July is here, and with it comes that annual rush of colour into menswear lines everywhere. But there’s one hue that some men still avoid like the plague… Lads, it’s time to embrace pink.
It’s drummed into us from an early age; pink is a colour for girls, and blue is a colour for boys. It’s in gendered clothing, toys and storybooks — but the notion of pink as being for girls is a relatively new one.
Up until the early 1900s, pink was, in fact, considered very manly indeed. Red was the colour of the military and hot-blooded masculinity, and so pink, being a softer version of red, was imbued with these same qualities. Conversely, the light blue we associate with baby boys was seen as distinctly feminine.
“There has been a great diversity of debate on the subject, but the generally accepted rule is pink for the boys and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger colour, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.” — Ladies’ Home Journal, June 1918
What utter cobblers. Guys have been looking good in baby blue button downs since the Eighties, and Drake and Pharrell are living proof that you can look sharp as hell in Barbie pink. The very idea of a colour being innately masculine or feminine is nonsense. It’s 2017, and old-fashioned gender binaries don’t hold the sway they once did.
In women’s fashion, there are no unspoken rules about which colours are or aren’t allowed. In fact, from time to time I find myself getting slightly envious of the variety of choice enjoyed by female shoppers. Menswear in the very same store looks pretty boring by comparison. For guys, summer has always meant shorts and a T-shirt, or some variety thereof. Fortunately, that’s starting to change, with playsuits and flowing, blousey shirts finding their way into men’s fashion lines.
And there’s no better time to become more adventurous, as men’s summer fashion is finally becoming more varied, with celebrities like Harry Styles and Jayden Smith popularising a more fluid approach to male fashion, not to mention the indomitable rise of the romper.
So this summer, inject as much colour into your wardrobe as you can. I’m talking bold floral prints for the beach, soft pastels for the pub, and bright, eye-catching suits for those inevitable summer weddings. Because real masculinity is about having the confidence to wear whatever the hell you want, regardless of what other people think.