As the spring days dawn earlier and the Cherry Blossoms fall, the skirts rise to the occasion to the joy of most men. As you can guess, this is my favorite season in Korea. And the best thing to look at as I switch from sipping double short lattes to the Iced Shaken concoction otherwise known as the Starbucks Doubleshot on these gradually lengthening afternoons is the shortening of the skirts. Everyone knows that men prefer minis, but are the women wearing their skirts higher just to please us? Is it economic? Or is it something much deeper than that? Maybe, it’s just because they can, with legs that go all day long.
The Hemline theory
I’ve heard of selling short, but with short skirts on the rise, is there some economic reason for this happy happenstance? U.S. economist George Taylor is credited with coining the term “hemline theory” in the 1920s, when both the stock market and women’s hemlines were on the rise. The correlation between skirt length and the state of the economy gave rise, no less, to the adage: “short skirts beget a Bull market.”
Do women have the answer to the world’s economic woes? Teddy Roosevelt said, “Walk softly and carry a big stick” in reference to his foreign policy, but for the economy maybe it is better advice to “walk softly and wear your skirt high.” Should we lend credence to this trend and jump back into the market now, or is it just some coup on the part of the Fashion industry to inspire the world with a wry smile in these hard times.
Longer skirts may be in fashion during a bear market, but bare legs certainly bring out the bull! Yet as a New York Times/CBS News Poll states, “Only a quarter of the adult women in the United States say they have worn skirts above the knee in the last year…” Seoul, on the other hand seems to be up to its thighs in, well, thighs. Does this bode well for the Korean economy?
The Philosophy of Fashion
For whom is this show, this display of well-toned gams and swaying skirts? Are they doing this to attract men, or to show off to their girlfriends? I queried one innocent looking, rather fashionably dressed agashi crossing the path of my curiosity. She could come up with nothing more than “to look good” in response. “For what… To catch a fella?” I countered, but sadly, she said “oh, no!” After further thought, she said, “They’re in fashion and so, in a sense, we’re forced to buy them as there’s nothing else to buy.” Are there really no other offerings at the shops? Is fabric at a premium in the Morning Calm?
It must go deeper than this… is there no statement to be made for what compels them to such curtness of skirt. I accosted several other sharp dressers in short skirts to broaden the search. (What hard work this column is!)
- “Because I’m on a date.” (and he’s smiling from ear to ear)
- “It flatters my figure.” (indubitably so, my dear)
- “I’m short, and if I wear a short skirt, my legs look longer so I look taller.“ (I think it’s working!)
Zen and the short skirt
A truly Zen answer might be: “I wear my short skirt to wear my short skirt,” but when pressed for the philosophy of their short fashion, the answers we got from these bear-legged mini-attired coeds were much more practical (if not still inspiring in a different way). If you got it, flaunt it, and with Korea having one of the lowest obesity rates in the developed world, what better place to show off your legs.
What conclusions can we draw from this fashion trend? Is it a statement of rebellion against the work world, an attempt to magnetize men’s eyes, the cattle call of slaves to fashion, or just a way to beat the upcoming heat? There may be no Zen in High Fashion, but I’m certain more than a few have a Zen moment of quiet introspection as the short skirts of Spring strut by. Regardless of the reasons, I believe this holds a ray of hope for the return of romance, the future of our economy, and the potential for the world as a whole. If you agree, come in and have a coffee and tell me your take on high-legged fashion. Otherwise, enjoy the sunshine, everyone, and if you see a mini walk by, give her a smile and spread the love. Hike your skirts up ladies, and we’ll find some Zen in it somehow.