With NY Fashion Week over, perhaps its time to take a look the hemline index, which we last looked at in June.

Here is the math behind the psychology, via Baardwijk & Franses of the Econometric Institute:

“Urban legend has it that the hemline is correlated with the economy. In times of decline, the hemline moves towards the floor (decreases), and when the economy is booming, skirts get shorter and the hemline increases. We collected monthly data on the hemline, for 1921-2009, and evaluate these against the NBER chronology of the economic cycle.

The main finding is that the urban legend holds true but with a time lag of about three years. Hence, the current economic crisis predicts ankle length shirts around 2011 and 2012.”



click for larger charts


Source: Alan Shaw, technical analysis group, Smith Barney via James Bianco


(If anyone has a better version of this graphic, please let me know)

The hemline and the economy: is there any match?
Marjolein van Baardwijk, Philip Hans Franses
Econometric Institute Report 2010-40 June 27 2010


See also:
A Hemline Index, Updated (October 18, 2008)

Category: Humor, Psychology, Technical Analysis

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

10 Responses to “The Hemline Index”

  1. wally says:

    Too bad there is not some inverse correlation to average BMI.

  2. ankle length shirts? Was that a typo for skirts? LOL! I think shirts will be more ‘fitting’.

    If this were true how come women weren’t wearing neck bands or hats only during the inet bubble? ;)

    Barry, I sent you a PPT presentation on the Russian tear drop. I couldn’t post it but it is very intriguing. I hope you find a way to post it or maybe you want to reference it in a post. This is very unknown outside of NY I’ll bet. How about locally there?

  3. Joe Friday says:

    Caught Nanette Lepore over the weekend saying that the trend is “short skirts with lots of details”.

    Runway models are da bomb.

  4. Evoo Kermartin says:

    Tim Gunn for Fed Chairman.

    “Make it work!”

  5. ashpelham2 says:

    Listen, if you need to see how good the economy is, just drive by any number of the local swimming pools here in the deep south. When times are good, bathing beauties are everywhere, wearing very little. During this most recent downturn, there aren’t even aging bald dudes sitting around day-trading at an empty pooldeck. There’s your economic “skin correlation”.

  6. bergsten says:

    One wonders if the lagging correlation has anything to do with the cost of materials.

    Fashion depends on change — perhaps the nature of the change comes down to what manufactures and buyers think they can afford?

  7. ben22 says:

    cool thread BR, thanks. I think fashion colors tend to correlate a little bit better with the market as opposed to design.

  8. donna says:

    In good times, you get by on your looks. In bad times, you better look like you know something and dress professionally. ;^)

  9. donna says:

    Seen the men’s suits everywhere lately, by the way? Same thing.

  10. formerlawyer says:

    This article would have benefitted with some pictures.