I've never been a huge fan of the color pink. It's always symbolized a too-sweet, over-the-top, bubblegum-pop version of girliness that I wanted no part of growing up. But the pink of 2016 is very different from the pink of the late '90s and early 2000s—and times they are still a-changin.
Now, when pink is used as cult makeup brand Glossier's signature color, it's cool-girl pretty. When pink is worn head-to-toe by Rihanna as she opens the VMAs, it's sexy and badass. When pink is chosen for the cover of Stephanie Danler's Sweetbitter, this summer's literary hit, it's sophisticated and intelligent. You get it.
Welcome to pink in 2016, or, as we're calling it at Sweet, "Pink Power."
"Rose quartz is not baby pink. It doesn't have that wimpy feel." —Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of Pantone's Color Institute
So how did pink suddenly lose its association with innocence, naiveté, and Barbie dolls and instead become the chosen shade for an empowering feminist movement? For starters, Pantone, the unofficial color-trend-caller, announced Rose Quartz as one half of its 2016 Color of the Year, describing it as "a persuasive yet gentle tone that conveys compassion and a sense of composure." "Rose quartz is not baby pink," executive director of Pantone's Color Institute Leatrice Eiseman adds in The Wall Street Journal. "It doesn't have that wimpy feel." Composed, mature, and non-wimpy—we like where this is going.
As New York's Véronique Hyland points out in her recent essay about the ubiquitous shade for The Cut: "it's ironic pink, pink without the sugary prettiness." The dulled-down, less hyperactive hue has a subtleness to it that seductively whispers, "Hey girl, I may be a little less conventionally pretty than a Victoria's Secret ad, but that's why I'm awesome." Right now, wearing the shade is like a secret way of communicating our evolving ideas about what makes us feminine, sexy, and strong—a subtle nod to girls who are on the same page as us.
While we're savoring the color's moment in the pop-culture spotlight, we're simultaneously a little sad to see it inevitably go. When fashion houses stop rolling out the shade and it loses its buzzy cool-girl moment, will we also lose a little bit of that girl-power solidarity? If cerulean or ultramarine begin to dominate the shop floors, will the insanely strong and fiercely feminine pink-clad Nicki Minajs and Ariana Grandes of the world lose a unifying thread?
I hope not. And in the meantime, I intend to continue drinking rosé and voraciously reading pink-covered books. Should you choose to give it a more permanent place in your wardrobe, or your life, to that I say—more power to you.