Millennials give the pink shirt new life
THE psychological phenomenon of the moment is groupthink pink.
The colour is more popular than rosé at a French garden party. It seems possible that 2017 will eclipse 1955 as “the peak year for pink”, as Life magazine effused that spring, beneath a Gordon Parks photo.
Over here, the eye spies the cosy androgyny of millennial pink; over there, the feminine pink of models on runways and the feminist pink of women on marches.
And now its shades are ready to storm the torso of the business-class dude.
“Pink is a best-seller this season for Thomas Mason,” said Tim Neckebroeck, brand manager for the venerable British shirtmaker. “The elegance, undoubtedly, is also having a good dose of courage.”
Though it may require a smidgen of daring for some men to wear pink, we can safely lay to rest the notion that the colour is impossibly epicene, inescapably preppy, or in any case unworthy to be worn by a modern adult male.
Sure, it is inadvisable to wear a pink shirt to certain job interviews, board meetings, and bail hearings, but the garment is generally correct and s ur pri s i ngly versatile.
A pale pink shirt is at its best cheering up a grey suit, enlivening a navy blazer, or endowing a neutral shade with a jolt of joie de vivre. But you might think twice before wearing it with a very light tan suit, stone-coloured chinos, or anything else that might get you mistaken for some kind of antique ice cream man.
And while you generally do not want to be wearing a black suit in any event (unless at a funeral, with you in the casket), if you wear a pink shirt with a blackish suit, you will take on a resemblance to a gangster looking flush after a big score.
As it happens, this pinkshirt spring brings a Broadway revival of John Guare’s Six Degrees of Separation, a 1990 play that contains a great pinkshirt moment. (It is arguably the finest in the American dramatic arts, rivalled only by the Risky Business dance scene.)
The plot concerns an imposter, named Paul, who talks his way into the lives of a New York art dealer by pretending to be the son of actor Sidney Poitier and a Harvard schoolmate of their children.
Early in the play, the couple gives Paul their son’s pink shirt after his own shirt is ruined in a (faked) mugging; after the impostor has been discovered and the children informed, the son throws a memorable fit: “You gave him my pink shirt? You gave a complete stranger my pink shirt? That pink shirt was a Christmas present from you. I treasured that shirt.”
The tantrum is a great moment of comic relief, and the particular shirt is a fine Ivy League-status detail.
William Ivey Long, who designed the costumes for the original stage production, chose one by Paul Stuart that was “slightly adventurous” – a euphemism for “loud”.
“If worn by a Caucasian preppy, as opposed to an African-American preppy, it would not look right,” he said.
There is, in this observation, a lesson for anyone – especially white guys planning to get in on the pink shirt thing. – Bloomberg
The elegance, undoubtedly, is also having a good dose of courage