MEL for DSC Magazine, October 2020

In this month's issue, times are a-changin'.


Mistook your monthly magazine for a pack of One Wipe Charlies and flushed it down the toilet? No worries, here’s the online version!

In this edition:

  1. How the Pandemic Changed Fashion
  2. Understanding All the Seasonal Changes to Your Body
  3. How To Prepare Your Home for Fall
  4. How Supermarket Change Machines Work
  5. How the Pandemic Has Transformed Our Lives
  6. Oh FAQ: How to Take Your Wardrobe From Summer to Fall


To those of you who like everything to stay exactly the same, all the time, earmuffs: Change, you see, is good.

That’s probably a tough message to hear right now, with the coronavirus rendering most aspects of our daily lives unrecognizable. But in this issue, we’re determined to show that some change can be a good thing. Take the seasons, for example: From your body’s perspective, every season brings about some physiological changes — some beneficial, some not so much, but all keeping things, uh, interesting?

We’re also looking at other changes we make this time of year, like getting your wardrobe (and your house) ready for chillier weather. And then there’s that other type of change, as in money, that everyone loves, especially when you can sink it in a supermarket change machine and get an even better, greener kind of money. How do those machines work, anyway? Find out inside!

All we’re trying to say is, with all this change going around, it doesn’t have to all be bad.

1 – That Quarantine Look

Life in isolation has changed everything — even our fashion. We asked celebrity stylist Anastasya Kolomytseva how months indoors have affected the way we dress.

So are masks ‘the new black’, as the old fashion cliche goes?
I think masks will stick around as a style choice, even after a vaccine is (hopefully) found. Look at Asia: Since SARS, bird flu, they’ve made masks work for years. They’ve become just another layer of self expression.

What other ways has style changed because of the pandemic?
Fashion has always shown to be a reflection of the times and this time is no different — just look at how focused the industry is on waist-up style, since that’s how we’ve all been communicating. But right now, people just want to be comfortable and casual. In the future, I think there will be even more of a focus on what’s classic and minimalist. Plus, get ready for a heavy dose of athleisure. Maybe someday we’ll dress up again.

Any advice for folks who at least want to look good around their house?
Take advantage of the sales, stay away from trends, keep things classic and invest in staples. Now is a great time to invest in a good suit and a nice pair of dress shoes: We will come back from this, and you’ll have that wedding or birthday party to go to again, so give back to the economy if you can — you’ll be helping people keep their jobs, and you’ll look good to boot.

2 – Understanding All the Seasonal Changes to Your Body

Like summer more than winter? According to immunologist Kathleen Dass, that makes perfect sense — from a physiological perspective, at least.

What kind of changes do you need to be on the lookout for this fall? Mostly the kind that leads to you getting a bit pudgier around the edges. That’s because, around late summer, our body’s insulin resistance increases, and that, in turn, can lead to increased fat production.

This is the month to be monitoring your mental health more than ever. For some, the increasing lack of sunlight mixed with colder weather in winter can lead to depression or worsening anxiety. More bad news: Our brains take longer to complete simple tasks in the winter.

Finally! Spring is here, and that means your body’s resistance to insulin has started going back to normal, making it easier to lose weight. Unfortunately, if you have seasonal allergies, spring’s when they, ahem, spring into action, which can lead to increased fatigue and decreased sleep.

Speaking of which, prepare to get that sleep back come summer: According to sleep psychologist Charles Schaeffer, longer summer days can wear you out, resulting in a stronger sleep drive. Also, when you go indoors, air conditioning can confuse the body into thinking it’s getting ready for bed (since your body naturally drops a couple of degrees while you sleep), which means summer makes your brain sleepy — no matter where you go.

3 – Get Your House Ready for Fall

Hibernation season is on its way, and it looks like we’ll be spending more time inside our homes than ever before. Might as well make ’em look good.

