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Pink is the new black

Pink coats are apparently the in thing this year, much to the rage of some commentators.

I read with some amusement the other day this article in the Guardian by Hadley Freeman

M&S pink coat

In it she rails against the current fashion for pink coats. I must admit to being blissfully unaware of this trend. Buried here in the French countryside, the fashions, shall we say, are somewhat different from what you might get on a London street. More mud than Mad Men. 

The pink most in favour, though, is rather paler than the one shown here from M&S - more of a flesh pink - and generally has a finish to the fabric that strikes me as very likely to pick up dirt quickly, with its matt surface and unbroken texture. I once had a summer raincoat this colour and it was great, but you could chuck it in the washing machine whenever it got soiled. 

Pink mohair coat

I have a weakness for pink coats. In fact, to my shock, I realise that I currently have six: a magenta silk velvet 1950s swing coat; a screaming magenta Boden moleskin tailored coat; a pale pink tweed coat from Next with slubs of green and blue in the weave; a shocking pink silk coat from 1960s US department store Bullocks, with rhinestone buttons; a magenta 1960s silk and acrylic coat with a red lining that came with a matching dress; and this lipstick pink 1960s bouclé mohair coat (right).

I love all of them. They go brilliantly with black, grey, chocolate brown and colours such as red or burgundy. And yes, whenever I go anywhere, I am always the only person in a pink coat, and yes, I do get a lot of compliments.

God knows, we need some colour in winter. I once sat in the window of a café and counted the colours of the next 100 coats that came by. All but two or three were black, and those that weren't black were navy. God, how depressing is this? Not even a red one? Never mind aubergine, plum, purple, forest green or half a dozen other perfectly practical colours that might have livened up the grisly scene.

Although I have the usual selection of cream, brown and blue coats for when I don't want to draw attention to myself, I do generally prefer to stand out, especially when everything else is so miserable. My favourite winter coat, when we lived in London, was a saffron dressing-gown wrap by Alistair Blair for Jaegar, with black velvet collar and cuffs - a fantastic splash of colour on a grey day. I also have coats in lime green fun fur, emerald tweed, scarlet mohair, burgundy mohair, primrose yellow wool and almost fluorescent orange wool. They are all wonderful for livening the winter mood and they all cost peanuts on Ebay.

So, I am firm in my defence of this year's pink coat from M&S - I hope it sells in the hundreds.  


Pretty in pink

Pink is the most flattering colour a woman can wear.

pink velvet coatpinkmohaircoatpinkUScoatI am definitely going through a pink phase lately, as I realised when I was putting an armful of clothes into a 'pink wash'. Cashmere jumpers, cardigans, pink microfibre vests, knickers, not to mention the two coats I bought this winter - suddenly I seem to have a lot of pink in my wardrobe. Even my new daypack and wheelie bag are both pink - the former a 1970s floral and the latter a zinging magenta grosgrain.

floral skirtIt is because I have finally cottoned on to the fact that pink is probably THE most flattering colour in a woman's armoury, and - as you can see from the pix below - I have stocked up on it bigtime for summer, with skirts and pretty cardigans to go alongside my one pink linen dress. 

pointellecardiOne reason that pink is so useful is that it's an inherently feminine colour. Although men do wear it, it is only in small items such as ties or shirts. There are very few men who would wear a pink jacket, for instance, and for a man to wear a bright pink like magenta, or a pink coat, suit or shoes would truly look like fancy dress.

But pink is a useful colour in other ways. It has the power to make you look happy, vibrant, glowing, healthy and sexy, all things most of us could do with more of. So why don't more of us actually wear it?

If you are politically against the colour because of its girly, submissive connotations, remember you can team it with grey, black, brown or navy for outfits where you need to be taken seriously. Most situations where you'd normally wear a white blouse or shirt can easily get away with a shell pink instead, for instance.

floralcardiI most commonly team pink with brown - these new pink cardis all go with my brown and beige suedette skirts, and the middle coat pictured at the top is actually a brown and pink tweed, which looks great with a brown hat, boots and gloves. 

In summer, pink is an easy colour to match with white, blue, or shades of jade, turquoise or lemon for casual wear. 

Many women are also convinced they just 'can't wear' pink, but - as with most other colours - the trick is all about finding the right shade.

laceandvelvetrimI look at my best in baby pink (not a colour I actually like, but which I have to admit is very flattering) plus cool pinks like magenta, and warm pinks like salmon. Pinks shading into lilac, blackberry-yoghurt etc also look good, as do nude pinks and a strange dark flesh pink that was common in the 1920s but seems rare today.

Darker skins or hair, or those with a reddish cast to their colouring might look better in rustier shades of pink, while grey-haired women often look best in blue-based pinks such as magenta.

Experimenting with numerous different shades of pink is always worthwhile, but on the other hand, wearing the 'wrong' shade of pink is never going to kill you - it's not like olive, khaki, grey or beige, where the wrong shade can make you look like you're in anaphylactic shock. 

Seriously, I believe it's worth everyone's while to at least have a go at wearing pink, and watch how many compliments you pick up.

Pink is probably at its most flattering up by your face. Makeup guru Bobbi Brown, for instance, recommends pink pearls as a pick-you-up when you're not looking your best - the combination of the delicate colour and the natural lustre of the pearls makes you look instantly glowing. Alternatively, try it in a scarf, earrings or a blouse - I guarantee that if you can find the right shade, you'll be amazed at how good you look in it.




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