Heel Height Times Tweets?



By: Eric Wilson

Published: November 23, 2011

THE 1920s notion of a “hemline index,” in which the economist George Taylor posited that skirt lengths rise and fall in relation to the economy, suggests that fashion is socially determined. In a modern twist, a report about the direction of high heels, issued by I.B.M., proposes that fashion can now be determined through social media.

To promote its software and consulting services, I.B.M. announced that its computer analysis of “billions of social media posts” pointed to a downward trend in heel heights. This was surprising, the company said, because heels usually go up during an economic downturn.

While an intriguing thesis, it bears some fact-checking.

First, I.B.M.’s case: By mapping the most influential participants in online conversations about shoes, the company was then able to eavesdrop on a dozen key bloggers. It found that the median heel heights mentioned on those sites dropped to two inches this year from seven inches in 2009.

But did women really wear seven-inch heels in 2009? Is that physically possible?

Trevor Davis, who led the I.B.M. survey, argued: “The absolute number is not really what is of great interest here. It is the relevant movement.”

There is, indeed, anecdotal evidence of a decline in heel height, but mixed opinions about whether that has anything to do with the economy. Colleen Sherin, the senior fashion director of Saks Fifth Avenue, wasn’t buying it. Yes, flats are going to be big for spring, but so are wedges.

“I know that people like to take an economic read from heel heights, skirt lengths and selling red lipsticks,” she said, “but it is just the cycle of fashion.”

Elizabeth Semmelhack, the senior curator at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, has proposed that heels grow higher in a bad economy, citing the introduction of platforms during the Great Depression and their reappearance during the oil crisis in the 1970s and again during the dot-com bust. But even that was a “casual observation,” not gospel, she said.

Valerie Steele, the chief curator at the Museum at F.I.T., said the evidence does not hold up, even if people are talking about it online.

“You can have absolutely vertiginous heels and, at the same time, sell billions of ballet flats,” Ms. Steele said. “It all goes back to that Mark Twain quote: ‘Lies, damned lies and statistics.’ ”

I found this article interesting. I heard of the skirt lengths moving up and down with the economy, but I didn’t really know about the heel heights or the red lipsticks. I don’t think that this applies to us as much as it might have before. There might have been some cases where it might have followed the trend, but I don’t think it really should. It is cool, that people can forecast trends with the economy, but should we really follow it?


Beauty Myth

Beauty Myth by: Naomi Wolf

After reading Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf, I thought to myself, although I don’t really want to admit it, there are times where I do consider my standards are not met. Although I don’t think that I am obese, I do feel that I do meet the current  body standards, and my family has been teasing  me about gaining a lot of weight. Yes, I am short compared to most of the people, but I never really felt bad because I always knew that there would be and have seen shorter people. But, having to think that I do not “look right” compared to what the “standards” are, seems like another way to bring oneself down. Also, the thought that it is “okay” that I am a certain way because there is someone worse than me. What really defines worse? Why do so many people, men and women, have to go to extreme measures in order to obtain a look that media portrays? The scariest part is, although I know that I don’t have to follow the “standards of beauty”, but I always go back to the big list and note the parts I could work on, such as weight. I think it is okay for me to watch my weight and eat healthy for my health, but not in order to obtain a certain look.


Shopping and Status…

After reading “Point of Purchase” by Sharon Zukin, I realized how people viewed others by how they were dressed and how they are pressured to dress in order to gain a certain status in life. I believe that how people shop is really based on their status in their community, the location that they are in reflects on what they would buy, or wear, and who they are around also contributes to this. A person living in Manhattan wouldn’t really go around shops in sweats, even if they were going to the grocery store, where as a person who lived back home in Maryland, would definitely be comfortable going around town in sweats. I found that one of my suite mates straightening her hair and dressing up, only to go out to get some groceries and Whole Foods or at Trader Joe’s, which is only 1 or 2 blocks away. I would definitely never see someone around other stores, such as Zara or Saks, wearing sweats. They would dress up in order to go out, just so that they are not looked down upon when they enter the stores whether they are just window shopping or actually getting something. You just wouldn’t receive the same services. Different areas of town have different items in stock according to the neighborhood even if it was the same company. Even at IHOP, I found different neighborhoods having different quality foods and services.  Because of the way the society looks at people by appearance, people tend to look for the brands. Whether or not the consumer is aware, they look for the brand names when they are out shopping. Even if they find a similar quality non brand item, they would pay double, triple the price for the brand name that everyone would notice once they had a glimpse of it. I think that the consumer are not buying the product, because they need that product, but they are buying the brand to appeal to society. Must consumers buy brands out of pressure?

“hip hop” style

I find a group of people wearing the “hip hop” style. They act a certain way, listen to a specific type of music and they walk and act a certain way