Friday, 23 August 2013

At peace with pink

Colours are just colours, right?

No reason to take against any of them.

It appears, despite any previous protestations to the contrary, that I have finally made my peace with pink.

Of course it irritates me that little girls are force-fed a diet of pinkness and princesses.

A visit to the "girls'" aisles in Toys R Us is like travelling through a large, commercialised pink vagina.
Sugar wall-to-walls.

And I understand, and have some sympathy, with the Pink Stinks campaign.

Of course there is more than one way to be a girl. Or a boy.

Colours carry associations.

Beige (camel, tan, ecru, oatmeal, etc), grey and navy are all shades I have trouble seeing positively, they represent something conformist and ordinary and uniform to me.

Just as pink represented girliness, a superficial and stereotypical version of femininity which I rejected for years.

But take a great frock or two, the right vibrant shade of rosiness, and I am a convert. I know, so shallow after all.

(Further proof, it is were needed, is here and here.)

Not to make-up and high heels for toddlers, or pink toy dust pans for your little housewife-in-waiting, or knickers for 7 year olds with Babe written on them...

...just to vintage dresses in bright, glorious, beautiful shades of pink.

I wonder if I can rehabilitate beige, grey and navy now?

1960s Hawaiian maxi dress and peacock necklace - vintage fairs
Kimono jacket, shoes  and bangles - charity shopped

 1970s dress - gift from NZ-trippin' Leisa
Sandals - retail (sale)
Belt, bangles, necklace, hair flower - charity shopped

That's right - just let those colour prejudices go...

Besides, here is evidence that a childhood of pink clothing doesn't necessarily do one any harm.

Pink frocks and cardis, 1965-70.

Me and my middle sis.

Speaking of kids, Eldest returns to the fold later today, after having a fine old time at her auntie's.

My niece posted this photo on Facebook of the two of them at the Ritz, no less. 

I've missed her.

 I hope she never thinks she has to be a pink princess to be beautiful.

Have a lovely weekend.



Krista Gassib said...

Can you believe at one point I was a black and red girl. I think every girl hates pink at some point in their life. I think you totally rock it! Yeah I have some pink in my hair and in my closet but honestly I also love orange and turquoise immensely! Eldest is looking older, no! Her Auntie seems like such a love!

thorne garnet said...

It's too bad pink is used an overkill color. It looks good on just about anybody. I totally agree with you about Toys r us! Hurts my eyes. Here's a theatre secret: shine a light on someone with a pink gel and they'll look fab!

Ivy Black said...

I never wore pink until very recently. I would never have worn it in my teens...unless Kate Bush said I should.
I think you look lush in it, you can rock it. Piles of pink 'girls' toys is another matter...drives me mental. Pink Lego...behave!
Your lovely eldest and your niece look so gorgeous. Very at ease at the Ritz I must say.
Have a fab long weekend, love.

Val Sparkle said...

I've always liked pink, but I don't think I had any pink clothes as a girl. It's only in the last 20 years or so that it's been so overdone. I blame Barbie, and mean the blonde bimbo Barbie in hot plastic pink. Classic Barbie came in a black & white striped swimsuit - no pink anywhere.

I read that the associations of pink and blue with gender were created in the Victorian age by merchants, and they almost chose blue for girls. Before that time there was no gender association for pink. It's hard for us to imagine, isn't it?

Debberoo said...

I love this post so agree about the color/colours and that photo of eldest with your niece made me cry for all sorts of complicated reasons and also because she looks so happy and beautiful.

Amber of Butane Anvil said...

You're a treasure, and stunning in both of these awesome frocks! I'm so moved by your childhood photos, and what a grand time Eldest has had! Though I'm all good with grey and sand colours (fortunately camel doesn't suit my colouring, whew!), together with navy, the dreaded pink is even creeping in on ME.

Those associations are so powerful - in North America we're also saddled with the horrific all-pink breast cancer "awareness" marketing through carcinogenic products. (Think Before You Pink by Breast Cancer Action is a good antidote). However, I suspect that as we come more into our own power we find ourselves more comfortable with nuance and everyone's ability to tell one thing from another, and less vulnerable to the fear of accidentally conveying the association we dread. Or some such. Fascinating to think on, a ways to go in articulation yet.

