How to Wear Pink Clothes!

Dominique de Merteuil By Dominique de Merteuil5 min read

Last updated on December 3rd, 2023 at 09:41 am

Styling tips on how to wear pink clothes and look elegant.

Think pink! Think pink! if you want that quel-que chose. Think pink! who cares if the new look has no bust. Now, I wouldn’t presume to tell a woman what a woman oughtta think, But tell her if she’s gotta think: think pink!

Funny Face, 1957
how to wear pink
Think Pink! Funny Face, 1957

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Pink is the New Black

1940s fashion - femme fatale (3)

Shocking as it may seem, for someone whose wardrobe consists predominantly of black clothes, to devote an article to the colour pink.

And yes, it could be argued that I may have lost my mind, in such a way as is often found in those who have previously dedicated so much attention to the colour black.

In my defence, I would argue that pink has its place in the history of fashion and perhaps it is time for a return to the colour she says with a Wednesday Addams-esque smile.

Speaking of the Addams Family, in the original black & white TV version of The Addams Family, the house’s interior colour was mainly pink as it made for better contrast.

Pink in the 18th Century Fashion

Madame de Pompadour was a big fan of the colour pink.

Madame de Pompadeur

Dangerous Liaisons

Glenn Close as Marquise de Merteuil in Dangerous Liaisons, 1988.

OK, so it’s the colour of little girls ( at least since the clever marketing in the 1950s), Lolita, Lady Penelope and Molly Ringwood aka Pretty in Pink.

However, it’s also the prevailing colour of my favourite period of time, the French Court of the 18th Century, where pink was cultivated by the likes of Madame de Pompadour, mistress to King Louis XV of France.

You’ll be able to see that if you watch my much-loved film Dangerous Liaisons, where Glenn Close who plays the infamous Marquise de Merteuil, wears the most exquisite pink dresses, as can be seen in the photos below.

It's Beyond My Control
Dangerous Liaisons.

A Brief History Of Colour Pink!

By the 19th Century, pink had not only been favoured by women but was also a very popular colour worn by young boys as an alternative to red worn by men in the army.

As we head into the 20th Century, pink made a comeback, becoming brighter, and bolder thanks to Elsa Schiaparelli who in 1931 created a fashionable new shade of the colour, called “shocking pink”, by mixing magenta with white.

It’s unfortunate that a lot of appearances by colour are lost to us because so many films from the 30s and 40s were shot in black & white.

However by the 50s, when Technicolor became a guaranteed theatre-seat filler, pink showed its acceptance and maturity, putting in appearances from Marilyn Monroe’s major breakthrough films of the period, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and How to Marry a Millionaire, both released in 1953.

Her gorgeous pink dresses are the creation of Travilla. Audrey Hepburn was another one of its fans. Considered by many to be a style icon of the same era, she loved wearing pink both in films and in her private life. The quote at the start of this article is from her 1957 film Funny Face.

So, despite my reservations, I have to admit that pink rightly deserves to have some space devoted to it. She says while sipping pink champagne from her Marie Antoinette-inspired champagne coupe glass. Chin chin darlings and don’t worry, next time I’ll be back in black.

The Power Of Pink Accessories!

If you love the colour pink but are not confident enough to wear pink clothes as yet, I suggest you start with a pink accessory such as gloves, a scarf or footwear.

how to wear pink clothes
A contemporary pink silk scarf looks great against a vintage black patent purse.
French Sole London velvet slippers
Luxurious French Sole velvet slippers paired with pink couture socks from Fiori Couture.
Pink velvet slippers
Pink velvet slippers from French Sole London.

How To Wear Pink Clothes!

If you want to be a little bit more adventurous with the colour pink, here is an example of how I style pink clothes.

Vintage Clothes in Pink

  • This new to me, a late 1930s sequins blouse in a beautiful shade of pink appeared in one of my favourite films with Bette Davis, Old Acquaintance (1943).
  • I wore it on top of a 1940s dress but it would look equally stunning paired with a black pencil skirt.
1930s sequins blouse Bette Davis
Pink looks fantastic paired with black and orange!
Vintage blogger Dominique de Merteuil
I often mix garments from the 1930s with 1940s and contemporary footwear.
1940s dress DuBarry dress
True 1940s DuBarry dress paired with a 1950s belt and French Sole velvet slippers.

