Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Pink or Blue? Boy or Girl?

Why & when did we choose blue for a boy & pink for a girl? 
Here at mirror ball studios I have just welcomed the arrival of my very own and very first little lady mirror ball.  Full of new sparkle, radiance and colour this is a little lady who is indeed going to light up our lives.  
As a new mother I have become a little consumed by all things baby and how I would embrace the arrival of a boy one and how I would embrace a girl one.  Would I even find out in advance or would I leave it to be a big surprise?
As a stylist it got me to thinking about gender, stereotyping and personality transferal, all issues that I work with in my work with adults.  Would I go down the pink route, would I wrap my little lady in clothes that satisfy my penchant for the creative, the dramatic and the vintage?  Would I secretly hope to dress my little bundle as a mini me. 
The answer to all these questions is ........ well, yes.  I probably would.  In reality I am not a Pink Princess mum to be - not that I object to those that are but I have found myself embracing the 'pink' route.  Just as I was pondering why this should be the wonderful gals at Colour Me Beautiful blogged this article addressing that very phenomenon. 
Just why and when did we accept the pink and blue colour code? 
image from:
It would seen that as recently as the 1800′s baby boys actually wore pink because it was considered a stronger shade and therefore more appropriate for them. Meanwhile girls got blue because it was considered a more delicate, appropriate shade for them.
It seems we haven’t discovered a specific reason or an event in history to justify the current tradition of blue for  boys and pink for girls; but the tradition continues and no doubt the new royal baby boy will be receiving some blue garments. The Smithsonian continues to say that “Today’s color dictate wasn’t established until the 1940′s, as a result of American’s preferences as interpreted by manufacturers and retailers” (and no doubt the same happened in Britain).   It could have “gone the other way”,  says historian Jo Paoletti, who added that “Baby boomers were raised in specific clothing.  Boys dressed like their fathers, girls like their mothers”.
Shiloh Jolie-Pitt
When you meet a newborn it is difficult to know what gender they are, unless you know the parents. So, perhaps we became accustomed to using this gender-specific colour coding to avoid embarrassment of getting it wrong.  Most girls go through a big pink fairy-princess phase, for which there appears to be no blindingly apparent reason, although there have been studies revealing that the majority of women’s colour choices  lean towards the red end of the colour spectrum.
Of course despite my own aspirations that my little girl will ADORE MY STYLE and will embrace my creative streak, it doesn’t necessarily follow that girls adopt their mother’s style either.  Currently little lady mirror ball is too young to be giving me any nod in the style stakes and I have only fleetingly considered the possibility that she may be a tomboy, a la Angelina's Jolie's little girl, Shiloh.
It seems that we develop our own tastes and preferences in clothes and find the colours that we like rather early on.  Most young children appear to choose their clothes based on colour or pattern or a picture on their clothing.   Parenting expert and author Meri Wallace says “having a favourite colour makes them unique…It’s all about asserting the independence and saying 'I can choose'. 
As adults, we don't always have time to think about our favourite colours to wear or whether it really suits us and we often fall into habits such as wearing black for work “because it’s easy”, or pulling on leggings “because I haven’t got time and nothing else fits”.  Having a few trusty neutral items to fall back on is fine, but if sticking to what you know means constantly choosing the same colourless pieces or ultra-casual clothes, then you are missing out on looking and feeling your best. 
Remember how you used to love wearing that little red dress, silver shoes and pink cardigan? I still do - what about you?
Get your inner 'girl' or 'boy' on.  Love and Sparkle, Lady Mirror Ball 
Article adapted from a blog post that first appeared on - partner of Mirror Ball Studios

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