La Vie En Rose: In Praise of Pink Shirts for Gilt MANual

Most trads feel more comfortable in pink than they do in black, the verboten hue. But we’re a small portion of the population.

For many guys, a pink shirt is something that requires a great deal of deliberation. I recently gave my father a pink shirt; he’s in his sixties and had never worn one. I, on the other hand, got my first one at 18. I should ask my dad what he thought at the time.

I tried giving timid types a pep talk on pink with a short appreciation for Gilt MANual’s Essentials series. Here’s an excerpt:

In the 18th century, “the pink of the mode” meant the apex of fashion, but sartorially speaking, pink as a modern man’s color was invented in 1955, when Brooks Brothers introduced it to the grey flannel gang. The instant popularity inspired a major Life magazine spread declaring pink the new it-color for men.

Since then pink has been one of those things that separates the secure and audacious from the self-conscious and timid. I say it’s an alpha color: Guys who wear pink are smarter, funnier, more interesting, and invariably better lovers than their pinkophobic peers. I’ve been wearing pink since age 18, and I’ve never been dumped on account of dullness.

You can get the full story here, and be sure to check out our post on “The Year Brooks Invented Pink.” — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD

32 Comments on "La Vie En Rose: In Praise of Pink Shirts for Gilt MANual"

  1. aficionados of the pink shirt will enjoy a brief scene in the beginning of the ‘alfie’ remake starring jude law.

    sadly, existing oxford cloths are made in pinks that do not match winters, though they look great on springs and summers.

    i recently found an ice pink shirt from lands’ end canvas. the tone is perfect for me, but the fabric is poplin instead of oxford.

  2. Christian | July 10, 2011 at 7:12 pm |

    That’s hysterical: I had a reference to “Alfie” in my first draft but my editor thought it a questionable movie to reference. Then wouldn’t you know it the first comment mentions the film.

  3. H.K. Rahman | July 10, 2011 at 7:47 pm |

    16 1/2 – 6?

    So YOU’RE the one!!

  4. great post…and if your interested in purchasing the pink button up featured in the photo where no credit was given, you can purchase it on etsy: countylinegenerl merchandise.

  5. A bit gauche for this crowd perhaps, but I just stagged a pretty decent pink OCBD from Urban Outfitters last week for $30. Never heard of the brand Hawkins McGill, but the price was right and the cut is trim and very flattering on an athletic build.

  6. *snagged, not stagged

  7. Ha this is great!

  8. @Nard Dog, thanks for posting that. I’ve been wondering about the fit of Hawkings McGill, since they have some decent-looking stuff for a good price, especially when they go on sale.

  9. Pink shirts are about 20% of my shirt wardrobe: not just solids, but also university stripes and ginghams. What would we do without pink shirts?

  10. CC
    well said- pink oxfords are the only thing i’ll have ten of… got my first at the old BB in frisco, (now the grand building is a frickn’ Prada.. whatsa Prada?) i was in 8th grade and the OPH had just come out- knew no shame and wore it with bright green cords- what do 13 year olds know about understatement… nice post

  11. Hugh Kuntz | July 12, 2011 at 5:33 am |

    breaths new life into an old navy suit!

  12. @Hugo Kuntz is right, but try a pink shirt (OCBD, gingham or stripes) with a light to medium gray suit and dark tie. An even better combination!

    Pink is one of my go to colors for summer shirting, but @Aizan is correct that the shade of pink is important to consider with your skin tone. As a high contrast guy, I have a lot of latitude with bright shades played against basic gray or navy suitings. I think pink also brings out the shine in #8 colored loafers worn with suits. All together good!

  13. No problem, Brian. I wish the purveyors of more reasonably priced OCBDs (L.L. Bean, Lands End) would follow suit and provide a slim/athletic fit option. Seems like common sense. Bean has a “trim fit” OCBD, but it really isn’t trim at all from what I understand.

  14. @Nard Dog

    Gentlemen don’t wear slim/trim fits.

    Check your dictionary for the difference between “gentleman” and “gigolo”.

  15. @Scrooge

    At one time “gentlemen” also wore top hats and spats.
    Or even further back, powdered wigs and knee breeches.

    Respect for the past is admirable. Blind devotion to billowy balloon shirts is not.

  16. for god’s sake every retailer from JC Penny to Target has sold, currently sells, and will in the future sell pink shirts. They’re about as rare as controversial as loaves of white bread.

  17. @Jake

    I doubt that many consider anything on a site such as this to be “controversial”. That sort of contradicts the idea of tradition.

