It all started with this pink t-shirt dress. An unusual purchase for me not long before Covid19 hit the world. A purchase motivated by the changes to my body post pregnancy (of baby Lucille) and a spur of the moment craving for colour, and of all colours; pink.

 

Pink is not a colour that features in my wardrobe. As an adult I felt like I had what can only be described as an aversion to it. I was forced to think about pink when I found out baby Lucille was a girl. I knew I would struggle with the usual stereotypes of pink for girls and blue for boys nonsense, and as frustrating as these stereotypes are (I’ve discovered there are many when it comes to children’s clothing), I feel that so far, I have navigated this stereotype well. It was only when I bought this pink t-shirt dress for myself that I started to question why I never wear pink because when I wore the pink dress, I felt great in it.

I saw a picture of myself in the pink t-shirt dress when I was pregnant with Remy, and I wondered where that person and feeling had gone. Remembering that feeling, and not being able to wear the dress because I was 678 weeks pregnant, I decided to recreate that feeling, and just like that, I found the very same colour pink in a maternity jumper. I purchased zero clothing for baby Remy’s pregnancy, so decided my money would be well spent. And it was. That pink jumper was the only thing that got me through the last few weeks of me growing and waiting. One, because it fit thanks to the adjustable buttons on either side of my expanding belly and two, because I felt good in it. Mission accomplished. But again, how, after all these years of not wearing pink, was I now finding pleasure in this colour?

I decided to do some research and found myself in a rabbit hole of all things pink. Anna Claire Mauney’s The Color Pink: A Cultural History gives a nice snippet of the colour’s history and its representation in relation to broader cultural changes. Pink hasn’t always been associated with gender. Anna Claire Mauney references its early origins where it was genderless, rather a status symbol. She also highlights the use of the pink triangle and how in recent years, the LGBTQI+ community have reclaimed this symbol, previously a persecutory symbol of gay men used by the Nazis.

I can’t help but wonder, growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, how much of what was happening around, both culturally and closer to home (think traditional Italian family) was seeping into my brain. On reflection, it was only when I entered the work force that I started to detest pink and what I felt it represented. Up until that point, I was fortune enough to have been surrounded, thanks to my education by an ethos that empowered me to be whoever I wanted. I completed my secondary schooling in Melbourne, at an all girls public school and to this day I am forever grateful for the foundation it gave me. It wasn’t all rosey, – let’s face it those teen years can be traumatising – but not once during those years did I think being a girl was a disadvantage. It wasn’t an overt ethos that was drilled in to me, it was happening by osmosis. I was surrounded by girls being educated in all fields, girls of different races, with different interests and ideas, being encouraged to, as corny as it sounds, follow their dreams. Despite having this solid foundation of ‘women can do anything’, somehow I still allowed others’ perceptions and stereotypes to influence what I wore, or in this case what I didn’t wear; pink.

With all that in mind, it was time for me to embrace pink and change my own narrative of what the colour represents. Having Lucille definitely forced me to confront this. My not so baby Lucille is now at an age where she likes to pick what she wears and if that choice is pink, I’m going with it. I do have my limitations of course but these limits come with education. When Lucille wears pink, I don’t see a weak, submissive girl. It is in fact the very opposite. I see an inquisitive, independent, affectionate, vulnerable and strong willed little person, and those characteristics are hers, regardless of what colour she is wearing.

My fabulous pink t-shirt dress; simple, comfortable and versatile. It makes me feel nothing but fun and confident when I wear it, and isn’t that the point of fashion; to make us feel good? That’s why I wear the clothes I do. Now that I have sorted that out and am officially open to having pink in my wardrobe, I’m faced with my next challenge, and one I didn’t see coming; boys clothes. I’ll save that for another day.

xo

The Vampire’s Wife and The Royal Ballet

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