Gentlemen Fools: The next time the woman in your life gets a haircut, buys a new outfit, or tries out a new shade of lipstick, you might want to pay attention.

You see, for decades, investors have looked to ladies for signs about which way the economy was headed. During the Great Depression, skirt hemlines (and their proximity to our kneecaps) supposedly indicated how reserved the country felt about our financial means.

In the early 1990s, the tea leaves shifted, and cosmetics sales became the gauge for consumer sentiment. The so-called "Lipstick Indicator" was coined by Leonard Lauder, former chairman of Estee Lauder (NYSE: EL), who noticed lipstick sales outpacing purchases of other nonessential items. The theory was that when our confidence waned, we opted for less expensive splurges to lift our spirits and help us through tough times.

While we appreciate Wall Street's acknowledgement of the power of female intuition, we're not pushovers for just any pretty-face-products manufacturer. (Just see what we said about Avon (NYSE: AVP) a few weeks ago.) We want a company whose good looks are more than skin deep. And in the cosmetics space, that company is Estee Lauder.