Here's a new word to add to your cultural vernacular: millennial pink.

Put aside your pink preconceptions. It's not a pink of the Barbie, Susan G. Komen or Powerpuff Girls variety. This one has tones of peach, blush and salmon. Think the most prominent swatch of color splashed on a can of pamplemousse LaCroix.

It's less in-your-face than bright pink, with warm and welcoming hey-pink-is-cool-again tones. And it's appearing on everything, from clothing and accessories to product packaging and home goods.

If you're looking for another reason to blame the millennials, this is it. It's their fault you're being bombarded by this shade of pink everywhere you turn, because they simply won't stop buying stuff slathered in the color. Millennial-focused brands like Thinx and Glossier feature it heavily in their product packaging and advertising.

Where did it come from? And why does every millennial pink product fly off the shelves?

Things really started picking up last August, according to New York Magazine. Color trends are nothing new, but what is surprising is how long this one has stuck around. A few months into 2017, millennial pink is still going strong. You could say we're hitting peak pink.

The color's popularity can be traced back to Pantone's 2016 Color of the Year, Rose Quartz. This was right around when you started seeing rose gold everything. It's not a stretch to assume that rose gold has morphed into the of-the-moment millennial pink we're seeing so much of right now. Pop culture aficionados point to influence from the pinkish hue of Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel, the cover art for Drake's Hotline Bling single, and even Kendall Jenner painting her wall a specific shade of pink because she thought it would help suppress her appetite.

New York Magazine has another theory. It's that the girliness typically associated with pink is dead. Millennials are bucking gender norms, and pink is no exception. They're reclaiming the color by ditching its girls-only connotation. "Gone is the girly-girl baggage," Lauren Schwartzberg writes for The Cut, "Now it's androgynous." She goes on to explain how millennial pink is the neutral color of the generation.

But before you go switching things up with millennial pink to attract Gen-Y shoppers to your product or brand, you must first know exactly what shade of pink this is. Therein lies the tricky part. We know what it's not (Barbie, neon, baby pink, etc.), but it's hard to pin down exactly what it is. Millennial pink is a little all over the place. It seems everyone seems to interpret the color differently, which is leading to a new flavor of pinkwashing. Slate recently ranted on this very topic. "If a color can be a range of shades, then ... wait, what? That's not how color works, sorry," Heather Schwedel writes.

Here's my take on the whole thing. If you like something in a particular color -- millennial pink or otherwise -- what's stopping you from getting it? If it's not your thing, that's OK, too.

Published on: Mar 27, 2017
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