Pink and Purple are Gender Neutral Colors.

May 16, 2018

Pink and Purple are Gender Neutral Colors.

When my son was two, he fell passionately in love with the color pink. His pink t-shirts complemented his pale, rosy complexion and he gathered compliment after compliment on his favorite pair of pink sparkly shoes. Our founder Jo's son had the same love affair with pink when he was little, but back in his day finding pink shirts for boys was nigh on impossible, so he had to borrow his sister's. Her clothes came with ruffles and sparkles and inevitably, people mistook him for a girl.

My friend's son loves to wear purple. He pairs his favorite purple tees with his trendy haircut and sharp-boned face with big eyes, and he's stylish as any fashion icon you've ever seen. His brother? Another pink lover. Pink shorts, pink oxford shirts, pink t-shirts. When he had long hair and wore his favorite color, people often called him a girl and made him cry. He didn’t want to be a girl. He wanted to be a boy -- a boy who happened to like the color pink a lot.

Handsome in Pink is for boys like them.

"It's Go Time!" and Motorcycle T-shirts by Handsome in Pink

Lots of boys want to wear pink and purple, but finding cool pink and purple shirts for boys is weirdly hard. So we started this company to combine traditionally "boyish" themes -- like pirate ships, rockets, motorcycles, and firetrucks -- with the beauty of pink and purple hues. Here at Handsome in Pink, we believe that colors are for everyone. Little girls may swoon over pink and purple, but that doesn’t mean that those colors belong to them alone. They’re for all kids, all the time. 

Why did society ever code pink and purple for girls? Well, it helps to understand the history behind the colors. It seems that the pink-for-girls and blue-for-boys wasn’t set in stone -- and the colors weren’t associated with a particular gender at all -- until after WWII, with the advent of mass marketing.

"Aim For the Stars!" Rocket T-shirt by Handsome in Pink

“Being 'gender normal' is very important to us, and as a marketing technique, if retailers can convince you that being gender normal means you need to buy a certain product — cosmetics, plastic surgery, blue or pink clothing, etc. — it just makes sense from a production or mass marketing perspective,” sociologist Philip Cohen, of the University of Maryland, told Live Science.

So basically, we’re stuffing our kids into “properly gendered” colored clothing because marketers in the 1940s and 1950s told us to.

When you put it this way, it sounds really, really stupid. Clearly, colors were for everyone until marketers told us otherwise. And we believed them. But now it’s time to take those outdated ideas back, the same way we took back the idea of the 1950s housewife and the 1950s distant father. Handsome in Pink is here to do that. We want to take back the historical ideas of pink-for-girls and purple-for-girls and turns them on their heads.

Purple Pirate Ship T-shirt by Handsome in Pink

We are really passionate about filling this gap in mainstream clothing stores with fun designs that will appeal to boys, in colors they don't normally get. There’s a lavender pirate ship on a purple tee flying a Jolly Roger; a hot pink rocket among the stars printed on black; a red firetruck on a pink background. Airplanes, motorcycles, electric guitars... all the things Jo's son loved, in addition to pink and purple, but couldn't find in his sister's hand-me-downs.

One thing Jo noticed when she started designing the first Handsome in Pink shirts was that her daughter couldn't wait to wear them either. It was a happy, unforeseen benefit to this company she started for her son: girls like "boy stuff" on pink and purple too! Because just as much as pink and purple are gender neutral colors, so are firetrucks and guitars and motorcycles gender neutral interests. Kids like pretty colors. Kids like cool stuff. All kids. 

SOAR T-shirt by Handsome in Pink

So while we started as a company focused on expanding offerings for boys, we ultimately found ourselves in a pretty gender neutral space. Because while boys deserve clothing made not only with the designs they like, but also in the colors they prefer, girls deserve the same thing. It just so happens that in this world, we tell boys they can’t like pink, and we tell girls they can’t like motorcycles. Handsome in Pink does neither.

"Aim For the Stars!" Rocket T-shirt by Handsome in Pink

While many of our clothes are designed with boys in mind, there’s no reason girls can’t, and shouldn’t, wear them. The same shirts end up being liberating for both genders --- and if you have a kid who’s gender fluid, these are the perfect shirts for them to find something they love that isn’t overtly coded one way or another.

Boys always wore pink -- until marketers came along. It’s time we took it back. And it’s time we taught our kids to do the same.


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We're a kids clothing company dedicated to helping kids wear what they like, and love who they are. You can find all the shirts above, plus more, in our Store!