Move over Kinfolk, there is a new magazine to flaunt on gray countertops.
As we hone into our personal style, we identify with a certain aesthetic and ideology. Some can easily be categorized : tomboy, French classic, bohemian, Scandi chic,… Most of us don’t fall into any of these buckets. If I were to label mine, it would be ‘gentlewoman’. Respect for quality and expert tailoring, a certain pared down aesthetic, utility inspired clothing, a reverence for everything Margaret Howell, wish list full of Celine, activism of Stella McCartney, women-first-clothes-later sort of idealism, love of neutrals, well-edited closets, basics morphed into rockstars, lots of men’s wear inspired classics, … sum it up for me. So, what about pink ? I have gone through an entire suite of judgements on this color. Call me a victim of cultural brainwashing, gender stereotyping, bra-burining-feminism and general lack of exposure to the world outside my bubble. Self pity aside, I can console myself on having lesser prejudices than a decade ago :
- (Age 10) : It belongs on barbie. Its for silly girls.
- (Age 13 ) : Its a muslim color. ( I apologize for this. I no longer think this way. I was uneducated and didnt travel. I was repeating what I heard, like a parrot. )
- (Age 15 ) : I hate pink. Its girly (meant like an insult). I avoid it at all cost. I am a tomboy ( like its a color preference ). I will become a scientist ( like its part of the curriculum ).
- (Age 20) : I wont wear pink. Never !
- ( Age 21 ) : Straight men shouldn’t wear pink.
- ( Age 22 ) : Men can wear pink. ( America changed my mind. I met people from different nations and cultural backgrounds . Its just a color. )
- ( Age 25 ) : The saree I wore for my wedding reception was pink. I never wore pink before that day. My mother convinced me. I looked like an Indian bride.
- ( Age 26 ) : I buy a camera. It changed my life. I read ‘Tao of Photography‘. If you judge the morality of the characters in a book/movie, you can not appreciate the story. Un-relatable characters also have a story to tell. Imperfect flawed characters interacting can be very interesting. If you judge the elements in your shots, you will not do justice to the photograph. The camera taught me a lot about perspectives and life.
- ( Age 27 ) : Its a non neutral color. Like any other non neutral color, I will stay away or use in very tiny doses or an accent color.
- Currently : Its a nice color. I will wear pink if its the right shade. In small doses of-course ! I still dislike the way its marketed aggressively to little girls. I still dislike the Disney princess aesthetic.
“the deeper freedom, I hope, is that of not being stuck inside a particular perspective, or thinking that your way is the right way. I worry sometimes that in an age when we’re lucky enough to have access to more cultures (and therefore more points of view and mind-sets) than ever, it’s easier to surround yourself with people who think and look just like you.” – Pico Iyer
We recently watched a hindi movie called PINK, which is one of the most powerful movies on women’s rights for an Indian audience. When they asked the movie makers about naming the movie after the color, they said “Its used as an insult. I want it to be associated with strength”. Run like a girl, cry like a girl, throw like a girl, … should all be associated with strength and we should work towards proving it. Pink has seen some major brainwashing and stereotyping. If I had a dollar for everytime I heard/said/read “I am a tomboy. I dont wear pink”, I would have bought a new Macbook Pro by now.
History of Stereotyping :
Pink was not always classified by gender. I wasnt even aware of this demarcation as a kid. Every color is fair game in India. Its common to see traditional clothes in hot pink mixed with green or red. And it somehow doesn’t look outlandish in India. But there are big demarcations on color by religion. A certain green shade comes with a strong Islamic branding. And a certain shade of saffron orange has a strong Hindu association. Which I find unfair. Let the colors be. “I think living in a foreign place just shows you how there are no right answers and that everything you think you know is partial, provisional and local”, writes Pico Iyer. Travel and internet connectivity changed my mind on pink. I met people outside my tiny bubble, who don’t associate tomboy as a style of dressing or have biases against a certain color. Its a work in progress.
Me Vs Pink :
The pink in my closet
Something I have always looked down upon and avoided now made it into my closet. A shirt or dress is too much of it. That leaves me with accessories. I wanted a pink bag, but looking at my historical data on regrets, I changed my mind. Got a clutch instead. A hot pink technical running shirt because I am pro colorful workout gear and added visibility if you run outdoors. The mauve loafers pair well with my all navy/black/gray outfits. I have a belt with black studs which looks tough in some sense. A pink saree that I wore on my wedding day gets reused when I go to India. I wear rose gold jewellry. I like pink and am not afraid to say it. Its a beautiful color once I can isolate all the cultural stereotyping.
Do Pink Right :
Mauve coat : Stella McCartney. Perennially hungry cat : c/0 landlord.
Disney princesses and Barbie ruined pink for me. Excessive bubblegum pink in stores and in cheaply made clothing with glitter + tutus are etched in my brain. Its taught me the phrase ‘too much pink’. When I lived in India, there was excessive emphasis on making your complexion look as white as possible. And a certain shades of bright pink were used to flaunt fairness of skin. I formed a set of prejudices based on my life so far that are hard to undo. And hence have my own set of rules on how to wear pink.
- The right pink : mauve, dusty rose, metallic dusty rose, taupy beige that looks like pink in certain lighting, hot pink in India, …
- There are no absolutes. I have seen some very beautiful ways to do too much pink : Sabyasachi.
- All black clothing + blush pink shoes.
- Gray oversized sweater + gray denim + pink belt with studs + black oxfords.
- Navy blue dress + pale pink pearl pendant.
- One item of pink in an outfit is plenty for me.
- Accessories are the way I do pink. I try to stay away from pink garments because I usually regret them after a year or two. My Stella McCartney mauve coat is an exception.
- Blush color lining for a black coat. Pink lining for a gray coat. Pink that peeks through might be a good idea.
- When attending an Indian wedding, I shelve all of my rules ! I reuse my pink wedding saree every year.
- Stop judging other women when they wear pink, is the right way to do pink.
The pantone color of the year 2016 is dusky rose. Have you been noticing the influence of it ? I am in no mood to buy more but am enjoying the images of cozy pink sweaters paired with trousers. If you are looking to add some pink to your closet, please wait till next year. It will be discarded in plenty on to the second hand market and you can take your pick. Do you have a story on pink ? Do you wear it ? If yes, in what dosage ? If no, why not ? Do you think you get judged if you wear pink ? Thoughts on ‘too much pink’ ?