Thursday, January 12, 2012

The High Heel Index: Does Heel Height Predict the Economy?

We’ve talked about how Michelle Obama fashion choices can influence stock prices, but are high heel heights correlated to the well-being of the economy?

Researchers at I.B.M. used social media to determine that high heel heights are dropping. In fact, the median high of heels mentioned in 2009 was seven inches and fell to two inches in 2011. I.B.M. believes this information suggests that the economy may begin to come back, according to Eric Wilson at the NY Times.

"Usually, in an economic downturn, heels go up and stay up -- as consumers turn to a more flamboyant fashion as a means of fantasy and escape," Trevor Davis, a consumer product expert with IBM's Global Services Unit, in a press release.

Furthermore, according to I.B.M., heel heights have been related to other economic events. The low heeled flapper shoes of the 1920s gave way to high-heeled pumps and platforms during the Great Depression, platforms were revived again during the oil crisis, and in the 1990s low thick heels gave way to stilettos following the dot-com burst.

People who work in fashion agree that flats are a big trend, but are uncertain to this trends ability to reflect the economy, according to Wilson.

The low-heel trend could even show continued economic downturn as some women trade to more comfortable shoes, according to The Huffington Post.

High heel heights are not the first fashion trend to be used to predict the economy. Hemline length and red lipsticks sales have previously been used, according to The Huffington Post.

Do you think high heel heights predict the economy?

I hope everyone has a happy holiday season and new year!

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