wide selection of sexy, flirty sets and separates. The brand has expanded into swim, shapewear, and pajamas, too.

Daily Ritual

What it is: Comfortable basics that go up to 7X

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Daily Ritual is your go-to for comfortable options that look presentable enough for stepping out with friends or running errands. The brand is known for its selection of casual essentials that are anything but basic, and most items are made of a super soft cotton jersey or fleece.

There’s a bit of everything, including puffer jackets for when temps get chilly, but the majority of the pieces focus on classic cotton tees, joggers, and the like. An impressive amount is offered in plus sizes up to 7X, providing real universal appeal. For the shopper who loves to dress simply, stay comfortable, and look put-together, this is the Amazon fashion brand for you.

The Drop

What it is: Limited-edition collections co-created with some of today’s biggest social stars

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Built on the concept of curated, limited-edition capsule collections that are only promised to be available for a quick 30 hours, The Drop is Amazon’s most coveted line. Each collab is designed and curated by a rotating list of bloggers and influencers uniquely catering to their individual style at affordable prices—it’s either pieces they want for their own wardrobe or have developed a signature look around.

Past influencers to participate include Charlotte Groeneveld of The Fashion Guitar, Leonie Hanne of Ohh Couture, Quigley Goode of Officially Quigley, and more. Depending on the influencer, The Drop could include everything from wrap dresses to faux leather pants; teddy bear shearling coats or shackets. You have 30 hours to order originally, but some styles (like the below) make a reappearance.

Cable Stitch

What it is: Classic knitwear silhouettes, updated

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The name literally says it all: Cable Stitch is the Amazon brand to go to if you love a good knitwear moment. Cardigans, pullovers, dresses…you name it. The range will appeal to minimalists and maximalists alike, with classic solid colors and brightly colored stripes in the mix.

When Amazon creates an entire line centered around knitwear, you know they’re going to go big or go home. You can shop an array of the more unconventional knits that are trending (like side-slit midis and puff-sleeve pullovers) as well as basics. Most pieces retail between $20 and $60, though some outliers will exist from season to season.

The Fix

What it is: Stand-out shoes and bags that can upgrade everything in your closet

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Accessory obsessed? You need to know about The Fix. Specializing in the little pieces that make or break a look, this is your shop for all the trendiest footwear and handbags you’ve been coveting since you first saw them explode on the street style scene.

At The Fix, you can shop heels, flats, sandals, and sneakers in a range of head-turning styles. There are certainly no basics here, with every style boasting at least one special detail that makes them stand out from the rest. Whether that’s an ankle strap or chunky heels covered in velvet, special details let you transform your look by swapping in a new accessory.

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