My little guy already has a lot of pink in his life, thanks to having an older sister. Pink blankets and toys are one thing (well, two, actually), but I hadn’t been daring enough to dress him in any pink clothes until I found these shirts:
Tons of stores are selling pink shirts for boys and men this spring. Maybe it’s part of the eighties style revival, like turquoise pants and day-glo, and I say, “hooray for color!”
I’ve been so bored with blue, black, grey, and red. It’s sad to someone like me when a slightly different shade of green or orange is cause for excitement.
I was telling another mom about how excited I was to find pastel shirts, and how I’ve been telling the kids that certain colors don’t have to be for boys or girls, and this mom told me something that blew my mind:
“Up until about 100 years ago, pink was a boy color. Red was a man’s color, and since pink is a lighter shade of red, they considered it a good color for boys.”
My first thought was, “Well, if they could turn Marlboro cigarettes from a women’s brand to the symbol of manly, rugged, masculine, masculinity, then they could do the same switcheroo to pink.”
My second thought was, “Hmm. I should research that.”
Ahem, research, as in Google and Wikipedia.
This is what I found on Wikipedia:
An article in the trade publication Earnshaw’s Infants’ Department in June 1918 said: “The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.” From then until the 1940s, pink was considered appropriate for boys because being related to red it was the more masculine and decided color, while blue was considered appropriate for girls because it was the more delicate and dainty color, or related to the Virgin Mary. Since the 1940s, the societal norm was inverted; pink became considered appropriate for girls and blue appropriate for boys, a practice that has continued into the 21st century.
A cursory search around the internet found that most articles on the subject quote the same information as the Wikipedia article. I’d have to do real research to find out if it’s all true.
Dang! That’s not going to happen.
One thing I read was that babies and children were dressed in white dresses until the end of the 19th century. My guess is that dresses made changing diapers easier, and that white was common because colorful cloth wasn’t widely available, and that people just cared about having clothes that sorta fit for the many, many children they had.
They had better things to concern themselves with than fashion.
You know, like, survival.
At some point though, survival became less of an issue, a leisure class began to develop, there was more money to spend, and the art of selling things to people that they don’t need became big business.
Hey, I watch Mad Men. I know of what I speak, er, write.
So, how are color trends started?
Years ago, I’d read something about how “they” decide what the colors are going to be each season, and then all the fabrics get dyed those colors, and designers use those colors, magazines feature those colors, and ultimately, everybody (well, at least teenagers) wears the same trendy things.
A little more cursory digging on the internet led me to the Pantone website. You know those big decks of color samples used by graphic designers? Those are from Pantone.
Pantone issues a Fashion Color Report each season. Basically, they find out what colors the top designers are using and then they issue a report that pretty much dictates what colors all the lesser designers will use. And that’s why the clothes we buy at places like Target and Old Navy and Macy’s all look suspiciously similar:
Each season, Pantone surveys the designers of New York Fashion Week and beyond to collect feedback on prominent collection colors, color inspiration and color philosophy. This information is used to create the PANTONE Fashion Color Report, which serves as a reference tool throughout the year for fashion enthusiasts, reporters and retailers.
I couldn’t find any evidence in the report that they had chosen pink for boys this season, though they did include “Granita” for men, a color most of us would call burgundy. There was plenty of pink for the girls, though.
In fact, the report interviewed 24 “fashion influencers” about their favorite childhood clothing and how they see that style being reinvented for 2012.
Sigh…Pink is still for girls
Based on the interviews, I’m pretty confident to report that pink for girls is still on-trend. As in, “Girls, thou shalt wear pink.”
The interviews included remarks from the following luminary, Barbie:
“One might say I was born in heels. But the first pair that swept me off my feet was an absolute perfect shade of Pink — PANTONE 219 to be exact. For spring 2012, I am thinking about how fab Pink espadrilles will look in my Dream House closet. This doll’s feet don’t feel complete without heels!”
So what about you? Will you dress your little guy in pink this season?