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Economic Optimism in Fashion

Did you know that fashion trends mirror the economy?

The economy is showing signs of new life, and that optimism that is reflected in spring fashions. The stock market is coming back to life, the Consumer Price Index rose by 0.4% during each of the past two months (the largest back to back increases in two years) and thanks to the Middle East, oil prices are rising, which drives up other prices, but also increases wages, which is a goal of the US Federal Reserve (they want inflation of about 1.5-2.0% each year). US manufacturing is increasing for high value items, and American companies are starting to hire again. US unemployment fell below 9% for the first time in almost two years, across almost all sectors except state and local governments.

As a result (and with fingers crossed by retailers), consumers are spending again.  Perhaps consumers are just tired of bad news, but fashion spending is moving toward cheerful purchases of bright colors, happy patterns, and hopeful combinations. What is in for spring? Fashion for spring 2011 displays a strong vibrancy. We’re seeing people feel confident as they make clothing purchases that reflect a more positive mood reflecting uplifted spirits. Colors get brighter when the economy improves, too. We are seeing bright pinks, turquoise, reds, greens, purples, and even yellow. Platform shoes and wedges are in. (Maybe we are finally standing on the platform of an economic recovery?) Skirts are still all lengths, but many moved shorter, in hopeful confidence. Straight leg and wide leg pants are still very present as people are serious about functionality and ease of movement, paired with exuberant prints in vibrant enthusiasm.

Enjoy spring fashion and hopefully the upward spiral we are all feeling and yearning for will continue. (Yellow, for example, stimulates your creativity.) Have some fun with work as well as your wardrobe. Invest in yourself and others. According to economists and fashionistas alike, now is the time to do so!

By Dr Mary C. Kelly with Carolyn Strauss


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