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Northside Social in Clarendon (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

(Updated 12 p.m.) Today (Thursday) marks one month since Russia invaded Ukraine, plunging the country and Arlington’s sister city, Ivano-Frankivsk, into war.

In solidarity with Ukraine, Northside Social (3211 Wilson Blvd) is hosting a fundraiser this weekend, featuring traditional food and beer and live Ukrainian music from D.C.-area ensemble Gerdan.

The fundraiser begins at 3 p.m. on Sunday, and Gerdan will play “original arrangements of traditional Ukrainian folk melodies” from 4-6 p.m., according to a flier.

Northside Social will donate a percentage of proceeds to the International Committee of the Red Cross and World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit founded by local celebrity chef José Andrés that’s currently working to feed Ukrainian refugees and those still in the war-torn country. Proceeds from some wine sales will go to World Central Kitchen, the flyer says.

An Arlington-based glass artist, Maria Milton, will be selling pieces at the fundraiser and donating proceeds to United World Mission. The Arlington Sister City Association will be on-site raising awareness about the war and Ivano-Frankivsk.

“If you’d like to stop by and help support, I think it’s going to be a great event,” Arlington County Board Member Libby Garvey said at the Board meeting on Tuesday. “I know it always feels like we’re doing not much, but I think every little bit helps, and the more awareness builds, the more there’s global pressure to bring this horrible, horrible invasion to a halt.”

Locals can also bring new and gently used coats, as well as new blankets, heavy socks and gloves, to Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street), where a collection bin was set up yesterday (Wednesday).

The Northern Virginia Regional Commission will be sending collected items to relief agencies and churches in Poland “waiting and wanting these goods,” Garvey said.

NVRC requests items be donated no later than April 15.

As the Russia-Ukraine war enters its second month, the U.S. has announced it will accept 100,000 Ukrainian refugees. Today, President Joe Biden is participating in an emergency NATO summit that could lead to more aid for Ukraine and additional sanctions against Russia.

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Officials at the March 2022 Arlington School Board meeting (via APS)

Earlier this month, the Arlington School Board meeting featured some business casual attire on the dais.

That was not well received by the Sun Gazette’s Scott McCaffrey. He took to his editor’s blog to rail against the “sans cravate” look for elected members and other top officials:

This has been festering for a while, but a couple of current members of the Arlington School Board – maskless since last week’s meeting! – are going commando, either without a jacket, without a tie, or without both. Even the superintendent, who makes an obscene amount of money and ought to dress the part, seems to prefer the jacket-and-sweater look, although there may have been a tie hidden underneath.

Some will call the informal look inviting, saying those who expect formality are Luddites and fuddy-duddies. What is that you say from the great beyond, oh sartorially splendid John McLaughlin? “Wrong!” And right you are.

In that earlier incident, Ye Olde Sun Gazette had enough heft in the community that it got the elected official to mend his ways and return to a tie. Not sure our whining about it will make the current elected officials do the same. Nobody seems to care any more about keeping up appearances and maintaining standards. But they should. Sloppiness reflects badly on the School Board, the school system and the community.

Please, fellas, have a little self-respect. This is not Bradenton Beach, Fla., a community I have some knowledge of, where flip-flops and Hawaiian shirts are the norm for men at some meetings. Northern Virginia is supposed to be a little higher up the political food chain.

Officials did not make the same out-of-the-norm sartorial choices at this past weekend’s Arlington County Board meeting — the men on the dais were all wearing suits and ties (though at least one suit jacket came off after a little while).

Many may agree with McCaffrey, but surely some do not. It’s 2022, lots of people are working from their pajamas at home, and perhaps the old ways of dressing should become another pre-pandemic relic, outside of courts, cotillions and the upper echelons of government.

It’s been a decade since Mark Zuckerberg’s hoodie made business headlines and of all the problems we have in the world, tech executives and local elected officials ditching neckties remains pretty low down the list. There is, some may believe, a happy medium between a sea of suits and the State of the Union scene from Idiocracy.

