First it was lipstick then it was hemlines and now according to a new IBM computer-based analysis of billions of social media posts on women’s shoe fashions, heel heights are poised to decline. For big fans of those Carrie Bradshaw-type, stilettos this is bad news but as a sign of economic health (and perhaps foot health) and therefore jobs being created, you may want to start considering the kitten heel. “Usually in an economic downturn, heels go up and stay up – as consumers turn to more flamboyant fashions as a means of fantasy and escape,” said Dr. Trevor Davis, a consumer products expert with IBM Global Business Services. “This time, something different is happening – perhaps a mood of long term austerity is evolving among consumers sparking a desire to reduce ostentation in everyday settings.”
The pattern holds up as in the last 100 years of fashion heel heights soared during the Great Depression and during the 1970s oil crisis. And then of course after years of grungy 90s fashion we had the Sex & The City shoe craze which came right after the dot-com burst at the beginning of this century. The study which looked at social media discussions found that between 2008 and 2009 five to eight inch heels were all the rage but now the talk is focused on the return of the kitten heel and the perfect flat. Sky high heels are still around but they are considered mostly just for dressing up and not for the office, said Davis. Well whichever female fashion trend you use to help you indicate the health of the economy is fine as long as it means more women are wearing these shoes (heels or flats) on their way to work.