The Hemline Indicator Flashes Bearish

The New York Times – A Long, Lean Backlash to the Mini

“There is definitely a movement to a very lengthy look, especially among the young,” said Nevena Borissova, a partner in Curve, a progressive retailer with stores in New York, Los Angeles and Miami. Ms. Borissova favors radically stretched-out skirts and dresses that “drag on the floor, with raw edges, and worn with combat boots,” she said. And as she pointed out, these myriad calf- or ankle-grazing iterations of the milelong skirt bear no relation to “Big Love” or, for that matter, the Summer of Love. There is nothing remotely prim or saccharine about the latest interpretations of this look, with their distinctly urban overtones. Current versions, even the most languid, are likely to be toughened up with a military parka or a biker jacket and thick-soled shoes. A muted, and at times ascetic, successor to the sweet-as-a-bonbon, Hamptons-worthy maxi-dresses that first alighted on downtown streets a couple of summers ago, the new maxis are more Morticia than Ophelia. They are “darker and more sophisticated” than last summer’s flounced beach dresses, said Morgan Yakus, a partner in No.6, a haven for style-setters in downtown Manhattan.


The “Hemline Index” was first developed by technical analyst/economist George Taylor in 1926.  It gained popularity around the 1929 stock market crash.  The theory states that the stock market rises and falls with women’s hemlines.  Below is a famous graphic depicting the stock market and hemlines from 1897 to 1990 constructed by Alan Shaw’s legendary technical analysis group at Smith Barney.

If this theory still holds, the story above is a bearish indicator for the stock market.

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