How can you tell a baby boy from baby girl these days? By the highly gender-specific baby and toddler colours or clothing.
So when did we start dressing girls in pink and boys in blue? Is the gendering of pink and blue the same everywhere? Has it always been this way? The short answer is “not quite.” Boys used to wear pink, and there were even places in Europe (Poland, for example) that reversed the gendered use of pink and blue. The history of pink symbolism shows, pink has only become “feminine” recently. However, it’s not only baby colours that have changed, but clothing styles, too. Nowadays people just have to know the sex of a baby or young child at first glance, says Jo B. Paoletti, a historian at the University of Maryland and author of “Pink and Blue: Telling the Girls From the Boys in America”.
WHITE DRESS CODE IN 19th CENTURY
Paoletti writes that “Victorian parents preferred their children to look like asexual cherubs”. They considered gendered clothes inappropriate and dressed their babies in traditional white dresses so they could have an identity as babies, not as boys or girls. The popularity of white dresses, however, dramatically faded in the 1900s.
BABY COLOURS IN 20th CENTURY
Around the beginning of the 20th century, mothers began dressing infants with their gender in mind, to make boys look more masculine and they would start dressing them in short pants rather than a skirt. White still remained to be the standard infant colour, but also all pastel hues were considered appropriate for babies. It wasn’t until after the Second World War that the modern convention (pink for girls, blue for boys) started to dominate, and even so, it didn’t “gel” until the 1980s, according to Paoletti.
This is a very fascinating topic and it is so interesting that the ‘traditional’ pink and blue colours for girls or boys is such a recent phenomenon. I was’t brought up dressed in pink and neither are my kids – I like to have the freedom and not be restricted by fashion. This approach is reflected in my colour palette, which includes a variety of colours and shades for my clients to choose from including greys, browns, purples, creams, blues and pinks.
Hope you enjoyed the topic as well.
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