Vintage-Inspired Pink Clothes

Pink Look No.1

The pink blouse from Freddies of Pinewood is the perfect choice for a more casual look but with the right accessories or a skirt instead of slacks, it could easily transform into an evening ensemble.

how to dress like a 1940s Femme Fatale
Birds and Fresia vintage-inspired hat paired with Freddies of Pinewood blouse, 1980s slacks and a 1950s belt.

Pink Look No.2

  • Pink Prada top
  • Grey and pink Vivienne Westwood trousers
  • Pink WITTCHEN shoes
  • 1930s brooch
  • Versace reading glasses
vintage inspired slacks
How to wear pink clothes and look classy.

And Last But Not Least

Couture gown by Veroni Deco. Not entirely pink, but the fabric has some lovely pink details.

Poporcelain statment necklace
Floral Lockets Statement Necklace by POPORCELAIN. Photography Gregory Michael King.

Wear Pink in the Boudoir!

Even though 50% of my lingerie is black, the other half is reserved strictly for pink and off-pink.

The 1940s nightgown in a delicious shade of pink paired with a Helen Moore faux fur capelet makes me feel like a movie star. And since I work mainly from home, it also helps my creative juices flow!

Now all that’s missing is a Lotte fringed lampshade from Tinker & Tallulah!

pink lampshade from Tinker and Tallulah
pink lampshade from Tinker and Tallulah

The Best Detergent For Washing Your Lingerie

Once you find your perfect pink lingerie, take good care of it so it lasts for many, many years.

I use Eucalan Wrapture when handwashing all of my vintage pieces, as well as contemporary, undergarments. This very delicate detergent smells divine, although it does come in an unscented version,  and it doesn’t require a rinse!


Shop My Favourites!

 

Gilda and Pearl slip
Gilda and Pearl slip paired with 1950s velvet bolero and pink couture socks from Fiori couture.   

Don’t Be Afraid To Wear Pink! Especially When It’s Vintage

A pink cardigan be it vintage or vintage-inspired will look fantastic with a little black dress or slacks and high heels.

Hedy Lamarr in pink
In the picture on the left the beautiful Hedy Lamarr, a great style inspiration. On the right, 1950s pink cashmere cardigan with cherry blossom embroidery from THE CULT OF CHIFFON shop.

In case you are still hungry for more pink, may I suggest delicious pink rose lemonade and a box of macaroons? No such thing as too much pink!

Pink lemonade Fentimans
Drink Pink!

And if you still believe that you are too cool for pink, I’ll leave you with the quote by Joe Strummer, the lead vocalist of the punk rock band The Clash.

Pink is the only true rock & roll colour.

Joe Strummer

What do you think?

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4 Comments
  • Archiverie Vintage
    April 20, 2016

    That pink in your vintage Prada top is my favourite shade of pink to wear! Have you heard of the knitwear designer Ryan Roche? She makes fluffy cashmere sweaters in these sexy barely-there beige-pinks.
    I recently purchased a 20s silk velvet opera coat in pale pink — how’s that for decadent?
    And I am also a huge fan of Cult of Chiffon!

  • Madame Chiffon
    April 19, 2016

    Finally…a proper paen to pink! I find that dressing in lots of black by day, and pretty pastels by night, best fulfills all my needs: practical, aesthetic, and romantic. My vintage pink silks, satins, and chiffons help me to dream. I’ve always believed there are no inherently “cool” colors, only cool people who wear certain colors well. Ideally, stylish people imbue the fashions/colors they choose with layers of meaning (pun intended) that help refresh our way of seeing. Not unlike all the stylish gents now confidently incorporating pink (and other “feminine” colors) in their wardrobes…very refreshing indeed. It is a privilege and genuine pleasure to be included in this article. Thank you, Dominique! xx

    • Dominique de Merteuil
      April 19, 2016

      Thank you for the wonderful comment Madame Chiffon! I’m utterly obsessed with your vintage shop!

      Dominique