Pink – is it just for babies?


Pink for work?
Pink for work?

When I was a girl pink was not the go to, obvious colour it is today for little girls. My first recollection of the colour pink was my mother talking about “shocking” pink. And in fact there could not be a bigger contrast than baby pink, little girl, shell-like, pretty pink and full-on, sexy, outrageous shocking pink. Fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli saw pink as a radical, rebellious colour and called her signature colour Shocking Pink.

shocking pink full length Schiaperelli coat
Late 1930s Schiaperelli coat in shocking pink silk satin with turquoise buttons

Diana Vreeland, the former editor of American Vogue, described pink as “the navy blue of India”, implying it was the ubiquitous colour that was worn almost as a neutral in India. With the brightest sunshine, Indian silks and cottons are often dyed in the strongest hues. It has always impressed me how even the poorest Indians have a sensitivity to colour and design. Here is the interior of a tiny flat in Mumbai inhabited by a widow and her daughter. It’s as stylish as anything you might see in Elle Decoration.

Interior of Mumbai flat with pink walls and blue ladder steps
Modest flat painted pink and blue

Here is an image from Africa. The Owambo people of Namibia base their traditional costume on pink, and women prize beads made from pink snail shells.

Young Owambo woman in traditional pink dress and beads
Young Owambo woman in traditional pink dress and beads

Christian Dior, the post war French designer, wrote that “Every woman should have something pink in her wardrobe; it is the colour of happiness”. Pink is a colour associated with youth, empathy and approachability, and innovation. But of course the association with femininity which Dior recognised can make it a slightly challenging colour for work. But these days pink shirts for men must mean women can wear pink for work without undermining their authority. And many jobs, mine included, have to be approachable as well as authoritative. I tend to agree, and believe that every woman, and man for that matter, can wear pink. But of course the best pinks are the ones which flatter our colouring and make us look younger and fresher.

Kate Davies in pink jacket, trousers and shoes, sitting on the floor
Pink for weekends?

The pinks can be divided up into our usual categories, indicating that there is a pink for everyone, but it has to be the right pink.

Deep or Light?

Deep pink v Light pink
Deep pink v Light pink

 Cool or Warm?

Cool pink v Warm pink
Cool pink v Warm pink

Bright or Muted?

Bright pink or Muted pink
Bright pink or Muted pink

My Pink Wardrobe

3 Responses

  1. thornberry

    I wore a fuschia pink top to work today! I think that Shocking Pink was one of the first shades of pink that I was aware of too. One of my favourite suits made in my early twenties was hot pink raw silk (a Burda pattern). Pink is absolutely wonderful on you, I think! And I especially love the dress on the Owanbo girl.

  2. Joyce

    how sweet is pink………..but could you ever be twee ….. ?? little girly with barrettes and flowers?? ankle socks…pointed in toes……..floaty short short skirts…..eekkk..
    I love the combination of soft pink and and light green, or light brown…nature at its best …. I find it extremely calming. We are also effected by colour by our past…country gardens at Grandma’s farm – cosmos floating in the breeze…..
    Pinks ,,,,,,, are hard……..hard to determind if they are warm or cool…at least I find it a challenge. They are refreshing……….. fun and heart warming. We should all find our most best pink…….You look fabulous Kate! I’d love to find mine by next February 14th!!

  3. Stephanie

    I actually wear pink quite often these days, as as I get older I feel more authoritative without having to always express it through my clothing, although I have difficulty with the warm and cool division as I have both warm and cool tendencies. I tend to wear the same combination of blue and pink that you are wearing in one of those outfits, which I love. All of your garments are lovely!

    I also appreciate that you included a photo of that apartment in India. My partner’s sister is passionate about India and collects textiles on her many journeys there. I am always blown away when she returns with her wares and with her photos.

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