Researchers the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill joined forces with Gilt, a large online retailer, and tracked shoe purchase over a five-year time period. After logging 16,236 purchases for 2007 women who moved between one of 180 US cities. To judge the changes in fashion choices, the team based their study on the height of high heels and it appears women, who moved to wealthier cities such LA or New York, adopted the local fashion trends, of higher heels. However, when they moved to a lower socioeconomic city, women continued to purchase heels that matched their former styles.
This has been interpreted by the researchers as women will adjust the height of their heels to either conform or differentiate themselves from a crowd in order to move up the social ladder. When they want to blend in with the rich, the study suggests women tend to adopt the surrounding trends or of transitioning to a poorer area, they maintain their individuality.