Fashion and the Economy

Do the rise and fall of the economy and the hemline coincide with each other? In this time of a declining economy some would say that the fall of the economy and the rise of the hemline are connected. Some experts surmise that the connection is for the purpose of saving fabric costs, or that shorter skirts bring cheerful attitudes to an otherwise dismal economy both to the wearer and to the observer – Is the theory true?

Then there are others that would have you decide whether there is any truth to the legend called the "hemline theory," which states that as hemlines fall, so goes the economy and as hemlines rise so rise the stocks? This theory is seen in the economic decline of the 1930s and 1940s with the longer hemlines, while the 1920s and 1960s short skirted fashion trend witnessed economic prosperity. So, as in the age old argument of the chicken and the egg – which comes first – the rise or fall in "fashion" or "funds."

An investment trust company, The Taubman Centers Inc. in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan conducted a survey in 2004 to measure the validity of the hemline theories. At the conclusion of the survey they published the results and stated that the hemline indicator was a "quirky – yet historically accurate – forecasting tool." And further concluded that the "ankle duster" linked to uncertain times, and "cheesecake" linked to financial stability ahead.

Then there are those that do not buy into these theories as stated in the following interview. "I've always heard that hemlines go up during tougher economic times. Do I think it's true? I see no correlation," said Janine Blain, a contemporary market analyst at The Doneger Group's Los Angeles office "It's maybe something from the past. "

It is a well-known fact that the fashion industry starts designing their clothing lines for an upcoming season as much as eight months ahead of time with the mindset that they need to create their designs for the consumer. With a fast changing economy the ability to predict a rise or fall, and base an entire fashion trend on that prediction, would be a risky business. That the economy was in relatively good shape when this present spring design line was being created might challenge these theories.

This season's female shoppers want their fashions to be as versatile as their lifestyles. They want to outfit their wardrobe for play – with the sexier cocktail dress – or for work – with the pencil skirt and a colorful tucked in blouse. In fact, the clothes for the season are fun and flirty short hemlines with bold and daring color pallets – bringing a sense of cheer to an ever declining economic future.

Do the shorter hemlines this season predict a rise in the economic slump that has plagued us – or do we let them make us smile and cheer us up because they are predicting more difficult economic times ahead? You decide whether the theories are based on fact or fashion.