What do you think? Should our top local officials keep up suit-and-tie norms as part of their public service, or can the dress codes be relaxed a bit?

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In something of a holiday tradition, ARLnow has a new gondola-related shirt for all fans of high fashion and aerial lift transportation.

If you thought last year’s Gondola Now! shirt was a bit understated, and if you know that the truth is out there in the search for the perfect cross-Potomac transit system, then this is the shirt for you.

Whether or not you were a fan of a certain 90s sci-fi TV series, you can now let the world know that you want to believe in the power of modern cable transport, even if big government is conspiring to put the kibosh on it.

Sure, most people seem to think the idea of people commuting from Rosslyn to Georgetown (or vice versa) via gondola is a silly fantasy, but only by a slim margin! More people believe in the gondola being worth building (47%) than in aliens flying UFOs around Earth (41%), so there’s that.

Okay, you might be thinking, this is clearly the perfect holiday gift, but it’s Dec. 22. Why roll it out so late? Well, as you probably know, the supply chain of online t-shirt designers was a bit stretched this year, so we dealt with that the best we could. With any luck this can be a new year’s gift to ring in 2022.

Either way, your purchase will help to support ARLnow’s local reporting.

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There wasn’t much of a need to update one’s wardrobe for the first year of the pandemic, with many folks stuck inside and Zoom calls serving as the primary exposure to the outside world.

With people returning to the office, however, and with travel and events ramping back up, that’s starting to change.

After showing promising signs amid the spring vaccination ramp-up, this summer apparel sales in the U.S. started to take off — and that trend is continuing. From a Reuters report last night on the latest earnings at jeansmaker Levi Strauss:

Levi Strauss & Co (LEVI.N) on Wednesday beat third-quarter revenue and profit estimates, boosted by an uptick in demand for jeans from people refreshing their wardrobes as they returned to normal social life following easing pandemic restrictions.

Shares of the jeans maker rose 2% in extended trading after the Dockers brand owner said its board had approved a $200 million share repurchase plan. The company has a market capitalization of $49.49 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

With schools and offices reopening and people even going on vacations, as cases of coronavirus infections trend down, many are splurging on new apparel.

Today we’re wondering how this apparent trend is playing out in Arlington.

Do you find yourself spending more on clothes as the seasons change, offices reopen, and the delta wave recedes? Are you planning to refresh your wardrobe this fall and winter, as the article suggests? Or are you delaying additional clothes purchases until an even wider reopening and return to normal?

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Local women’s clothing store Malena Boutique, a longtime Arlington staple, has opened an online shop to reach more customers.

Store manager Andrea Cecchi said she started developing the online presence when Malena — which has been in business for four decades — had to close its Courthouse storefront last spring during the first wave of COVID-19 shutdowns.

“We’re very excited to offer this convenience to our customers, who can either pick up curbside or have us deliver,” Cecchi said. “Our existing customers already love this new service, and the new clothing lines we’ve added recently are also bringing new customers into the store.”

Cecchi had been considering online sales pre-pandemic to attract new, younger customers. She got to work when she could not keep the boutique open to in-person customers.

“We had no business during the more than three months we were closed, [so] we opened back up offering our customers pickup and delivery service, which evolved into our online store,” Cecchi said.

The store manager said it is hard to gauge the impact COVID-19 had on Malena because the boutique went through another big change six months before. After 40 years of business, Malena moved from Rosslyn Metro Mall to Courthouse in October 2019.

It had to close from March until last summer, Cecchi said.

“We reopened to very little foot traffic, which continues to this day,” she said. “We do still have many repeat customers from our previous location, but traffic to the store has been pretty light.”

The boutique offers a collection of women’s clothing from smaller designers such as Weavz, Parsley and Sage and Lost + Wander. All items that are in-store are also on its new website.

This new option for customers will not affect the physical store’s hours or supplies, Cecchi said.

Malena Boutique is located at 2111 Wilson Blvd and is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.

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Euphoria, a flea market that has drawn huge crowds to Arlington’s normally quiet Barcroft neighborhood, went so viral on the social media app TikTok that it’s now on hold here while its founder figures out how to handle the newfound popularity.

