The Hemline and The Economy – examining an urban legend

“Urban legend has it that the hemline is correlated with the economy. In times of decline, the hemline moves towards the floor (decreases), and when the economy is booming, skirts get shorter and the hemline increases.”

To test the validity of such a(n) hypothesis, researchers Marjolein van Baardwijk and Full Professor Ph.H.B.F. (Philip Hans) Franses of the Econometric Institute at the Erasmus School of Economics, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, conducted a research project – reporting that :

“Based on the analysis of actual data on the hemline, which goes back to January 1921, we found that the economic cycle leads the hemline with about three years. Supporting the urban legend, we find that poor economic times make the hemlines to decrease, which means that women’s dresses get lower, and that prosperity is correlated with a reduced hemline (more miniskirts). At the same time, and this is new to the available evidence, we find that there is a time lag of around three years. This explains why at present, in an economic downturn, the skirts are short, as this is simply due to the fact that the economy was in a boom about three years ago (2007-2008).”

see: The hemline and the economy: is there any match? Econometric Institute Report, 2010-40.

BONUS The Evolution of the Skirt (author: Harry Julius [1885–1938]) – an animation from 1916 – from which the still above is taken.

Coming soon – Korean cyclical pant lengths.