Is There Meaning Behind ‘Millennial Pink’?

So-called ‘Millennial Pink’ has pervaded social media for the last few years. It seems strange that after years of neutral ‘scandi colours’ being the go-to colour palette that pink should take over. It’s hard to escape this shade (or shades) of pink in the world of social media and, don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I love how ‘Millennial Pink’ looks, as you might be able to tell from the outfit I’m wearing in this post. It’s a relatively neutral colour but still definitely moves away from a monochrome colour palette and, despite perhaps pretending I didn’t like it in my early teens because it wasn’t ‘cool’, I really do like the colour pink. But what is it about it that everyone has suddenly gone crazy for?

Pink has long been a colour associated with girlhood and femininity. Because of this, I feel like many people detach themselves from it when they’re growing up. I guess this can be an act of feminist rebellion or an attempt to impress boys at school and show them that ‘you’re not like other girls’ (YAWN!)- for me it was probably, sub-consciously, a little bit of both. I never totally turned my back on the colour pink but I do think I associated it with not being very ‘cool’ during my high school years (perhaps this has something to do with the fact that I remember owning a book called ‘Pink Knickers Aren’t Cool’- not sure if I ever got round to reading it but perhaps I made an assumption from the title). Whether this is something that everyone experiences, I’m not sure, but I definitely think the colour pink went through a period of being out of fashion.

So why is it suddenly the colour of the moment? Perhaps it’s a re-claiming of the typically feminine colour, an attempt to re-define it as genderless. I like this theory but I don’t think that’s really why my Instagram feed is permeated by the colour. The Cut, in their analysis of millennial pink made the point that ‘gone is the girly-girl baggage; now it’s androgynous.’ And this is true. Millennial pink has transformed this feminine colour into something that features in bars and restaurants whose target audience is made up equally of both genders. Menswear has definitely taken note on the trend too and incorporated it with success. But what about a hot pink or a magenta? Are they still ‘uncool’ and ‘girly’? Is this neutral shade of pink as far as society is willing to go in dissolving gender stereotypes? Maybe I’m looking into it too much (this is a very regular occurrence for me as an English student) but I think there’s interesting discussion to be had here.

Going back to the early 2010’s obsession with neutral colour schemes, I am really curious as to how we came to pick a shade of pink as the colour of the moment. The Guardian puts it down to various things including Wes Anderson’s colour scheme throughout ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ and the creation of the rose gold iPhone (although I personally would not describe rose gold as anything close to millennial pink but maybe that’s a little pedantic). They describe it as representing ‘a kind of ironic prettiness, or post-prettiness. It’s a way to be pretty while retaining your intellectual detachment. It’s a wish that prettiness could de-problematised.’ I found this so interesting. Again, I think this links back to the gender stereotypes attached to the colour. Pink is perceived as girly, vain and maybe even vapid. But ‘Millennial Pink’ is neutral, sophisticated and ‘artsy’ (the fact that it featured so heavily in a Wes Anderson film, I think, immediately attaches this cultural element to it). Do we really all still care about the stereotypes attached to colours? Did we ever? The phenomenon of ‘trending colours’ in itself suggests so in my opinion.

Like I said, I really could be looking into this too much but it’s something that fascinates me. I’d also like to make a disclaimer that I am in no way attacking Millennial Pink or people who use/like it as I am one of those people and it genuinely is a very appealing colour. This is an outfit that I love despite it’s relevance to the post and it’s truly a colour I wear often.

Anyway, before moving on to talk about this outfit, I’d like to include some of the comments on The Guardian’s article about millennial pink here as they amused me greatly and they deserve to be shared. One commenter shares ‘I like it because it’s dull and inoffensive’, which makes my analysis seem a little bit pointless. Can’t really argue with them though- fair enough!

A comment thread that is a bit more relevant to this post (phew!) and made me laugh reads as such:

“Commenter One:

I call it rosegold myself. Pink is too feminine.

Commenter Two:
Rosegold is far more butch
Commenter Three:
Rosegoddamngold.
Commenter Four:
Colours have genders? Who knew?”

I hope you enjoyed those comments as much as I did! Anyway, to talk about these photos/this outfit a little bit- firstly, I am so happy with how they came out and am very impressed with my mum’s photography! After staring at endless amounts of cherry blossom trees out the window on my bus journey to and from UNI, I was determined to get some photos with them, and luckily enough we have one right outside my house. Even more lucky is that I bought this jumper only a couple of weeks ago and it co-ordinates perfectly with said cherry blossom. I love this jumper because it’s really reminiscent of the Ganni jumper that I swooned over for months during winter but is obviously way out of my price range. After seeing this Urban Outfitters version on Georgia Meramo, I patiently waited for it to go in the sale and managed to pick it up for over 50% off at £21- not too bad! Paired with my Topshop cords, this really does make for the perfect millennial pink outfit in my opinion (even if I’m ‘technically’ too young to be a millennial). Despite my previous discussion of removing gender stereotypes, I really do like how my more ‘boyish’ converse counteract the femininity of my straw bag and also maintain a neutral colour palette against the pink.

I’d love to hear your views on the symbolic meaning of the colour that has perhaps defined the ‘Instagram generation’ (I don’t know if that’s a real phrase or if I’ve just made it up). Do you think it means anything or do you just think people simply like the colour? Feel free to tell me that I’m looking into it too much- I won’t be offended at all because it’s something I have to remind myself of every single day as a chronic over-thinker. But I also like to think that everything in life has some sort of meaning, so there you have it!

Jumper- Urban Outfitters

Trousers- Topshop (sold out, similar here)

Sunglasses- Warehouse (old, similar here)

Shoes- Converse

Bag- Zara 

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