Pretty in pink

2010-10-15 13:20

The colour pink is so quint­essentially feminine that ­it could be wired into women’s DNA. But what most ­people don’t know is that until the 1940s, Western culture associated pink with men because it was seen as the closest thing to red, which was deemed a strong, masculine colour.

Women, on the other hand, were assigned the more delicate baby blue colour.

Things changed when society’s norms were challenged (World War?1 challenged gender stereotypes as women entered the workplace), and so did the colours.

There are many interesting titbits about the colour pink. For instance, while most South Africans grew up calling pornographic films blue movies, in Japan they are called pink movies because the colour cherry-blossom pink is associated with female genitalia.

In Thailand, pink is associated with Tuesday on the Thai solar calendar. This means anyone may wear pink on Tuesdays. And if you were born on a Tuesday, pink is your signature colour.

Colour therapist Gayle Friedman from the Sunshine Colour Academy in Cape Town says pink has powers.

“The colour pink is related to the heart and is very loving. It’s a combination of red and white, which are colours for earthiness and purity. This colour helps to soften the person. In men, it may help them get in touch with their feminine side.”

Friedman says bright pink stimulates energy and can increase blood pressure, respiration, heartbeat and one’s pulse rate.

Here are some ways to infuse some pink happiness in your life:

Men in pink
According to stylist and menswear fashion designer Ephraim Molingoana, men can wear pink as long as they wear it properly. “The biggest mistake men make is to pair a pink shirt with white pants. That is a big no-no.”

Instead, he suggests muted tones, such as black and brown, to offset the bright colour.

“Never, ever wear a full-on pink suit, unless you’re an R&B singer about to go on stage on Valentine’s Day. Men’s pinks are supposed to be light and kept to a minimum.”

The designer suggests that men incorporate pink into their style with a tie or, for those who are fashion forward, socks. But Molingoana cautions against pairing a pink shirt with a pair of jeans.

“Unless you are wearing a round-collar T-shirt, never wear a pink shirt with jeans. And pairing white capri pants with pink shirts is just wrong on so many levels.”


While wearing pink outfits and accessories may be the norm, most women are afraid to experiment with pink when it comes to make-up. No one wants to end up looking like Bozo the Clown’s sister.

Joburg make-up artist Khosi Mthembu says there’s no need to fear.

“Pink actually flatters darker skin tones ­beautifully.”

Mthembu says the first thing women should do is find a muse – an actress or public personality whose make-up they like.

“Once you start applying your make-up, consider the time of day – the lighter the shade, the earlier the time of day.”

Never match the shades of the eye shadow, the blush and the lipstick, says Mthembu. And people with aged skin should stay away from bold or shimmery make-up, and stick to matte textures.

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