  18. I’m with the slim-fit crowd. Nothing about it eliminates tradition. I’m short. If I don’t want to look like a square (literally and figuratively), I buy slim-fit when I can. Unfortunately, back in the day, slim-fit wasn’t offered. Instead, it was called “tailored,” as in actually tailored to fit a short, skinny body. Now, we’re luckier.

  19. Sorry, Scrooge, but I hate a baggy shirt. It’s not flattering. Especially if you have an athletic build that you work hard at maintaining. Haha.

  20. Baggy shirts make slender guys look like little kids wearing their big brother’s still-too-big hand-me-downs. Unless, of course, you learn to wear them like Fred Astaire did. I think I discovered his secret–fold up the extra in back so you present a clean front–but I still prefer the tailored (aka slim) fit.

  21. Christian | July 14, 2011 at 2:08 pm |

    There are guys who wear slim shirts because it flatters their physique. There are guys who don’t wear them because they take their dressing cues from some platonic ideal of trad, or because that’s not how it was done 50 years ago.

    I suspect those who are virulently opposed to fitted shirts on ideological grounds are packing a few extra pounds in the midsection.

  22. I don’t think it is the slim shirts that are the problem, but rather people who wear their shirts too small and then get them in slim fit. I see people in my building all of the time looking as if they are wearing their little brothers clothes. I think that knowing how a shirt should fit and some knowledge of your own physique is more important that the cut. That being said, you will not find me wearing a slim shirt unless you count jpress obcds.

  23. @Aizan: Press sells a “red” pinpoint Oxford that may fit the bill, at least for the first 50 washings or so.

  24. @ Christian – Packing a few extra pounds may be one reason some people prefer a more generously fitting shirt. However, others (myself included) are in decent shape, have broad shoulders and find that a slim fitting shirt tugs at the yoke and creates unsightly ridges. A Brooks Brothers traditional fit shirt, for example, helps me avoid that issue.

  25. A few years back, I happened across a sale at a Macy’s. I bought 2 Ralph Lauren button down stripe seersucker sport shirts, one a lime green and a pink. Although I wear pink occasionally in dress shirts,I was very leary of the RL purchase. At the golf club I belong, an old gentleman (a retired accountant 30 years my senior, now passed on) remarked that shirt was the pinkest shirt he ever saw, and said you know what kind of guy wears that shade. I told him I thought it was too pink also, and eventually gave it to charity. I still have the green shirt, wear it occasionally.

    I stick to candystripe shirts, blue or red most of the time. Never had any negative comments. As far as cut, I prefer the full cut, whether Brooks or more plebian brands. Cheers!

  26. Terms like “trim”, “athletic build”, and “physique” belong in the gay personals column, not in a blog like this.

    “Baggy, billowy” “balloon shirts” are Ivy style. Trim/slim/tailored shirts are Ivy fashion. The difference is of major importance.

  27. @Oxbridge

    nice trolling attempt. FAIL.

  28. And what “kind of guy” goes by the moniker of “Wriggles”?

  29. @J.Ivy

    I fail to see how the topic of “style” vs. “fashion” can be considered “trolling”:

    “In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.”

    Is the “J” in “J.Ivy” jocose, jocular, jocund, jittery, jaded, jaundiced, jaunty, or we a supposed to read that as “jivey”, referring to glib, deceptive or foolish talk?

  30. @Oxbridge

    Doubling-down on the trolling? How desperate you sound.

    example 1:
    “Terms like “trim”, “athletic build”, and “physique” belong in the gay personals column, not in a blog like this.”

    Like that backwards comment wasn’t designed to elicit reaction? Insert eyeroll here.

    re: my “handle”…ever heard of J. Press, J. Crew. J. Simons, “Jivy Ivy”? You really should expand your horizons a bit. You’re embarrassing yourself.

  31. Actually, Oxbridge, given his on-line persona, you might be forgiven for thinking it stands for “jerk.”

  32. EVAN EVERHART | August 24, 2018 at 11:13 am |

    Wherever you stand upon the issue of a slim versus traditional/roomy fit, the real issue is rise of one’s trousers. Trouser rise negates all other minor issues within reason on an appropriately sized shirt from any traditional maker. Fred Astaire’s bounteously flowing shirts worked on his small frame due in large part to the exceptional high rise of the trousers at the time, and his likely predilection for trousers of an even higher rise procured from his largely bespoke tailors.

    To summarize: the lower the rise of the trouser; the more fitted the shirt must be to avoid clownish proportions or the impression of a poor fit (though this also creates a far more constricting fit, ditto the lower rise trousers and their monstrously binding fit)!

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