The market was launched by Washington-Lee (now Washington-Liberty) High School graduate Fabricio Gamarra and features vintage sneakers, t-shirts and other carefully-curated items.

For four consecutive months, 20-year-old Gamarra got away with hosting Euphoria, which he describes as a “pop-up vintage market,” with his friend and business partner Chris Claure out of a parking lot on S. Buchanan Street in Barcroft. The market features Gamarra’s own vintage brand, Forbiidden Vintage, along with roughly a dozen local sellers selling everything from high-end streetwear to vintage sunglasses. And between the third and fourth event, he says, Euphoria’s popularity exploded.

“I woke up one morning to my friends texting me to check my phone, and I couldn’t believe it,” Gamarra said. “I thought, ‘Is this really happening?”

As it turns out, a friend of Claure who attended the Sept. 6 flea market posted about it on the popular short-form video app. The video has so far attracted more than 100,000 likes, in addition to thousands of comments like “Hold up Virginia? I’m going right now!” and “Finally something good in the DMV area.”

As of today, the video has more than 360,000 views.

Word caught on by the next Euphoria market, on Oct. 4.  According to Gamarra, the line to enter stretched a mile long and people were lining up to enter all day. The crowd size and increased traffic also attracted the attention of the neighbors. Even though social distancing was in place and face masks were required, Gamarra says the Arlington County Police Department was alerted to the event.

“There are some safety issues we need to make sure are taken care of before we can have another market in Arlington, yeah,” Gamarra said. “We’re talking to the county to figure out what we can do. I’ve lived in Arlington since I was three and I believe it’s a great market to attract people from both Maryland, D.C., and Virginia. I want to make sure these events can continue here.”

A video of the October market, showing off the long lines and the collection of unique clothing, also went viral on TikTok. It has received nearly 40,000 likes since it was posted.

For now, Gamarra says the next market is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 15 in Silver Spring, Maryland, but he hopes to make it back to Arlington soon.

“Fingers are crossed we can do something bigger and better in Arlington, but of course, safety has to be the first priority,” he said.

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The Arlington County Police Department is considering changing up the look of its dress uniform.

The “Class A” uniform — which differs from the standard navy patrol uniform worn by most officers in the field (the patrol uniform is green for K9 handlers) — is due for a change because its heather blue color is “increasingly difficult to obtain” from distributors, ACPD said.

The new options are navy blue and gray. The department is testing out both before reviewing feedback and making a decision.

More from a press release:

The Arlington County Police Department has launched a test and evaluation of new Class A dress uniforms. Members of the public can expect to see select officers wearing dress uniforms in navy blue or gray as they evaluate the fabric, fit, function and durability of these garments. All officers participating in the test and evaluation will be easily identifiable as Arlington County Police Officers as the test uniforms will be adorned with the police department’s patch, officer’s name tag and badge of authority.

The department proposed exploring new uniform options after discovering that unique uniform colors, including our current heather blue shirt and pant stripe, are increasingly difficult to obtain. The new Class A selection is expected to simplify and streamline the distribution of uniforms across the department.

The test and evaluation will occur through March 2020. The department will then review the feedback before selecting and implementing a new Class A uniform by the summer.

Which uniform option do you like best?

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We hope you enjoyed our series of locally-themed t-shirts available for the holiday season.

In case you missed them, check out our Clarendon Cheesecake Riot shirt, Gondola Now! shirt, South Arlington 4 Life shirt, Definitely Not an ARLnow Commenter shirt and Local Is Everything shirt.

Today, we’re going to show you some of the rejected shirt designs — and let you pick one to send to production. Here are the shirts that didn’t make the cut:

ARLnow logo shirt: It seems like kind of a no-brainer to produce a shirt with our logo on it. So we sent the logo to the designer with a note to “make this look cool… be creative!” The resulting design seemed, well, a bit like a t-shirt design from the early aughts. Maybe we’re wrong and it’s actually cool? We could potentially ditch the purple design elements on either side of the logo, if desired.

