Clarabella Speaks.

"It is not in the stars to hold our destiny, but in ourselves" - Shakespeare

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Who knew economics could be so interesting?!

You know all these midi and maxi skirts and dresses that we've been embracing (or at least noticing) recently? Well economist George Taylor knew back in 1926 that this would happen. Not even the world's greatest fashion designer could tell you what will be gracing the catwalks almost 90 years in advance, so how was a man who predicted figures instead of dressing them, able to do it? The answer is in his hemline index theory which essentially says that as economic prosperity drops, so do our hemlines. 

When I read an article on this topic recently, I was quite surprised at the link between the two, firstly because I had never made the connection between fashion and the economy before, but also because had I thought about it, I probably would have come up with the reverse theory; I would have thought that during economic hardship women would want to show off their legs to make them feel good, and that it would be cheaper to make shorter skirts because they require less material. However, apparently economic booms bring about an increase in fabric prices and so designers reduce their expense by reducing lengths. Furthermore, when Taylor came up with the theory in the 1920s, during economic booms women wanted raised hemlines to show off their silk stockings. It was when they wanted to hide that they couldn't afford to buy these stockings that hemlines lowered. It is strange to imagine such a society.

Obviously I don't whip out my darling green maxi-dress to hide the fact that I'm not wearing silk stockings, so why has the lower hemline made a come-back this time around? Taylor's theory has been proven but given the mix of mini, midi and maxi, and the varying fabrics and prices we are seeing at the minute I'm thinking that maybe it's more of a coincidence this time that lower hemlines have been resurrected during a recession? Regardless, I'm going to enjoy experimenting, and the plus side is that to get away with midi lengths I need heels so my resolutions are still on track!

Which length will you be embracing?


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