In which I try on pastels and overanalyze things

I'm tickled pink by the pink in my new glasses. I love it. I suppose it's almost a very pale lilac, but whatever the color, I think of it as pink. It is a surprisingly good shade next to my cool-pink-undertone skin. So I'm having a temporary fling with pink.

Shopping this week, with pink in mind, finally made me understand why I chose all black. I suffer, constantly, from choice overload. When I have options, I need to choose the one right choice. The single best. And of course there never is a single best, so I'm stuck! Mired forever in overanalysis. Each choice fits into some larger set of life choices, eventually spiraling into my whole identity. "What does it mean for me to be a person who wears pink?" my brain whispers at the mirror. Or, "this dress is a thing a person in Strict Fashion Subcategory III.A.2 would wear, and you are a person in Subcategory III.A.5, so that's right out."

So, it goes like this. There are many shades of pink, right? There are so many ways I could fit a bit of pink into my black wardrobe.

Let's say pink sneakers. Should they be monochrome and minimal, like the current trends? Or have a rock and roll edge to toughen up the pink?

And what pink? There's a warm blush that is very trendy in minimalist looks, often paired with black, but cooler pinks look better on me. Pale petal pink might work, but it reads as the most feminine. Lilac looks good, but it is neither rock 'n' roll nor minimalist. Metallic is cool, but also the opposite of my usual minimalism. And so on.

And then I'm reconsidering every aspect of my style before I know it! Chaos. Much simpler to stick with black and free up my brain to do science.

Well. Now that the navel gazing is over, here are two photos of me trying on different lilac-y colors at Crossroads for color analysis.
1. The tee is too big but I wanted to see the color on me -- matches my glasses. Edit: tried on for the color only, never intended to be bought! It's entirely the wrong size and a fabric I wouldn't wear.
2. Madewell shirt, brighter than I want.
I think this family of lilac-pinks is good on me? It doesn't wash me out. But does it bring out the pink in my skin too much?

3. Also at Crossroads, the aforementioned "dress for Strict Fashion Subcategory III.A.2" (Allsaints, with structured darts and origami puffs of fabric, much more goth-femme than my usual, but so lovely! But I never wear dresses... And I'm out of hanger space... But it's only $30...)

And here are finds for some sneakers I am idly considering. The first pair, I bought at Macy's on super sale this weekend, but they are stiff synthetic material (not leather as described) and my feet sweat in them so they will probably go back.

If I try on any other pinks over the next week, I'll update this post with photos.

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Sal replied 6 years ago

    I am not sure I can help on the "what is the meaning of pink?"  I do know what you mean as pink is a loaded colour - what princesses and barbie and 4 year old girls want in their bedroom.  However if you move that aside it is a very flattering colour and surprisingly versatile.

    I avoided pink for a long while - but I do wear it now, in blush and bright shades.  

    The truth is wearing pink does not have to be soft.

    I like the two converse that are not metallic the most.  I also like the crisp shirt on you and the black dress.  The tee I am more on the fence with.

    Good luck with your new exploration.

  • Sisi replied 6 years ago

    Greyscale, sorry I have not read the post but just looked at the pictures. #1 - Nope (sorry): # 2 - I would never have thought that pink would look well on a redhead but in this case it does! And you look very well in a shirt.  #3 - The dress is fabulous and you look fab in it. Please keep it!

  • Style Fan replied 6 years ago

    #3 is WOW Fabulous.  Please keep.  It would look great with black skinny jeans.
    I am not much help when it comes to pink or pastels.  I like the fit of the shirt in #2.  I will leave the colour to others.

  • Nomad replied 6 years ago

    I'm seconding (fourthing?) the vote for #3. That dress looks AMAZING on you. It might feel a little outside your comfort zone, but sometimes it's possible and good to shift those zones, or at least try to step outside them a little. And that piece is completely stunning on you, color (well, non-color) and shape.

  • lyn67 replied 6 years ago

    Nr 2&3 are keepers!!! wow!!!!

  • Jenni NZ replied 6 years ago

    The philosophical question... I don't think you have any children Greyscale but you might still be interested in the book "Cinderella ate my daughter". I'm on my phone and a bit lazy to look it up, think the author may be Peggy Orenstein or similar. It didn't seem so bad with the pink pressures on little girls when my girls ( now 26 and 23) were young and I happily let them have fairy/princess stuff, but it has got seriously worse. So many gender associations.... but does that have to stop you liking it?
    I like shirt in #2, dress in #3, and think the Common Projects sneakers would suit you. Maybe don't think so hard about it all ? xx

  • Elizabeth P replied 6 years ago

    OMG you have to keep that dress.  Seriously.  It's made for you.  If you're not a dress person, it looks great as you are wearing it here, over jeans.

    I like the non metallic Cons for you, I think they'll fit with someone in
    Strict Fashion Subcategory III.A.2, or even A.5.

    RE the pinks... I think I prefer the colour of the first one, but agree the fit isn't right.  I do think you might enjoy one or two pieces in this colour family, so keep looking and have some fun. 

