Friday, September 21, 2007

Making economics sexy

HEMLINES this spring and summer will be a little longer than last year's — hovering somewhere between mid-thigh and the knee. By next winter, they are tipped to fall again — to just below the knee.

I’m not getting into the fashion world here, rather trying to find the sexy aspects of economics. The hemline theory has been around for years and the above quote is from last year’s Australian spring.

Heading into spring now, and an election, it seemed a good time to revisit the theory. The basic idea is that hemlines follow economic conditions; the higher the hemlines the worse off the average household. I guess that’s why it was called the depression.

We don’t want to be accused of voyeurism, but with spring weather settling in I would be remiss to avoid undertaking the necessary research. The results so far would not please the voyeur or the economist.

Around 90% of women in my research area are wearing black slacks or pedal pushers. So that is ankle to mid calf I guess. And the ubiquitous black suggests no-one has found anything darker yet.

Those wearing skirts fall into two categories:

The first, the minis, are being sported by the tweenies and teens, whose economics possibly reflect a quite different set of desires.

The other skirt wearers are opting for lengths from just below the knee to mid calf. Generally these women appear to be office workers.

There are several aspects of this theory that attract me. First and foremost, governments really can’t fiddle the figures here, it is an individual expression. So if anyone can direct me to an area of short hemlines my bank manager would be absolutely delighted.


abi said...

Hmmm... In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of - economics?

reality-based educator said...

You're not going to believe this, cartledge, but I teach two classes of seniors who are looking to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology next year as college students, and somebody sent me a similar article about this story from the WSJ. But all I saw was the hemline stuff, and I could give a shit about that, so I didn't read it. But the WSJ article says that the hemline theory is b.s. - that hemlines actually dropped years before the '29 crash. I'm not sure that the theory is b.s., however. There's always the feeling in the air when the bubble is going to burst, so why wouldn't the collective unconscious begin preparing for the crash a little bit before?

Anyway, had a good laugh that somebody in my professional life sent me an article similar to the one you used (only much more fashion-related.)

Small world!

Cartledge said...

RBE, my brother the candidate has always been fascinated by fashion so it's a natural for him. I recall him talking about this in the 60s.
For my part, it is interesting but not terribly relevant to anything. It is just that the research methodology beats the hell out of my other forms of researching.