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Economic Growth vs Skirt Length - the Hemline Index

Economic Growth vs Skirt Length – the Hemline Index

by Roman on April 3, 2010

In 1926 professor George Taylor from the University of Pennsylvania came up with the hemline index. Although funny at first – it has proven itself well against the test of time.

The Hemline Index

The hemline index stands for professor Taylor’s observation that hemlines on women’s dresses rise along with stock prices. Or in other words – as the economy gets better women get shorter and shorter skirts – topping with the miniskirt. When the economy gets worse they tend to wear longer skirts.

If we look at the economy in the 20th century we see that the Hemline Index has proven itself as an economic indicator.

1920s -The twenties saw the highest stock prices in the early 19 hundreds until 1929. It was also a time of very shirt skirts.

1930s – The Great Depression era meant the worst economic conditions in America during the last 100 years. It also saw very long conservative skirts that went all the way to the ground.

1940s and 1950s – The forties and fifties was a time where the people and economy were recovering from World War II. While most people had a job they had sacrificed a lot for the war. This was mirrored in the skirt lengths of the women – they typically wore skirts that were about knee hight or a bit lower.

1960s – It was the time of huge economic growth that culminated with the invention of the mini skirt in 1965.

1970s – The seventies are best known by the Oil Crisis of 1973 and the stock market crash in 1974. Fashion wise it also meant that wearing mini skirts was out.

1980s – It was a time of economic prosperity which brought shorter skirts and also power suits for women. The stock market crash known as Black Monday in 1987 also brought with it the lengthening of hemlines.

1990s – The first half of the nineties suffered greatly from the shock of the stock market crash in 1987 but during the second half of the 90s the economy started seeing extraordinary growth. It was accompanied by the retro mini skirts that quickly became fashionable.

2000s – 2008 saw the start of the biggest economic crisis seen since the Great Depression. Fashion experts agree that since longer and bohemian style skirts have started to make a comeback.

Want to know how the economy is doing? Just check out what your wife is wearing 😆

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Alex October 6, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Thank you so much. I can’t believe I actually found information about this. Someone asked if it was myth or reality that the hemlines drop during economical hardships, and I had no idea if I could find an answer.
I put “hemlines and the economic crisis” into Google search without hoping for any results and this blog showed up. Really grateful.

Roman October 6, 2010 at 4:57 pm

You are welcome Alex!

sumit upadhyay November 18, 2010 at 3:14 pm

i m nt an economist,but such type surveys are just like the octact theory of elements of chemistry,which is then and there rejected.
if a country have no money to spent on clothes and they are unable to make long skirt,then according to this that nude country is develped.
in same way the people of pre historical age have no sense of clothing,so they are more developed than Mr Taylor,,,,,,,,,,,,
I feel so,,……………..

Randalf December 10, 2010 at 1:43 am

Well you forgot the cost of waxing (hair removal) , the shorter the skirt the more number of time you have to wax !! : P

Chelsea Armetta May 9, 2011 at 10:32 am

So my question is why? Why are these things correlated?

Boris J. Doraster August 4, 2011 at 2:26 am

Err.. I’d have to say that women’s skirts are quite short today, so this dosen’t ring true.

elvis August 11, 2011 at 3:25 pm

This is the answer to the recession. It is all in front of our noses. And, we cannot see. Let us get everyone wearing mini skirts on a daily basis.

Caroline September 18, 2011 at 9:44 am

I did the same as Alex and so found this article very interesting. I wasn’t too fond of the last line though; as amusing as it was, are all people who take an interest in the economy men?

In response to the question of why this correlation exists, I would theorize that prosperity encourages feelings of freedom and enjoyment, whilst austerity encourages conservative behaviour.

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