Seasons Change
“While for summer an interior should feel fresher and lighter, for fall it’s about warming things up,” says Toronto-based designer and interior stylist Arren Williams. “I’d start with switching out toss cushions to textured fabrics as opposed to plain — think velvet. Bring out a great blanket to fold and lay over the arm of your sofa. It’s just the thing to grab as the temperatures drop and you’re bingeing something on TV.” 

Work It
“Look at everything you own with a critical eye,” says Williams. “Does it work? Does it look good? Everything you touch on a daily basis should be the best it can be. Watch a Youtube video and switch out that janky bathroom faucet that always drips and that you never liked anyway. Decor should be a reflection of the homeowner’s personality. The more you can make that happen, the more your home will feel like a sanctuary.” 

Shake It Up
“Take all your cushions off the couch, shake and vacuum them, then flip the cushions before you put everything back. Dust or dump any tchotchkes that are cluttering up surfaces. Less is more. Giving yourself a fresh, clean start for the season is the best, and it’s free.” 

Arren Williams’s home collection is available at Hudson’s Bay.

4 – How Supermarket Change Machines Work

Coin-counters will turn your other kind of change into cold, hard (and most notably, green) cash. But it’ll cost you.

  1. In the U.S., nearly $62 million in loose change slips through our fingers every year — that’s more than 1.5 million tons of quarters lost to couch cushions! It’s no surprise, then, that we’re increasingly living in a cashless society, and why counting coins has become a big business.
  2. Just how big a business? There are more than 20,000 change machines around the world, and the number is increasing every year. That’s enough counting power to process 43 billion coins every year, with a value of $2.7 billion dollars.
  3. Most change machines generally take a hefty 11.9 percent cut — sorry, “service fee.” For every dollar of heavy metal you put in, you get 88 cents back in a voucher, so every $20 gets you $17.60. You can also turn your money into a gift card, and for that, there’s no fee.
  4. What’s the most money anyone’s ever put into a change machine? Some guy in Alabama brought in $13,000 in pennies at one time! Do the math: That’s over a million pennies. 
  5. So how do coin counters work? First they sort out the coins from everything else: Paper clips, pocket lint, gum, foreign coins and fake coins people try to slip into the machines. Once the bins in the machine fill up (they hold up to 500 pounds), a technician is called to swap it out. 
  6. If you’re willing to roll your coins yourself, most banks still take rolled coins, and will give you the paper rolls for free. If you have kids, just ask them to count them and roll them — it’s kind of a game, right?

5 – The Times They Are a-Changin’

In a post-COVID world, what’s going to be different about how we live our lives, and what’ll be like old times? Let’s find out.

Once, maybe a couple of times in a generation, something will happen whose ripple effects spread and spread, changing how we as Americans go about our daily lives in some surprising, long-lasting ways. World War II, for instance, transformed our economy; The Civil Rights Movement revolutionized the politics of race and class; the fall of the Berlin Wall created, well, the easy-going 90s; and September 11th completely changed how we travel.

For better or for worse, the coronavirus pandemic will change how we make our way in the world. But how crazy will these societal changes get? Let’s find out.

In Our Schools
Remember how underfunded our schools and how underpaid our teachers are? Yeah, that’s probably not going to change any time soon, and might even get worse as more and more people send their kids to charter and private schools. But according to the Brookings Institution, one change we’ve made for quarantine that’s almost guaranteed to carry over to a post-vaccine world is the move to online learning. “Things aren’t going to stay online only,” says Margarita Lopez, a high school teacher on the West Side of Chicago, “but as students and teachers become more comfortable with some of the online tools and virtual classrooms while schools are closed, it’s likely that a lot of what’s working about online learning will become permanent supplements to in-person teaching.” 

In Our Restaurants
Those tough reservations aren’t going to get any easier to secure — in fact, predicts industry trade Nation’s Restaurant News, they’ll likely only get harder and harder to get once a vaccine is found, since there will be fewer restaurants to choose from, as foodservice enters a period of massive upheaval. “We’re definitely going to lose a good amount of restaurants, and the expensive ones that do remain will only become less accessible,” warns Drew Coleman, an executive chef in Los Angeles. “But even beyond that, I think that dining as we know it, especially fine dining, will no longer exist in the same way as it did before COVID-19.”

