It’s October 3rd, and you know what that means, it’s Mean Girls day. It’s also a Wednesday, and ‘on Wednesdays we wear pink’. While we were discussing Mean Girls Day at our latest blogging meeting and how we should all wear pink, Elizabeth pointed out that a lot of sports teams were already doing this for Sinners. They were not, however, prompted by Mean Girls day, but by Coppafeel. She also brought to our attention that the whole of October is actually Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Now, we may be a style blog, but I thought that I would be being remiss in my position as editor if I did not use this opportunity to highlight such an important issue. In the UK, 1 in 8 women will experience breast cancer in their lifetime and 400 men are diagnosed every year. It may sound weird to say, but cancer is a very big part of my life: all my grandparents developed the disease at some point in their lives, and I lost my mother to Ovarian cancer nearly three years ago. Consequently, I am aware that any mention of cancer is heightened in my consciousness. I am also aware, however, that (thankfully) not everyone has had an experience like mine. Cancer lurks on the sidelines of many people’s lives and doesn’t come into play in anything other than a horrible, life-altering circumstance. This is why the work of campaigns such as Coppafeel and the Breast Cancer Awareness Month are so important, they spread the word and make people think about these issues BEFORE it’s too late. Maja even noted how Coppafeel helped her own mother to detect her own Breast Cancer early, a really important event as early detection significantly improves the survival rate for all types of cancer.
But hang on, this is a street style blog. How did we get on from a conversation about Mean Girls to a conversation about the early detection of Breast Cancer? Well, it was just by the mention of the colour pink. All colours have their own connotations, and the colour pink definitely has a few of its own, ranging from little girls’ sundresses to fighting Breast Cancer. It made me think about how powerful simply the colour of what we decide to put on our body is. About what kind of message we inadvertently send out into the world without even realising it.
So, I asked the bloggers to do an experiment for me. I asked them to put together an outfit that had pink in it, wear the outfit, and then reflect on how that made them feel. This is what they thought:
Even as someone who really likes the colour pink, I found it hard to find pink clothing in my wardrobe (Although, I own a few pink dresses for nights out, but unfortunately it might be considered a bit much to go to a lecture in a bandage dress). What I did find is that I own a lot of clothing with pink accents, so I decided to compose an outfit from these items.
This prompted me to wonder why, even as someone who likes pink, I don’t own a lot of it. I thought maybe there is still somewhat of a stereotype attached to pink within fashion – that you can’t wear it if you want to be taken seriously. You find a lot of pink going out and dressing up outfits. Shopping for a pink jumper, on the other hand, often proves difficult – and when you do find pink everyday clothing, it often looks childish. I think to some extent pink is still seen as this ultra “girly”, Barbie-esque colour and when women want to be taken seriously, they often steer away from it. Personally, I think this attitude should change. First of all, colours are colours, they don’t signify what gender you identify with. But I see pink as the colour of the breast cancer ribbon, and it’s a colour that reminds me of how so many women fight and beat breast cancer every day. Pink is and should be badass!
This is about the most pink my outfit will ever get. It’s not that I don’t like the color, I do. It’s just that it’s a color I have never managed to make work for me and my complexion. I tend to stray away from lighter colors, staying true to the old stereotype that New Yorkers only wear black. However, as we come into Breast Cancer awareness month and with the rise in popularity of ‘Millennial Pink’, my opinion of the color has changed. It has become such a powerful color that represents strength and uniformity. It has become more than just a feminine hue; it is now a symbol of our generation and the obstacles we must (unfortunately) still overcome. So despite my inability to style pink into an outfit, I still believe in its power and importance in our culture today. And at least I have a few pink accessories to keep up with the trends!
I’ve always loved the colour pink, but I’ve never really thought about the reason why. On a basic level, it’s just a color that I find attractive. However, pink has so many qualities associated with it that make it a unique hue. To many people, it can symbolize femininity. To some, wearing pink gives out a vibe of sweetness, even purity. It lends itself to a Valley Girl stereotype, but can also read as quite infantile. When you walk out of the house in a dainty, pale pink dress and don’t confine to these stereotypes, the result is a sometimes startling contradiction of perceived personality versus actual character. It goes to show the power of a single color to influence people’s opinions of others.