Thanks for being so brilliant as always, dear Curtise! xoxoxoxoxo

Sandra said...

best description EVER about the girls section in Toys R Us - my lot dabbled in pink and fluff, I don't disapprove of pink but I won't tolerate wussiness, and I insist on the power of 'no' (I'm not going to carry on, I get a bit carried away and then I will need a lie down)
The Ritz, that is so fab, your Niece and the Eldest are gorgeous - you look beautiful in your pink dresses (the hawaiian made me wibbly in a good way) ps thank you for your lovely words Missus, I'm not going to lie, I was a little moist and glimmery in the eyes x

Carina Rosenholm said...

I used to dress in Only black clothes but im moore and moore in love with colours but have felt like you when it comes to Pink. But im also starting to Change ....
You look absolutley smashing!

daiseedeb said...

I have come to love all colors as I have gotten older...even pink. ; ) I still find mint green a challenge because I spent so much time in the hospital as a kid, seeing my dad. But mostly everything else I can enjoy. Oh, except the 90's mauve and peach. I guess I just lied in my initial statement. Sorry 'bout that. suits you. ; )

Connie said...

The Ritz!!!! What a time she's had! As for PINK. It has never been one of my favorite colors. So when my daughter was little I avoided dressing her in pink but she just sought it out. Everything was pink and purple. I just gave into it but now I see she was being influenced by the powerful pink vagina. Pink vagina. Curtise, I'm still laughing over that one.

The Small Fabric Of My Life said...

Good Luck with beige!
Stunning picture of the cousins.

Jan Graham-McMillen said...

Aggggghhhh! Yes. Thank you. Pink is a lighter shade of red.
Too right about associations. We all have them, but what's true about them is that they are our response to powerful symbols, and it's our own perceptions and processes that need examination.
Nope, I don't think it's shallow after all. You were right at first ... it's just a color. Hopefully, those that identify with "Pink Stinks" understand that it's the limitations we should fight, not just the color. Taking back the association is part of that.

Interesting what you say about neutrals. Because of my focus on manipulating color in specific ways, I see them as the ground for developing other colors. As I know you are aware, one of the ways to really judge the temperature of a color is to put it next to a truly neutral gray. Neutrals can also support other colors in subtle ways. But I'm with you in that they can be dull as ditch water alone or ill-chosen.
Anyway ... you "in the pink" is a good thing.

Veshoevius said...

You look fabulous in pink! But I know what you mean - the inherent beauty of the colour (I love pink) was hijacked by Barbie, force feededness to girls and the infantilising of women. It needn't be that way. In this maxi I see pink as a bold and beautiful statement!

Connie said...

All that pink made me feel so woozy that I forgot to mention that you look so beautiful in the shocking pink Hawaiian maxi.

Emma Kate at Painted Style said...

But, but, but, VINTAGE dust pans and brushes are okay aren't they? ;)
I have colours I cannot do in interiors (er, most of them...) but there's nothing I won't wear. Except lime green maybe. My poor deprived daughter has a blue and white room. I resent that all little girls bedding is pink or pink.
I love the long dress on you. Have a happy bank holiday weekend! xxxx

Ariane Lasalle said...

I must hated pink sometime in my life believe it or not! i know i love Hello Kitty, right?
But i love pink to death now!
Looks good on you girl!
Pink won you over, yeah!

OP SHOP MAMA said...

Yeh I was REALLY nervous about the pink thing before I had Iris - I've read a lot of great articles, in particular, the association of pink with pretty, which then translates to sexy WAY earlier than it should.. and the lack of choice offered to girls.
I worked hard to avoid pink, but it has slowly crept in, and she has now announced that pink is her fav colour. And she's got the whole 'that's a boy/girl colour' thing down too unfortunately.
I'm OK with it now - i don't think she's saturated in it and she does have a choice, as we get most of her clothes at the oppies!

As for me, I don't avoid it. There is actually no colour I have a problem with.
Love that dress xxx

Fiona said...

I'm so ignorant I'd never heard of the Pink Stinks campaign, obviously neither have Toys R Us! Hilarious description of the girls toy section and agree it is tiresome that little girls are bombarded with pinkness.
I'm sure no daughter of yours would ever feel compelled to conform to stereotypical ideas about how women should dress. I'm glad you succumbed to pink 'cos you look corking in it missus!
Eldest looks very grown up in the swanky Ritz loo's, she won't be satisfied with going to Mc D's now you know!
PS Can't do beige meself.

