Hemlines, Lipstick and Underwear

You guessed wrong if you thought this would be a fashion post.

You guessed right if you recognize these objects as economic indicators.

Since the 1920’s people have been linking social trends to economic indicators. And why not? Surely watching the rise and fall of skirt lengths is less tedious than watching the stock market. And economists seem to be pulling their predictions out from the crevices of their pant seats anyway. Even Allen Greenspan strays from the charts and graphs to analyze men’s underwear purchases. According Greenspan the first thing men will cut back on is underwear purchase. Likewise when men’s underwear sales increase, so does the economy. Greenspan quickly points out that the same theory doesn’t apply to women’s underwear purchases.

The hemline indicator has been proven wrong over time. This myth was first started by economist, George Taylor. He found that skirts got longer as the economy slowed. These days, there’s been talk of a haircut index, with short locks signaling a market drop. Though most of know that shorter style are really more expensive to keep looking neat since they need constant trimming.

The Lipstick theory says that during hard times lipstick sales go up. Revlon reported earlier this year that sales were good. It’s explained that a little lipstick can help lift your spirits without breaking your wallet.

Some other indicators are more like effects rather than affects. History has shown that people are healthier during down times. That’s because they cut down on things that cost too much like drinking, smoking, and driving. But on the flip side attendance at churches and bars goes up.

Another good seller during a slow economy is chocolate. Oh the chocolaty goodness. Hershey had a good 2008.

Oh and the trend watchers say that during slow times deodorant sales are down.

Does something smell around here?

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