However, new research (pdf) shows that this is not quite true.
Marjolein van Baardwijk and Philip Hans Franses of Erasmus School of Economics measured the hemlines of skirts appearing in French fashion magazines every month since 1921. And they found that there is a link between hemlines and the state of the US economy, as measured by NBER’s chronology of recessions. But there’s a lag of three years: recessions lead to skirts to getting longer in three years’ time.
By contrast, skirt lengths have no predictive ability for the state of the economy.
Of course, Taylor’s theory was based upon American’s hemlines, not French ones. But it is unlikely that there is a lag of three years from the former to the latter. If anything - with France having been the fashion capital of the world for many years - there’d be a lag from French hemlines to American ones, which is undermines Taylor‘s theory even more.
So, Mr Fry is plain wrong. Bankers have no reason - other than those shared by all men - to like short skirts, and no reason to fear the apparent lengthening of them.
I can only hope the show was recorded several months ago - before this research was published - because it would otherwise betoken an appalling lapse of standards from the BBC.
Victoria Coren would never have made such a mistake.