What is the Hemline Theory telling us about stock markets?

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Just for a bit of fun …

The length of women’s skirts tells you the way the market is going to go, according to the so-called “hemline theory”.

In the ‘20s and ‘60s hemlines were at a high and so was the stock market. And in the ‘30s and ‘40s the stock market was so low that women were almost tripping on their skirts. The hemline theory was also on the ball in 1987. Miniskirts were all the rage, and the stock market was at a matching high. But then the market quickly crashed in October, right when designers such as Bill Blass decided that miniskirts looked ridiculous. Hemlines dropped and so did the market. Coincidence?


Right now the trend is supershort skirts and stiletto heels. Could this be telling us something about the market ahead?


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17 comments to What is the Hemline Theory telling us about stock markets?

  • Gerold Becker

    This story has legs …..

  • Barbara Christiansen

    Check the pre-fall collections on the Neiman Marcus web site. Relatively few of the skirts are “supershort.” Thus, your premise may be flawed — at least as to the US consumer.

  • Frank Wordick

    We acknowledge that you do try very hard to figure out what the hell is going on in the murky market leaving no stone unturned, but some may wonder whether you are grasping at straws here. Perhaps, my comment is not entirely fair. It is possible to argue that in the 30’s and 40’s times very very hard and money was very very scarce and therefore to be in exclusive fashion, one had to be where most people couldn’t be, namely in the money. Therefore, skirts were long and thus costly. But if material was costly, then how did the poor women afford long skirts? Also, there was no depression in the late 80’s, when the market had a short plunge and mini turned into maxis.

  • Jack

    You’ve obviously been enjoying yourself too much in Southern California!!!!! 🙂

  • Dan Modricker

    You can’t be serious!

    I’ve heard that oats are cheaper when they’ve been through the horse onct. But does that mean we should buy stocks when we see “road apples” on the highway?

    Of course not!

  • Andy

    I hope to see the market make new highs!

  • Matt Taylor

    Correlation does not prove causation, but my theory is that bull markets cause hemlines to go up (not the other way around), so you couldn’t use it as a leading indicator.

    A bull market causes hemlines to rise because the ladies in New York City, London, Paris and other financial centers (which are also fashion centers) see the money starting to be made and want to lure an up and coming young financial wizard (who are still mostly male, I believe) into a long-term contractual relationship (marriage), so they show a little more leg.

    The current facts seem to contradict my theory, since we don’t yet seem to be in a bull market, yet hemlines are indeed short, judging by your picture at the top of this article (and that’s all I have to judge by … I don’t get out much). Maybe the long-legged creatures can smell the bull market coming, in which case you could indeed use it as a leading indicator. BUY, BUY, BUY!

  • Michael

    I think I’ll need to see a few more photos in order to come to a conclusion.

  • hemlines fall after stocks do, because speculators who have gone broke can’t afford to heat their homes and their wives and girlfriends need to wear longskirts to keep warm!

  • You don’t see many womens with skirts, nowadays.
    Too bad. 🙂

  • Vince V

    Two questions:
    Who won the office bet regarding the number of responses this would generate?

    Can I get in on the next bet?

    Good fun!


    Actually hems were relatively short in 1940’s;
    my mother was married in a suit in ’42 with hem just at kneecaps, barely covering. Hemlines were short because little fabric was available for citizens, as most textiles went to arm forces, while in 1930’s style was based on psychological depression and more conservative lifestyle. Clothes had to be good for all
    seasons, not just summer.

  • C Fox

    My husband comment every time he sees a young lady in a short skirt with long hair is “Well she is very confident in the economy”

  • I think when people are struggling to make ends meet, they couldn’t be too bothered with fashion or outer appearances.

    It is human nature to ensure our basic needs are catered for first while extravagant desires are dispelled.

    However, when the market is flush with cash, it is party time.

  • What is the Hemline Theory telling us about stock markets?…

    Just for a bit of fun …

    The length of women’s skirts tells us the way the market is going to go, according to the so-called “hemline theory”. Right now the trend is supershort skirts and stiletto heels. Could this be telling us something about t…

  • We are at an unprecedented time, setting up for a huge mega bull market in alternative energy.

    This is why you need to follow the hemline this time as well.

    We are going higher. A huge rally into year end and for the next 4-8 years!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Get on board and don’t be a sissyboy.

    I am getting super bullish and i think we’ve also found the next Microsoft.

    Have a great day!

  • David

    Theory? Yeah right. It’s easy to figure this one out. When times are great, women want to party like its 1999 and they know where the money train is; in men’s wallets so they know full well what to do, show the legs. When times are bad, (young)men don’t have crap to spend and women dress conservatively. Why? to draw out the “old money” because these guys ALWAYS have money. The longer skirts look conservative and the “lady-like” behavior usually pulls out the older guys who don’t run around like 20-somethings.

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