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Have You Hugged a Fashion Plate Today?

Hi Dayana.I came across your article about the trends in retro shoes and the respective rise in certain brands' stock prices [Listen To Mrs. Peter Lynch]. I myself am a woman who is interested in both investing and clothes. Do you happen to know if there are groups of stylish women out there who use their ahead-of-the-trend knowledge to make money on the stock exchange? Tastefully yours, L.C.

Ah, to combine a few favorite pastimes -- and to use the profits from one to buy cute new shoes!

The idea of getting investing ideas by first looking at the brands you like (the hair products you use; the retailers where you spend your time and paycheck -- or at least observing those who shop for sport) -- is an approach championed by the famous Fidelity Magellan (FUND: FMAGX  ) mutual fund manager Peter Lynch. It was his wife who told him to check out Hanes (which then traded on the New York Stock Exchange), since she really liked their L'eggs pantyhose -- and, even more important, every woman she knew did, too.

Hanes turned into a "six-bagger" investment -- a stock that went up six times its value. Way to go, girlfriend! (There's only one Carolyn Lynch, so other successful fund managers have had to employ other secret weapons to find winning stocks, though Fool analyst Bill Mann is quick to credit his better half for some of his best stock ideas.)

The story seems so quaint these days. After all, where else would you get investing ideas but where you do your cardio? The mall! As far as getting input from like-minded fashion plates, you can begin your search online by looking up the companies that interest you and reading the analysis from those who follow the related sectors (try "consumer goods," "retail," "services," and "cashmere" to begin with). You might be surprised what companies are publicly traded -- everything from Gucci (NYSE: GUCG  ) to Gap (NYSE: GPS  ) to Coach (NYSE: COH  ) to Chico's (NYSE: CHS  ) . You'll find research by plenty of female stock analysts, but given Wall Street's stodgy dress code and inherent conflicts of interest, I'm not sure they'd pass the "cute shoe" test.)

The best way to harness that girl power? Start an investing club -- may I suggest the name "Fashionista Fools"? -- and invite women whose styles and smarts you admire to join. Then you can divvy up the analysis and share information on good sales and stocks at your monthly meetings. Studies show that women do indeed invest differently than men do -- often achieving superior returns.

Here's more on how to start an investment club, as well as some reading that'll get you ready to analyze stocks. With a little know-how and some reconnaissance shopping, you'll be accessorizing your portfolio in no time.

Happy stock (and shoe) shopping!

Dayana Yochimreally doesn't spend all her time at the mall, as her writing would lead you to believe. That's because she's discoveredCraigslist! She owns none of the companies mentioned in this article, but she's always hounding her co-workers to find outwhat stocks are on sale. The Motley Fooldisclosure policyis a staple in all of our writers' closets.

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