Skyscraping styles from bottom-barrel times: (clockwise from top left) Ferragamo's iconic 1938 platform, WWII-era cork wedge from 1943, a sparkling disco stage for one from 1974, and Emilio Pucci's 2010 red stilletto design. Illustrated by Christine Berrie for The New York Times.
We fashion fiends are familiar with the varying trends that somehow seem to follow (or predict?) the swings of the economic pendulum. Mostly the history books have shown a correlation between good times and short skirts. Beyond hemlines, a slideshow in today's Times makes the case for a footwear barometer. Apparently the worse the dollar does, the higher womens' shoes get. That would explain the rash of ankle-breakers that seem to have taken a toehold in fashion's top tier for at least three seasons now (read: an eternity). If the enduring popularity of platforms, stilettos, and spikes are any indication, we may be in for some long-lasting hard times, but at least we'll look fierce while we starve.