The push-up bra as economic indicator
If women are buying themselves expensive lingerie, that's a sign of economic recovery, analyst says.
If you want to know how the economy is doing this holiday season, don't even bother collecting all those boring numbers about economic indicators and the Consumer Price Index.
Just check to see how the push-up bras are selling.
Sales of nonessential items such as the Victoria's Secret Miraculous Push-Up bra, which claims it will add two cup sizes, are a key indicator of the health of the economy, analyst John Morris told Rachel Beck of The Associated Press.
We won't get into whether size matters, but Morris' explanation of why the sales of push-up bras that cost $49.50 to $250 matter does make sense. As Beck wrote:
If women buy these high-priced bras, they're probably willing to buy other things for themselves, too. That would be a shift from the last two holiday seasons when shoppers mostly bought for others.
Strong sales of lingerie would also suggest that shoppers are willing to indulge. That would be a change from last year when they stuck to basics.
"The Bombshell bra has been selling out, and that's not because husbands are buying them for their wives," Morris told Beck. "It's the wives buying for themselves."
Does this mean the recession is over? Don't get out the champagne yet, but keep it chilled. Post continues after video.
Morris isn't the first to look at underwear as an economic milestone. Alan Greenspan pointed to the sale of men's underpants as an economic indicator years ago, though modern views of men's lingerie have called that into question. It seems the prognostication value of the undershirt has not been adequately studied.
Disparate happenings, from the prevalence of mosquito bites to the attractiveness of waitresses, have been cited as economic indicators, but Duke University professor Dan Ariely cautions that all these indexes are inexact at best.
"We're obsessed with measurement, and now, what's happened is everybody has a different easy measurement," Ariely told The New York Times last year. "We look at the sky and see clouds, and all of a sudden they become a puppy."
Still, if you want to look for economic indicators at the mall while you're doing your holiday shopping, Morris and other analysts interviewed by AP suggest watching these signs:
- Are discounts planned or desperate attempts to move merchandise? An easel outside the store or markdowns on goods near the entrance indicates unplanned discounts, Morris says.
- Are shoppers buying necessities such as diapers and underpants or gift items such as perfume or jewelry?
- Even if women aren't getting Victoria's Secret bras, are shoppers buying items for themselves?
"When the economy is good, there's a mentality of 'buy one for me and buy one as a gift,'" Ken Perkins, president of the research firm RetailMetrics, told AP. "We didn't see that the last few years."
How's your economy looking? Will you be buying yourself a few holiday gifts this year or are you buying all your family members plain underwear and socks?
More from MSN Money:
I'm not so sure I agree with this being a good indication things are looking up for the economy unless it means that the pushup bras are cheaper than boob jobs.
How apt. In a deflated, if not flattened, economy, the Fed is now under.....taking to inflate the, er, value of, ahem (ooh, this is embarrassing) assets that may not be as attractively displayed as the owners might want. The Fed hopes that as a result a modest level of price inflation might ensue, speeding the circulation of produced and consumed good and services. Have I gotten that right? And the trick, we are told, is to inflate those values just enough to stimulate demand but not so much as to overheat that demand and cause a speculative bubble. Hmm.
Yep, the push-up bra is a perfect allegory. Ben Bernanke has a new career opportunity---personal fitter at Victoria's Secret. Indoor work, pleasantly heavy lifting (and separating) and non-taxable fringe you only dream about.
I've never really liked women wearing push up bras. It's false advertising. The quote was...'Makes you 2 cup sizes larger'................Uh....no. It makes you look 2 sizes larger. Eventually you have to take it off. Then it's like a trailer for a Tom Cruise movie. It looks really promising, until you see the real thing. Then you realize you've been duped and it's time to walk out.
I hope you will keep us abreast of any new developments. In any case, whatever it takes to perk up the economy! Right now I'd give the current adminstration "D's" but I hope in a year from now they get an A.... and leave me with the D's!
I haven't had fellow female students bragging about boob jobs lately, like a few years ago...basically demonstrating they (or parents) had enough $$$ for this meaningless 'enhancement'.....for whatever that is worth as an 'objective' economic measure.
"If women are buying themselves expensive lingerie, that's a sign of economic recovery, analyst says."
It's all hogwash, is my point. Are people reading this article really expecting a bean counter to understand the reasons a woman spends money on herself? Do people really think buying personal bras are an indicator of a strengthening economy?
For thousands of years women have indeed adorned themselves with an arsenal of cosmetic enhancements for the sole purpose of competing for males. Does it make them feel good to look good? Absolutely, BUT, looking good to who? Why men of course. And if those purchases are more for personal use, then it makes far more sense that women are tightening their belts, and spending less on others. It is simply nature at work, because we naturally take care of our own needs first, and give when we have it to give.
No body knows where the economy is headed, and certainly not the analyst who is banking on pushup bras to enhance his stock portfolio. That's just speculative nonsense.
Finally an economic indicator worth watching... however it may be a counter-indicator. During the great depression people would do their best to look their best. Elegant clothing of the period sold well.
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