FT Answers: What on earth is millennial pink?

If you’ve scanned the pages of GQ or Esquire recently – or you keep up to date on the latest menswear trends – you might have heard of millennial pink. If not, you’re probably wondering what on earth it is.

Don’t worry – you’re not alone.

This season’s hottest trend is as divisive as it is confusing to understand.

Here’s Esquire’s oh-so-helpful description of millennial pink:

You might not have noticed - after all, the pink we're talking about is a not-quite-pink pink, a pink that is harder to pin down than the Barbie's dream house Pantone 219C you were taught to hate as a child.

It's a pink that encompasses barely-there dusty rose, faded peach, muted apricot, dull salmon and charged terracotta shades, known collectively as 'millennial pink'.

Helpful, right? (I guess that’s not Esquire’s fault, my own attempts to describe it – before I copied and pasted the one above – weren’t much better.)

The New York Times described it as ‘the ironic, post-pink for the Instagram generation’. Much better, right?

And so we’re left in an awkward position – this season’s hottest trend is almost impossible to describe.

Oh, to make things even clearer, nobody can seem to agree on what it even looks like.

Here’s Jezebel’s example of Millennial Pink:

Millenial Pink 1

And here’s the example Bird and Design – a design studio – give of it:

Millenial Pink 2

Oh. And here are four more examples of Millennial Pink. (Are you sick of reading those words yet? We’re sick of typing them…)


And just to prove our point, here’s Esquire’s example of millennial pink menswear:

Esquire Millennial pink

(For a start, Hiddlestone’s shirt looks more like a burnt orange.)

Confused yet?

How can you incorporate millennial pink into your wardrobe?

Let’s just agree that millennial pink – in its many, many guises – means that it’s fashionable to wear pink again. Pastel colours have always been a strong Spring/Summer trend, but millennial pink seems to be a little different – it’s a trend that’s applying to men and women.

It’s a trend that’s breaking down the distinctions between men’s fashion and women’s, which means that it's OK to try out things that are slightly feminine in colour. It's OK to push boundaries between menswear and womenswear.

Or, as Lauren Schwartzberg, wrote in The New Yorker: millennial pink 'speaks to an era in which trans models walk the runway, gender-neutral clothing lines are the thing, and man-buns abound. It's been reported that at least 50 percent of millennials believe that gender runs on a spectrum — this pink is their genderless mascot."

We’re not 100% sold on that idea, but at least millennial pink means there’s no longer a need to claim your pink shirt is faded salmon.