[Clockwise from top left: Rag & Bone scarf, Joie velvet slides, Free People tank, Joie silk blouses, Rag & Bone pink tee, Isabel Marant shorts, Joie sweater, Isabel Marant belt, Cali Dreaming bikinis, Joie pink velvet booties.]
I don’t know when I unequivocally turned my back on the color pale pink. We’d had a pretty good run: the bow in my hair in the delivery room, the princess dress I seemed to always be passed out in, the ruffled chair in my bedroom, and my first pair of glittery jelly sandals. But like girls and their dolls, it fell out of favor, replaced colors that made me look cooler, more sporty, and less like I cared.
For me and my departure from pink, it wasn’t dissimilar to Hillary Clinton’s 1994 pink press conference: for her, it wasn’t a color, it was a PR move. For me, avoiding it was a calculated move, too. [Read more about the fascinating history of pink in fashion here, and note that it hasn’t always—until recent years—been so purely associated with girliness.]
To me, pink was outwardly admitting I was feminine when I really didn’t feel like I needed any help with that. I’d have rather been noted for being different, even hard to place. My color of choice starting right around my late teens became turquoise and I’d find any way to work that in. Then, I went as close to colorless as possible. Then, black. And now, it seems I’m drawn to softer shades—nudes and pinks and taupes. It seems like my outside is reflecting my inside—and it was about 10 years in the making.
And here we are.
I’d say it really all started with this blog redesign Chad did for me—and the pale pink header. “We can change that, if you want,” he said after showing me the theme. “I know pink isn’t really your thing.” But the pink was what I liked about it most—an invitation to shed my skin and really start over in so many different ways. To find something new to love, him included.
As in love, a slow trickle became a deluge.
One day I noticed that all the products by my sink were in light pink packaging—seen here. What did it matter? I was buying it for what was inside it, right? Somehow it warmed me up to the idea.
A wine-fueled shopping trip to Anthropologie resulted in my leaving with two Art Deco pink and gold pieces of glassware (pictured below) that I parked on my bedside table—but the purchase felt guilty, like that time I burned up an hour in a porn shop called Fun 4 2 while my boyfriend drank beer and watched basketball in the sports bar next door.
Then I found this bouquet of baby’s breath and realized it could live forever without water, and the whole thing became a sort of permanent shrine to pink—with some of my favorite crystals and a glow in the dark Virgin Mary figurine.
May she forever walk into all the glass doors in the land and have it be caught on video, but good old Kim K sorta helped turn me on to the nude look. It felt modern, and when done right—with ripped black jeans, brown leather belts, army green—very fresh. I started with this Rag & Bone scarf (my third dagger scarf, incidentally, which a checkout girl recently said was “low-key super dark”):
Suddenly, I had a formula to work with—mathematical, part 3. Pale pink with all the ripped up, dark, leather stuff I identified with. It became something I could picture alongside everything I already had, breathing new life into old stuff. I didn’t even realize it was a trend, at first.
“I know, shell pink, right? It’s not something we ever do.” I got my fourth Rag & Bone wool hat I’d tried on in the store in San Fran, and the girl in the shop had said that to me while I turned it around in my hands. People stop me in airports and in restaurants when I wear it, because it’s true: pink makes you happy.
Without thinking about it, I snatched a soft pink beaded lariat right off a mannequin in a window in St. Barths, pictured above. I chose a pink woven Isabel Marant belt over the blue version in a store, feeling a heady girlishness rising up from my toes as the owner showed me how to wrap it around my waist.
Now I was getting in deep.
I bought some pink quartz at the rock shop.
I bought two pink candles, one in Peony Petals—perhaps too powdery sweet for me, but I love it.
I got a couple of nude and pink bikinis from Cali Dreaming. Sticking with the theme, I picked up a sandy-hued towel from Pati de St Barth. In so deep.
It migrated to my walls during its slow takeover. Megan gets full credit for the beautiful mannequin print from Lucy Gillis she found at Quirk Gallery, but the print below—basically, it’s me, right?—Chad gave me for my birthday from Dear Neighbor, I was having it framed at A.C. Moore when I saw the pink distressed frame. The dude working there raised an eyebrow, but I stood my ground. And look at it—it’s perfect.
Pink has its politics, too. I always prided myself on having a home with next-to-no feminine touches. I wanted gender-neutral, but more so I loved the masculinity of Americana, midcentury modern, and tufted leather. I felt like femininity would make it harder for a man to relax—harder for him to picture himself in it. Horrors.
I’ll never use chintz or sequins or anything, but sliding these two prints up on the wall in my bathroom—let’s just say I hope Chad didn’t notice it encroaching on his living space until he reads it here in this post.
At the same time, baby pink feels like staking a claim—and it also feels unapologetic in a way that’s pretty punk. Pink is the color of coral and cupcakes and flamingos, but it’s also the color of worms and rubber bands and bacon and spanked bottoms.
It’s the color of your tongue… and the color of tongue-in-cheek.
He’s not exempt, either—got him this long-sleeved Nirvana t-shirt at Need/Supply and—man, I should really steal it back.
It’s also all about the contrast, balance, and the unexpected. Tough it up, for god’s sake. Never, ever look cute. Eschew preppy, for the love of God. And choose your hue carefully. Like women and girls, pink deserves to be treated with a little respect. After all, we’re grown women, not Lisa Frank notebooks.
After getting these boots, I quickly ordered their flat counterpart—soft pink velvet slides I now wear every time I fly.
Swoon on, sister: Father John Misty took all his satire and irony and irritation with everything and packed it into these pink-hued album covers:
In prep for our trip out West (post to follow, I swear) I searched sweaters online filtered by the color pink and got this beauty (should have gone a size up, but I still love it). I wanted something muted, mauve, and unassuming.
[Joie Wei sweater in blush pictured with my new capri jeans from Rag & Bone—my final stop in the journey to find jeans that actually look good on me. Turns out short people look much better without inches of denim pooled at their ankles. I quickly got these in this wash and a dark wash, then sold off my other two pairs.]
By now, you’ve heard it all, and you know—I’ve spent the last year rediscovering (and maybe in some respects, discovering for the first time) what it feels like to be feminine, and a female in love. Somehow, this new appreciation for pink feels like a very real extension of that change.
Real love and real womanhood is not saccharine and it’s not commercial, and—like pink, which is just a shade off the hue of passion, red—it can be pretty lusty, and super hot.