What I like most about the color pink is it comes in varying shades and intensities meaning, although it might seem like an overwhelming fashion choice, it can range from subtle and classic to bold and statement worthy. Blush, coral, peach, and rose can act as neutrals and are easier to incorporate into any outfit. From my favorite baby pink sneakers to my blush colored jeans or a pastel sweater, it is simple, sweet, and unassuming. Whereas magenta, fuchsia, or hot pink pack a punch. Even a small dose, via a scarf, lipstick, or statement jewellery can make you feel confident, stylish, and ready to take on the world. I love the color pink because it is versatile enough to truly work for anyone and adds a kick of confidence when doing so.
Little girls wear pink, right? That’s what the world told me when I was growing up and, as a result, pink was my favourite colour. When I hit my teens however, I realised that your sartorial palette should never be limited by how you choose to identify. So I branched out, moving away from my once-loved shade. Maybe that’s why I found this challenge particularly difficult, due to the current lack of pink in my wardrobe. Luckily, my friend Aelish was able to help me out. I’ve styled her pink corduroy trousers with a black turtleneck and boots, keeping the rest of the outfit minimal so the trousers are the star of the show.
I’ve never really had a strong opinion on wearing pink – it just wasn’t really something I did. Middle school marked a bit of a tomboy phase for me, so pink was naturally excluded from my wardrobe. As for now, I tend to stay away from colour and anything that makes me look younger than I already do (as a 5’3”, baby-faced 20-year-old too lazy to do her makeup, airport security, bartenders and movie theatre employees tend to take a second look). BUT breast cancer awareness month is as good an excuse as any to raid my flatmate’s (very pink) closet. It’s also the month that my mum was diagnosed early – because she checked herself. She’s all good now, but I like to remind people – especially throughout October – to take that little extra time out of their day and to see a doctor if anything seems off!
I’ve always been a pink girl, it was my favourite colour for so many years, and the colour of my room, my bags, shoes, pencil cases, nail varnish. Which is why I was so surprised to look in my wardrobe, ready to style a pink outfit for this blog, and find that I had barely any pink (Thanks to my uber fashionable flatmate for letting me raid her wardrobe instead for these trousers). I found a lot of pink details in some of my clothes, but nothing of significance, apart from my pink running trainers (bought with the hope of motivating me to go on more runs, but instead I am guilty for just wearing sports kit when I can’t be bothered to get properly dressed). I used to always say that pink doesn’t suit me, it’s not my colour and I blush far too easily to wear a top that might clash with my face. But I now think maybe that’s not completely true. In my first year at St Andrews, I wore a short, bright pink dress to Christmas Ball, completely plain, just pink. I remember trying the dress on and really loving it, I thought it really suited me, and I was really excited to wear it. When I put it on again, however, before going to pres, I suddenly felt so self conscious about it. All my friends were in muted colours, and then one of the boys I was with, before saying anything else, said loudly ‘No one’s going to lose Suzie tonight!’. All I wanted was to go back to my flat and change into something else.
Why do we all pull faces when someone says they’re going to wear all pink? Would I have been less worried about my dress if it was blue maybe, or even red? A statement red dress is a classic piece, so why not pink? The negative connotations around pink, it being too tacky or too girly, are completely unjustified and this shouldn’t scare anyone into not wearing it. For May Ball in my second year I wore a short, pink, and sparkly this time, dress and loved it. I didn’t feel self conscious once, and it just made me think of all the time I’d wasted at those Christmas Ball pres in first year. Just because I maybe looked a bit like Elle Woods, but why was that have to be a bad thing? I loved the dress, when I first tried it on it gave me confidence and that’s the most important thing.
As most of the bloggers noted, pink is a colour that is so often associated with femininity. But also frequently an infantile form of femininity. Childhood is a time when we are weak because we do not know a lot about the world, but it is also a time when we are strong because we are fearless. This, to me, is a perfect reason for why pink is often used in Cancer campaigns. We do not know everything about Cancer, there is no cure, but everyone I have ever met who has developed Cancer has always fought with such fearlessness, whether they have won their battle or not.
So, today, on Wednesday 3rd October ‘we wear pink’ not because we are scared of not fitting it, not because we are scared of the future. But because together we are fearless and we can fight anything.
Editor: Grace Thorner