Miss Simmonds Says said...

I don't have any issues with colour, but then I'm a painter, so it wouldn't help to do so. Being anti pink was a form of rebellion when I was little. I turned my Sindys into career women. Recently I've been more anti beige but I'm at peace with that. You could never look dull and really you can wear just whatever you like and you always look fabulous and never ever normal. xxxxxxx

Miss Simmonds Says said...

ps: is that Bourton On The Water you were visiting? I love your hazy childhood photos xxx

freckleface said...

Look at eldest at the Ritz. Bless her! I love that photo. It all looks very clean. I wonder if they have someone cleaning the skirting boards every single day.

And look at you as a kiddywinkle smiling and enjoying life to the max with your sis. So cute!! Is that ford type place in the west country? It makes me think of Lorna Doone for some reason.

I love colour, full stop, never seem to worry about associations, but I have probably spent considerably less time in ToysRUs than you, supermum! That navy and pink dress is a joy. How could we not be happy seeing you in that? xxxx

Vicky Hayes said...

Beige, grey and navy... nah! you're more of a glorious technicolor (sic) gal I think! Can't imagine your daughter will be encumbered by the need to conform. What a fab photo of the cousins at the Ritz - tres elegantes! Love the vintage pics of you and your sis too. Vicky x

Patti said...

this reminds me of the dog trainer whose motto was "no bad dogs!" - so, no bad colors : > you look marvelous in vintage pink. Eldest is looking happy and wonderful too. xoxoxo

Brooke F said...

I have had a total about face with pink in the last two years and I now ADORE it! Pink is vibrant, fun and yes, a bit girly. My daughter has a crazy obsession with pink which is funny as I vowed to not have a speck of pink in her room when she was born and never dress her in "little girl" pink. I was strong and for a long time she lived in a cool world of red, purple, black and rockabilly leopard print. But then the Little Miss began picking things for herself and ALL she kept picking was pink. And I realised, why argue. Who am I to dictate what she wears and likes. So now she chooses what will make her happy, and I am all for that. So I am learning from my Little Miss. Wear whatever makes you happy! Wear what makes you smile!XXX

Angels have Red Hair said...

I have always loved pink ... I don't wear it much ... but I loved it. I couldn't wait to have kids and dress them in pretty pink frilly things. But God clearly had sympathy for my future children and sent me ALL boys ... even the dog's a boy!!

Penny-Rose said...

Oh wow, the Hawaiian maxi is just gorgeous. I never touched pink until my 40s. The comment about the toy aisle being like a giant vagina really made me smile, but its your evocation of the saccharine pink glitter dustpans and knickers all for little girls that really struck a chord with me. I think little girls are over-pinkified because thats all the toy companies market - and it sells by the millions cos thats all there is to choose from.
PS Love the photo of you with b/w cat in photo - cat looks like it is lying flat in grass!

Pull Your Socks Up! said...

Grey + beige + navy = gravy. Nice on roast veggies, needs oh so much tweaking to wear though. I have a pic of #1 Son in pink braces holding up his orange shorts and wearing a jester's hat at age 2. He ended up wearing hot pink Chucks as his school shoes in years 11&12 ... I love that he embraced colours that made him smile. The other two boys, not so much and as for The Stylist, she's come out of the pink phase that I've witnessed every little girl I know go through. The pics of you as a wee lassie are adorable ... playing in streams, enjoying the outdoors, adventures enhanced by your early pink experiences;). You look delish in pink Curtise. Look at your beautiful lassie looking pleased as punch, I'm so glad she had a lovely time with her cousins. Big hugs, xoxo

Melanie said...

I'm so happy to see you! You and I have a karmic connection today because I wore my Hawaiian maxi as well, mostly in PINKs. Shall we be twee and jump up and down and clap to celebrate? Why the F not? Love you in all colours, even oatmeal cause I know you glam it up with boots, bling, etc. So much to say but must flee... Hugs!

Indigo Violet said...

I agree with everything you say - except about my beloved navy. Although I am a hypocrite because the first dress I ever bought was a 1940s deep pink and white rayon dress. I have pale skin, so it looked best when I had a tan after a summer spent fruit picking. I can't bear to throw it away, even though it's now full of holes. As for beige and grey - forget about it!

Trees said...

