How to Wear Pink without Looking Girly

So, you've got by now a fairly good idea on how to incorporate more colour into your winter wardrobe. But then, there is PINK.

Is Pink just another colour? All the symbolisms and the silly associations of pink have pretty much destroyed an otherwise pretty and innocent (oh, the irony!)  colour.  But that’s the thing isn’t it? Pink is pretty. It’s innocent. It’s frilly, loud and unapologetically girly. It’s the colour of the Barbie doll and all those conventions of what a woman, or a girl for that matter, is or should be like. (Perhaps you’d argue that this isn’t the case anymore, in which case I’d say I know enough cases to say that it’s not gone either.)

From Marie Claire UK

I guess it’s hard for a woman to see pink as just a colour. It's a divisive subject at best. Some love it, some hate it. Looking at it from a clearly objective place, I believe we would all admire it. It’s warm but it can also be cool. It can give colour to an otherwise bland outfit but it can also be extremely loud and exhume confidence. But I won’t go on. You know what I mean.

As a small child, I did wear pink. Or rather my mum wore me pink. Not too much like some small girls who look like a bubble-gum has exploded all over them. No, it was always quite subtle and mixed with other colours. As I grew up I grew more distant. I didn’t like looking like a girly girl. I wanted to be tough (or look the part) and I believed pink was not the colour that would offer me that. I mean, I was obviously beyond silly. Pink was associated in my head with frivolousness, mindlessness, extreme romanticism and weakness. I was forever team anti-pink.

Photo: Norman Wong

As I grew older I started realising how disturbing my viewpoint on the matter was. I started seeing pink from a different angle. I even got through a phase when I was really into “girly” clothes: I was wearing dresses and my hair were gathered in romantic braids and complicated up-dos! (I blame Zooey Deschanel for that.) But, even then, pink didn’t appear in any of my get-ups.

Nowadays, I have some pretty pink notebooks and home decorations but you’d have to look extremely hard to find anything pink in my wardrobe. “Oh wait! I see something over there under that rack of long dresses. Oh, yeah ok, that’s the 'never-been-worn-and- never-will-be' pile to be donated. Never mind, carry on.”

That is why I’m now actively trying to wear more pink. I’ve come to the realisation that I can manage to put together an outfit featuring pink without giving myself a toothache or resembling Blossom in any other way other than being a total badass. Without further ado then (because it seems ado, ado, that’s all I do), I give you some ways I’ve found that I can wear pink without wanting to change the minute I step out of my front door.

How to wear pink during your normal day

I guess this doesn’t need much explaining. Depending on your personal style I’m sure you can find a pink item that you could incorporate into your existing wardrobe. I would consider adding some jewellery, for example, that are more geometric and strict to counteract the romantic nature of the colour.

Keeping it grown-up:

This is just my thing. I’m usually either going to grunge things up or make them look more masculine and chic. There are many ways to do that depending on the occasion. Here are some suggestions that I’ve found work great for me:

Formal Attire:

If you choose it as the main colour of a formal, evening or occasion outfit, make sure you get something slightly more structured. I’d avoid a bodycon pink dress coz it’d make me feel too try-hard and like a Barbie doll. (Though I’m not blonde so I’d probably be Barbie’s bestie.)

 If I wanted a dress, I’d choose a midi one probably but one that doesn’t call out frumpy from miles away. This is why I’d steer clear of ditsy floral prints.

Otherwise, you could go with the oh-so-trendy suit as occasion wear. I really, really love this one. Anything offering that kind of juxtaposition and mixing of gender norms, I’m always on board with. 

Lastly, no matter what pink item you choose, I’d suggest you pair it with a good heel. It will lift the outfit and make you look sophisticated. No one will mistake  you for your little sister. I mean, imagine how great that dress would look with these fierce heels.

Casual Wear:

   Combine anything pink with more structured elements. Add a sophisticated, geometric, marble necklace, wear a pink jumper with a pair of lined trousers and a long luxurious coat.

   Avoid wearing anything that is both pink and collared. Especially a peter pan one. I mean I know people could pull this off without looking like 12-year-olds but, unfortunately, I haven’t found the secret formula yet. I’m sure Alexa has.

      Pair the pinks with masculine pieces. It makes pink a conscious choice, not an unhappy mistake. Their contrast is sure to make an impact.

      Feel free to grunge it up if that’s your thing. Wear pink with combat boots, military shirts (the right pink with the right khaki is an original but amazing combination), chunky jewellery, oversized outerwear, any Dr Martens shoe.

      If you like playing with make-up then pay attention to it too. If you want to avoid looking girly, you could wear just a plain but impactful red lip. Or if 90’s is more your style, do like Kylie Jenner and wear a brown lip, or a really dark one.

Favourite Colour Combinations:

This is just some of the colour combinations that pop into my mind when I think of wearing pink with other colours. There is just so much more that black and blue!

Found on Pinterest. Photo by The Sartorialist.

         Pink + Red: This one packs a punch and isn’t for the faint-hearted but it certainly makes a statement.

         Pink + Blue: A classic combo. The blue can be either dark or light. If both colours are pastel you could be leaning towards “girly” territory so if you wish to avoid that, add something black or toughen the outfit with a chunky, silver ring for example, or by keeping the outfit modern in clean lines. Masculine garments can also work.

         Pink + Brown: When I think of this one, I’m instantly transported in a warm and cosy environment, in a cottage, in front of a fireplace. Like pink and khaki, it’s not been done to death. Play around with them and find the right colour combination. 

         Pink + Black: The classic. When in doubt go black.

         Prints: Not technically a combo but I assume it already mixes many colours. If it’s a flower print, go for bigger ones, since the really small ones can look too girly. Again, there are exceptions (see the Topshop Unique SS 2016 show, which kind of dismisses all my points but hey-ho!).

Have Fun!

Most importantly, how you wear pink is up to you. I’m sure you can come up with so many more combinations and ways to make it look more mature, grunge, feminine or whatever else you might fancy. There really are no rules in fashion! These, are just some things that I would come up with faced with a pink jumper. So go ahead and tell me yours!