The Cheesecake Incident 2018: Continuing the theme of designing shirts that reference last year’s Cheesecake Factory incident in Clarendon and niche 1990s bands, we asked our designer to come up with a psychedelic design reminiscent of a String Cheese Incident tour shirt. It’s appropriately weird, but we weren’t sure it was distinctive enough to make the band reference clear.

Keep 23rd St. Weird shirt: We “borrowed” the rallying cry of businesses along the 23rd Street S. Restaurant Row in Crystal City and turned it into a shirt that looks kind of like those “Keep Austin Weird” shirts from Texas. It looks good, but it gave us pause to appear to be supporting any particular policy — in this case, preserving parking spaces for the businesses on a lot not owned by those businesses. Consider this shirt an expression of general support for local businesses on 23rd Street and for retaining some of Arlington’s unique and quirky places.

King of the North (Arlington): We really wanted to make this shirt design work to accompany the South Arlington 4 Life shirt. But after three rounds of revisions with our designers that came back disappointing and not sufficiently Game of Thrones-eque, we gave up. If you select this shirt, we’ll send it back for one last revision to add some color and maybe change the font. We might also make a “Queen of the North (Arlington)” variant.

Which of these designs should we revive and turn into a t-shirt for sale?

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Nothing says “I support local business” like a t-shirt you ordered on Amazon that literally only says “Local.”

The fifth and final* shirt in our 2019 collection has a backstory full of twists and turns.

It started as a shirt that said “Local Is Everything,” our official slogan. The slogan came about when the designer of our website put it in the sketch as placeholder text and we decided we liked it enough to keep it.

The designs for our “Local Is Everything” shirt were decent — and you can order them below, too! — but we questioned whether anyone outside of our office would wear it. We then cut it down to just “Local” and that seemed cool, kind of like a trendy streetwear brand. Kind of.

Anyhow, now we’re offering you this stylish shirt so you, too, can express your general support of all things local.

This shirt will actually benefit local business — ours. We get about 25%, so please order some for the whole family. It looks like you won’t get your shirt before the holidays, so maybe this can be a post-New-Years present instead.

Get the “Local” shirt in the following styles:

You can also order our “Local Is Everything” shirts, which look best in the raglan style, in our opinion, as well as a PopSockets smartphone grip

*Editor’ note: We’re going to show you some of the rejected designs soon and let you vote to turn one of them into an actual shirt for sale.

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Christmas is just a week away and let’s face it, you still need to shop for gifts.

Luckily, ARLnow has a sartorial alternative to lame “ugly holiday sweater”-style shirts. We’ve been rolling out a series of locally-themed shirts and today is the fourth installment of our 2019 holiday collection.

A bit of background: In reader surveys we’ve conducted, we constantly hear about the comments. Most people love our comments section and love to tell us about it. But a vocal minority hate it. They still seem to be reading the comments, curiously, but they tell us they really don’t want to.

For the ARLnow reader in your life who wants to make it clear to the latter group that they are not commenters on the site, we now have the perfect gift. Get the new “Definitely Not an ARLnow Commenter” shirt in the following styles now, in time for Dec. 25:

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The third installment in ARLnow’s 2019 local apparel collection has arrived and it’s the perfect gift for the South Arlington resident in your life who likes geographically specific shirts.

Whether you live in Crystal City, Pentagon City, Shirlington, Fairlington, Green Valley, Glencarlyn, Arlington Mill, Forest Glen, Barcroft, Alcova Heights, Arlington Heights, Penrose, Foxcroft Heights, Arlington View, Columbia Heights, Arlington Forest (the southern portion), Douglas Park, Columbia Forest, Claremont, Long Branch Creek, Arlington Ridge, Aurora Highlands, or in a van down by the river — did we cover all options? — this shirt proudly declares that living below Route 50 is totally cool.

Get your South Arlington 4 Life shirt in any of the following styles:

Two more local shirts are coming next week, just in time for the holidays.

Due to tonight’s fog and crash, this post will have to serve as the weekend discussion. So feel free to discuss anything of local interest in the comments below.

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