I couldn't agree with you more about your comment about the "girls" section of the toy store - its one of the reason I MAKE my nieces presents rather than make them. There is just so pink which is gender stereotyping to the EXTREME! I have to admit for YEARS I was a black only girl, but now I pretty much wear ALL THE COLOURS - but I understand the issues you have with pink!

Louise McDonagh said...

I love that picture of you in the river at the cotswolds.

I agree with you about pink. I was a tomboy growing up so the mere thought of pink was abhorrent but nowadays I have warmed to it that bit more.

Your vibrant pink dress is so pretty. Xx

Anonymous said...

Lovely vibrant pinks! You look great in those dresses.
Odd how colours get typecast, isn't it? My school uniform was bottle green - I avoid it like the plague. It was really weird when I had to make a dress for a customer in that colour - when I delivered it I was sure she'd hate it but she didn't. I suppose her school used a different colour & she'd maybe have hated a navy dress.

Helga! said...

O, I ADORE those old snaps!! Heavenly!
Ha, I think I actually am fine with every colour, despite protestations over the years...even pastel shades, which I thought I loathed, until I realised I wore them a lot! Even purple, which I feel weird about, I wear far more than I realised!!! I didn't like pink for many years, then got obsessed with it for a few...
There are certain connotations in colours. Especially ones related to school uniforms!
Eldest looks very serene and chic!!! Such a lovely treat for her. She's growing up, dammit!

Secret Squirrel said...

I think I have had exactly the same journey with pink as you. It started with a rose pink cardigan that someone else bought me that I was surprised to like, then a scarf... And niw, deep pinks and rose pinks (all punchy shades, though - still haven't got my read round a pastel type pink) are in my wardrobe.

I hated pink all through my childhood. I checked with my Mum, who confirmed I hated it and wouldn't wear it. My brother and I both had trucks, and we both had tea sets. I find pink / girl and blue / boy thing so annoying.

P.s thanks for the Arthur and Avalon info on my post! It was nice to get a picture of my Mum up there too. We had a lovely day xxx

two squirrels said...

Gosh that dress the beautiful Leisa sent you is just gorgeous on you........I think it is one of my favourites.
I always love pink in summer........but I did splash a shocking pink out the other day.
For me colours are such a mood thing........all colours.
Nature does her thing in colour and so do we, I think that's how I see it.

Look at the beautiful eldest.....she is growing up so much.
Happiness to you lovely Curtise.
Love V
I was wearing the cute lemon cardigan the other day and got so many comments....xxxxxx thank you,I do love her and think she is going to be a favourite in summer.

CityScape Skybaby said...

One of the local primary schools here has bright magenta as the colour of their school jumpers and when I see the children wearing it I wonder who decided on it and why, it's such a change from the usual school colours. I love the picture of you stretching your face and arms out in the sun and the gorgeous pics of you as a kiddy, they look like blissful times Curtise. And lucky eldest, going to the Ritz, I've promised my eldest boy a trip to London but we've still not made it yet. Love your pink vagina image, Asda will never look the same to me now, and I'd not heard of Pink Stinks but I agreed with them about household toys being marketed to little girls, the boxes put boys off too but my boys have often been attracted to playing with pushchairs, toy kitchens, hoovers etc. so it does both sexes a disservice to only market those things at girls. xx

Forest City Fashionista said...

I can't imagine any daughter of yours thinking she must be a pink princess in order to be thought beautifu! Isn't it strange how certain colours have such powerful emotional associations attached to them. I had a hot pink crimpelene dress that my Grandma made me when I was a kid, and I think I liked it, but then I gave up pink in my teenage years, and haven't started to embrace it again until the last few years. As long as it's a good strong hot pink, or fuschia, I can work it. Baby pink or pastels? Bleah! I really like grey, not sure why, I guess when I was trying to stop wearing so much black,grey was a nice compromise.

Your tropical flower Maxi is a big slap in the face of colour! YAY!

Glad the eldest had a good time with her cousins. Now that she's been to the Ritz, there will be no living with her ;)

silvergirl said...

I am a pink girl all the way
I love the pink and navy floral dress so much
My hater color is yellow, I will NEVER make peace with it

Anonymous said...

