The Professionalism of Pink

When I was young, my favourite colour used to be blue.

I know…it’s shocking, right? Considering the amount of pink that I wear and the fact that it’s one of my core brand colours you would think that my love for the colour started from a young age.

Well, believe it or not – I went through a pretty extensive “tomboy” phase. I loved hoodies, basketball jerseys, tracksuits and sneakers and that was my clothing of choice most days. I clearly remember my outfit for my first day of high school – a grey TNA tracksuit from Aritzia and a pair of pink and white Adidas sneakers.

But as you know, high school has a way of really impacting your self-esteem as you try to figure out where you belong. We all want to be accepted by the “cool kids” and of course, have people notice us. I quickly began to change (both literally and figuratively) from a tomboy to someone who embraced their girly side. Thinking back, it sounds so ridiculous but at the time, I felt as though I had no other choice in order to be accepted by my peers.

Fast forward to current day and of course, I’m very comfortable and happy with my personal style but I now find myself with a new dilemma – navigating the “professionalism” of the colour pink.

Pink is stereotypically a very feminine and girly colour. For many people, images from Mean Girls may come to mind who of course would wear pink on Wednesdays.

Photo credit: Paramount

As I’ve incorporated the colour more and more into my brand, I’ve become interested in why pink has these specific connotations. I mean, they’re not bad and I’m not offended if someone describes me as “feminine” or “girly” but I realize that the colour is not for everyone. But what has intrigued me is when I’m working with clients on uncovering their personal brand colour and they are very adamant on having no pink whatsoever and no fonts that look too “feminine”. And I always wonder…why is that? Is it because they just simply don’t like the colour pink or they actually love pink but don’t like the connotations?

Interestingly, according to this article from Vice, “prior to WW1, the colour binary was actually flipped – pink was for boys and blue was for girls. Red was considered a sign of wealth and was primarily worn by men. Since pink is a tint of red, little boys often work pink.”

In this same article, I found that it has been speculated that pink transitioned to a “feminine” colour as Former First Lady Mamie Eisenhower was obsessed with the colour. She work a pink gown with over 2000 rhinestones to the presidential inaugural ball in 1953.

Photo credit: Google

Talk about making a statement, right? Rumour has it that she also heavily decorated the White House in pink so much so that it was referred to as The Pink Palace. Naturally, women in America began to follow suit and the rest is history.

I’m very aware that by choosing to associate pink with my brand has automatically subjected me to the colour’s stereotypes. I’m ok with that even though I realize that it may turn some people off. To me, when I wear it, I don’t wear it and think “I’m so feminine and girly” but instead I think “I am bold”. I feel very happy and confident in pink and yet when I wear it, I do have to think about whether or not the people I encounter simply see me as bold or just “young” and “girly”.

I work in a corporate office and sometimes I over-analyze my outfits. Most of the time, I’m the brightest one in the office and I’ve become ok with that. Despite the colour being often mistaken for weakness, I feel my strongest and most confident in a pink suit compared to a more neutral colour like black, grey or navy. These colours are traditionally “professional” but why can’t pink be?

I share all this to get you thinking. Do you wear pink? If so, do you ever think that it’s too “girly” of a colour? For those who don’t wear it – why is this? Is it because you don’t look good in it? Are you worried about not being taken seriously? Or do you just simply not like the colour? I know we unfortunately have a long way to go before pink is no longer confined to just the single idea of “girlyness” but if you love pink, you should wear it for you and not anyone else. Until then, I’ll continue to confidently wear pink because you know what they say, pink is not just a colour, it’s an attitude!

All photos of me taken by Gooseberry Studios.

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