Everyone attuned to more casual dining is likely to see some changes as well. “Industry-wide, we’re probably going to see changes to the entire restaurant service model,” says Coleman. “Labor is a massive expense in any restaurant, and even before COVID, the restaurants I worked at were already experimenting with the idea of ‘fast-casual,’ i.e., less staff, more grab-and-go. The pandemic essentially has made that switch not only easier, but necessary.”

On Public Transportation
Here’s the good news: It’s highly likely that jam-packed subway cars and buses during rush hour are a thing of the past. Here’s the bad news: According to management consulting firm McKinsey and Company, that’s likely because it’s going to be hard to convince people to stand and sit in close proximity to one another, even long after a vaccine is found. And with declining ridership comes declining revenues, threatening public transportation’s very existence.

“Even after a vaccine is found, public transportation will likely use some sort of a graded system for safety,” says microbiologist, immunologist and author of The Germ Files, Jason Tetro, aka, the Germ Guy. “Masks will likely still be required [if only to promote the idea of safety].” Not only that, but in order to reassure people that trains and buses are safe to use, while also encouraging social distancing, it’s reasonable to expect transportation agencies will implement restrictions on how many riders can be on one vehicle at any given time, and that means more lines. Sorry, folks — if you thought your train ride each morning took a long time before, get ready for some serious commute times moving forward.

The New Normal
If you’re sitting there saying to yourself, “Well all this sounds a bit reactionary, doesn’t it?” you’re not wrong. But according to Tetro, the reaction is warranted. “For decades, we’ve believed we’ve had the upper hand against infectious diseases thanks to treatments like antibiotics, and protective measures such as vaccines. But this pandemic has illustrated how fragile we are and how quickly a small virus can dismantle societies. We took nature for granted and now we’re being forced to back up our luxuries and liberties. It’s not necessarily a change from normal, but rather a retreat from what might be considered a rather unsustainable abnormal.”

If all that sounds scary, look on the bright side: Change does have a way of bringing about serious amounts of innovation. So although our future may be different from what we were expecting, it could bring a whole bunch of positive changes, too.

6 – Oh FAQ: How to Take Your Wardrobe From Summer to Fall

Just like we’ve learned from watching competitive baking shows, it’s all about the layers.

1. Like an Onion. “A man doesn’t need a whole separate wardrobe for the shoulder season,” says stylist and personal shopper Talia Brown Thall. When the temperatures start to dip, there’s no reason to ditch all your go-to clothes from the past few months. Get more use out of your summer favorites by layering T-shirts under button-downs, blazers or lightweight jackets. And don’t put away your sun hat just yet: UV rays don’t go on vacation in October.

2. Be Strategic. While the concept of layering seems simple enough, it’s not about throwing on every single item in your closet at once. “Make sure the layers don’t cut you off in an unflattering way or add unwanted bulk,” advises Thall. “Belts can also help with shape. A tucked-in t-shirt with a nice belt and bomber jacket will look put-together when everything fits right.” 

3. Color and Texture. Navy shorts and a white t-shirt are a classic summer combo,” says Thall. To make the outfit more fall-appropriate, just add a cozy sweater in warm, earthy tones. You can also incorporate hints of fall into any outfit that includes tactile fabrics like tweed, velvet and corduroy.

4. Feet First. Though some folks seem to believe that sandals are appropriate year-round footwear (we’re looking at you, hippies), the rest of us should have already packed up our flip flops, slides and leather mandals. “I think Labor Day is a great cut-off,” says Thall.

5. Shorts Story. What else should be packed away until next summer? According to Thall, anything in a light-colored linen needs to go into storage, as do pants and blazers in overtly summer-y fabrics. But — perhaps surprisingly — you can keep wearing shorts while the weather’s still nice, as long as they’re paired with a long-sleeved shirt or a blazer. Get those legs out while you can.

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