The XX Factor

The Economic Indicator Hiding in Alan Greenspan’s Pants

What’s the male version of the Lipstick Level ? The Men’s Underwear Index. The theory goes that underwear, hidden as it is to the public eye, is the first necessity men start to scrimp on when they’re worried about money. (Sales of women’s underwear remain fairly steady, even during downturns.) But the future is looking a little more bright-white: Ylan Q. Mui of the Washington Post reports that sales of men’s underwear , which were down by a startling 12 percent in January , are showing signs of recovery. The index might not be as fluffy it sounds-Alan Greenspan himself endorsed it a couple of years ago. No word on whether he’s bought new boxers lately.