The Down Low on Low Cut: Cleavage Hypothesis

by Female To Be Named Later

While subscribers to the Wall Street Journal don’t usually read Vogue, the finance world does pay attention to at least one aspect of women’s fashion: the length of their skirts. For the lay investor, I am not making a reference to stockbrokers starring at their secretaries’ asses as they bend down to get more Form 144’s. I’m referring to the Hemline Theory, which in its most general form, states that there is a relation between the “fashionable” length of skirts and the strength in the market. Most brokers believe the causal relationship runs from market strength to skirt length, with stronger markets dictating shorter skirts; though a few rogue traders hold that the reverse is true.

As both a Journal subscriber and a student of female behavior I have been fascinated by this theory. Two months ago, I was musing on this relationship while lunching with my stockbroker ex-boyfriend (aka The Trader). I saw him eying the group of female execs at the table behind me. Recognizing the lecherous look in his eyes (reason #23 that I sold The Trader short on the dating market) but, not being able to see exactly what he was looking at, I leaned in and asked, “Short skirt or low cut blouse?”

“Blouse?” he asked, “I don’t think that woman even knows what that word means.”

I discretely turned around and, lo and behold, he was right! The woman was wearing nothing under her suit jacket! Looking around the room, I saw that other women were proving that at Nobu no shirt does not mean no service (at least for the ladies). I thought to myself, if they can afford to order Otorro sushi at $25 a piece, then surely they can afford a few silk shirts. It was when that I first postulated a corollary to the hemline theory: The Cleavage Hypothesis. The Cleavage Hypothesis states that there is a relationship between amount of flesh that is fashionable to show under a woman’s suit jacket and the strength of the market: When the market is strong the cleavage line drops.

The Trader, realizing he would have another valuable trading tool if hypothesis held true, graciously funded my research into this theory. For a month I did nothing but read back issues of fashion rags and the Wall Street Journal. I developed what I call a flesh gradient; it’s a measure of the amount of skin showing in proportion to the woman’s torso. I charted both the historical measures of the flesh gradient (as determined by back issues of Vogue, Elle, In Style, Cosmopolitan, and other fashion magazines) and the corresponding historical measures of market strength (as determined by the Dow Jones, S&P 500, and the NASDAQ 100).

I am not yet at liberty to reveal the exact results of this analysis. Currently, The Trader and I are developing a set of analytics based on my research and we are hoping to license this tool to Bloomberg. In the meantime, we have reached an agreement with the authors and publishers of Long or Short and we are pleased to bring you this advance announcement of our forthcoming product. If you are interested in learning more about this product or would like to invest, please e-mail my proxy: Mr Juggles.

Recommendation: It is fashion week here in New York City. Already we are seeing a noticable shift in women’s business wear. Last year at this time, I would have recommended: short on collared blouses and long on double-sided tape. But designers such as Nicole Miller, Alexandre Herchcovitch, and Lela Rose are changing the market forecast. Personally, I’m holding on to my high yield stocks (and double-sided tape) through the spring, but I’ve set a sell point in August should the turtleneck futures market see a sudden jump in price.

Full disclosure: I have a long position in double sided tape.
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