When my first daughter was born I read a beautiful book (I think it's only in Italian the writer is the psychologist Loredana Lipperini)about how stereotyped are the girls ,and boys, in modern society, it analyzes mostly Italian situation, where our politics and media, especially tv, highly sexualized the new generation.
Anyway, I'm mostly surrounded by pink, toys and clothes everywhere!But I'm glad that my children love a lot of colours and I'm proud of my dad too, that often wears pink with extreme confidence!
You look amazing in your bright dresses, my favourite is the hawaiian maxi!! Thank you for sharing your childhood photos, they are lovely!! And your beautiful daughter looks radiant and elegant with her cousin!!
Love xxxxx

Tamera Wolfe said...

your eldest is growing up so lovely!!

You look fabulous in both of your pink frocks!!

I've also come around to pink these days--not much on pale pastel pink but bright in your face pink--I'm all over it!!

Dawn Elliott said...

I agree with you that (pale)pink is WWWAAAAYYYY overdone in the little girls' department...try finding a pair of sneakers in a different color! Let's face it...all colors are better in rich, vibrant hues...and you totally rock it with your vintage dress! Oh yes, pink has its place, as do some of the mundane colors you mentioned...but they always need something to shake them up! Hot pink/fuchia is a great place to start!

Ulla-Marie Nilsson said...

"commercialised pink vagina". Got to remember that expression and use it whenever I got a chance. You shall continue to wear pink by the way ...

Anonymous said...

I've understood the complaints about pink...and yet, it must be one of my colors for I always get so many compliments when I wear a pale shade of it. And here's to missing one's eldest. Mine has just returned to Montana after living with us for two years.

Emalina said...

Very glad you've made your peace with pink dear Curtise, as it looks great on you! Those childhood photos are adorable, and as for your Eldest isn't she looking so sophisticated and grown up.

Vintage Coconut said...

Curtise you look REALLY good in that pink dress. I mean it is TOTALLY YOU!
I hated pink as a teenager. I would not even entertain the thought of it on my body. It wasn't until my mid 20s when I started to wear it and even like it a little. =D
Your childhood pics are so super cute.

señora Allnut said...

oh yes, dear lady, I've hated Pink so much, as a symbol of all that stupid stereotypes and conventionalism, but now I'm accepting there's some fun in Shiny Pink!!, and you rock your fabulous vintage dresses with some bright pink sassiness!!
But I think there's no hope in saving Beige for a funny style, it's a soul sucker color! (I wish I would not ate my words in the future!)
besos & rosa

Marla Robinson said...

love both those dresses but I really like that maxi

bonsaimum said...

A little pink never hurt anyone. I must admit I have come to pink later in life as now there are so many beautiful shades to choose from.

Vix said...

You look glorious, that Hawaiian dress is an absolute beauty and Leisa's is fab on you.
Pink comes with so many preconceptions, doesn't it? Its been Jon's favourite colour for years but I loathed it as a blonde, deluding myself into thinking I wouldn't be taken seriously enough if I wore it.
I hate those piles of cast off little girls' pink crap at car boots and the appalling tool kits and electrical goods aimed at us.
How adorable were you and your sis as kiddies?
The Ritz? I washed up there as a catering student, never got upstairs!
Love you! xxxxxxxx

Anonymous said...

Curtise, the Hawaiian maxi is glorious on you! There's omething about pink with red hair that's extra special.

One of my design teachers said years ago, "There are no ugly colors; only ineffective uses of color." Right on.

Have always's loved pink, but it is an awful color on me as I look best in earth tones (although my husband ROCKS pink). I agree with your statement about so much pink in the girls' departments. I liked Vix's comment about it showing up in secondhand heaps; truly nauseating. It's like "Pink Death".

Pink seems to carry over into women's wear in excess along with purple and teal/turquoise as if that's all we're interested in wearing. Those are all great colors, but I have often resorted to buying from the men's department or sewing my own garments to get the earth toned colored clothing I want.

Love it when you post your childhood photos. You were (and still are) such a cutie! :)


Sacramento Amate said...

Nice to be back to your colourful beauty.

Melanie said...

You look fab Curtise :)
I've always liked pink and it suits me I've been told which is a bonus. My favourite colour is red but I don't have enough of that in my wardrobe which should be rectified.
I know what you mean about the girl aisle at Toys R Us, it's quite horrifying xx

Lynn Dylan said...

I have always loved pink, but certain shades of it I have never liked! Isn't that funny! I loved seeing your old photos!!