As stock prices and hemlines both rose in the 1960s, the idea that there was some kind of connection between the two was hypothesized. In May 1967, the brokerage firm Harris Upham sent out a newsletter stating: “For some time there has been a suspicion in Wall Street that the stock market and the hemlines of women’s skirts move in the same direction.”
The firm then presented research suggesting that indeed there was a correlation. “From the days of street-sweeping skirts in 1897 to the days of Twiggy in 1967,” the market was up 2,100 percent, the newsletter reported, concluding: “Perhaps we should be listening more carefully to the planning in Paris .”
There has never been all that much consensus as to how seriously to take this hypothesis. But in any event, hemlines could only go so far up, and in the late ’60s that started to look true of equity values as well.Some episodes in financial history are more fun than others.