Dressing in a clash of colours, prints and patterns brings me immense joy and has done ever since I realised blue jeans and a white t-shirt were never going to scratch that style itch I’ve harboured since I could pick up a Fashion Wheel*. As such, I want to thank Valentino, Gucci, Balenciaga and to a degree, Glossier, for bringing back the trend of pairing red and pink together in recent seasons.
Although red can be considered a very masculine colour – traditionally associated with mythical gods, war and the military – both red and pink have such feminine connotations in the fashion and beauty world. Think the glamour of a matte red lip, or the cacophony of pink clothes marketed at girls from the minute they are born. Since Millennial Pink erupted five years ago and hot pink pussy hats dominated Women’s Marches across the globe in January 2017, it feels like a colour once derogatively labeled “girly” is finally being reclaimed, and you get a double whammy when you pair it with red.
I first became intoxicated with this colour combination over a decade ago, when I saved money from my first part-time job to buy a fine knit cardigan from French Connection with bright red and pink stripes, red ribbed cuffs and matching red buttons. Back then I would never have dreamed of pairing it with a mustard yellow skirt or floral trousers as I would today, but something about the eye-popping clash of colours spoke to me.
Fast forward to last autumn, when I popped into Old Navy while my little sister-in-law was visiting, and ended up walking out with a pair of bubblegum pink trousers and an orangey red slogan sweatshirt. Since then, the trousers have been worn so frequently that, after our trip back to the UK in November, I had to hide them at the back of the closet because I was getting pink trouser fatigue.
This outfit/colour combination is so garishly cheerful that it almost takes on a sense of power – Barbara Kruger meets Barbie – it is extreme in a way that only two psychologically and politically charged colours can be when paired together. It’s loud and demands attention, which is rather unfortunate when you’re a bit of a wallflower like me, but I know I’ll get a lot of joy from wearing this outfit for a long time, even if it does attract a few raised eyebrows.
Red slogan sweatshirt – Old Navy / Pink trousers – Old Navy / Navy neoprene slip ons – Zara / Turquoise tote bag – Baggu
*Does anyone else remember those? One of my favourite Christmas presents ever!