2 minute read
It wasn’t always the case that pink was for girls and blue was for boys. In fact clothing for babies was gender neutral as recently as the early part of the 20th century when both sexes wore white dresses from early infancy up through the age of 6.
It was not until the mid-19th century that pink and blue first arrived as colours for babies, yet the two colours were not promoted as gender signifiers until just before World War I — and even then, it took time for popular culture to sort things out. From a 1918 publication called Earnshaw’s Infants Department, “Up until the 1920’s the generally accepted rule was pink is for the boys, and blue was for the girls. The reason behind this was that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is best suited for boys, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.” As Leatrice Eiseman notes in Colors For Your Every Mood, “the shift in perception slowly took place in the 1920’s with the proliferation of pretty pinks identified with feminine cosmetics and blues became the stronger more masculine color.”
While today we are experiencing a gender blur in many parts of the world, men and women alike are revolting against more rigid gender codes. Today’s genderless styling is not necessarily about trying to make a man look like a woman or a woman look like a man, it is about creating a canvas which can be adapted to any style.