  • replied 6 years ago

    Greyscale: I would pass on the tshirt (too shleppy) and the button downs (too fitted - the white, over sized one you showed us was better).
    Love the dress. Could you wear this to work with a cardigan or leather jacket? Or maybe thin merino underneath? It's great on you, and maybe this piece could nudge into a new style direction (personality A7.b type II.) For what it's worth, it looks like it is keeping with your existing style.

    For the shoes, I much prefer the monochromatic ones for you. They seem more minimalist and serious.

  • replied 6 years ago

    Jenni: from my experience with little girls (mine is 12 now) is they like the princess stuff when they are young and then grow out of it. Yes, there is a lot of Disney princess stuff and that seems to have taken over from Barbie.

  • Runcarla replied 6 years ago

    Keep the dress. I'm thinking a paler, more washed out lilac. Your examples seem more orchid. The cons would be a better pastel shoe experiment. For you, the cooler non/ metallic ones. (JMO- so take it with a grain of salt.).

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Okay, to begin with --- YOU LOOK AMAZING IN PINK!! 

    I get that it has all kinds of unfortunate associations etc. but it flatters you like crazy. Love love love both these pinks on you. So, they might not be the right items just yet, but keep hunting. And in the meantime, what about a pink scarf? 

    Also, please buy the dress. It is great on you and what a price! If you get invited somewhere all of a sudden or the weather heats up unexpectedly you will have something to wear. 

  • madeline replied 6 years ago

    What Suz said. Trial pink in a scarf, buy the dress!

  • Liz replied 6 years ago

    Any chance you can take charge of the brain, telling it to pipe down because you're having fun? And fun doesn't come in strict subcategories? Tell it you'll let it know when it's needed again.

    Then .... just go off and have all the fun you want trying on pink. (And buy the dress.)

  • Chris987 replied 6 years ago

    Another vote for that awesome dress!

    I personally would prefer a paler pink aka blush with your hair color. But I'm not a big fan of pink so take that with a big grain of salt. Why not try on a bunch of different pink shades and take photos and then compare how you look in everything from pale to brights....

  • Greenjeans replied 6 years ago

    Pink looks incredible on you.  And in my opinion can read alternative/punk/goth, so no need to overthink.  Just another expression of who you are that conveniently goes with black. 

  • Greyscale replied 6 years ago

    Yes, I'm trying to collect photos of myself in many shades - these tops weren't things I would buy so much as an effort to see how some colors look in person. I'll try to add to the collection.

  • Dianna replied 6 years ago

    First of all, please keep that dress. It is perfect for you. About the shades of pink in 1 and 2 i like both on you. The shirt in number 2 looks very well on you. However, I understand if you want to start with smaller doses of pink at first. Don't forget to have fun while you keep trying on items looking for your perfect shade of pink.

  • replied 6 years ago

    If you are considering making space for a dress in your closet, that one is a winner.

  • JAileen replied 6 years ago

    Hmmm. You have beautiful coloring, and gorgeous hair. I know you love black, but I like that you're trying a nonblack. I'd like to see you explore more colors.

  • Diana replied 6 years ago

    You look good in pink! I kind of feel like both of these are a bit too saturated, and would love to see you in something the same hue but lighter/higher contrast with your skin tone. I do see a bit of what you mentioned about it bringing the pink in your skin out, although it's not unflattering. I think a lighter shade of the same color would prevent that.

    Love the all saints dress! I think it's perfect over pants so even though you don't wear dresses you could just think of it as a tunic.

  • Angie replied 6 years ago

    No more overanalysis. It's paralyzing. Life is too short! 

    You look GREAT in a dusty lilac like #1. Also love the dress in #3. 

  • approprio replied 6 years ago

    I absolutely love this post, which I have read several times. Nerd astrology ahead: you're an INTP, right? :D

    I sympathise with the problem of choice overload. The way you describe it reflects some of my own shopping habits, and probably explains why I've become so incredibly fussy in my old age. I also believe this is the main reason I very rarely shop for specific items, but am always looking out for amazing things I can fall in love with.

    As for pink, I totally agree the colour is loaded with meanings, but they are many and you can choose your own interpretation. One of my favourite pink items (and I have a few) is a t-shirt screen-printed with a portrait of Alan Turing. Go figure.  

    I think you'd do really well in the cool, icy pastel variety, but I'm struggling to imagine the garment. I'd say put it on the back burner and keep an eye open for the right piece, because if it ever comes your way you will know it immediately. Meanwhile, enjoy this inexpensive bomber jacket, which probably has way too much orange.

    ETA more pink bombers. Yoox has loads of them.

  • replied 6 years ago

    Sorry, I misinterpreted what you wrote!
    I think both pinks are nice on you!

  • replied 6 years ago

    When I was similarly over-analyzing & having a hard time deciding between green or blue earrings from these artisans who work in copper & bronze & silver with interesting enamel colors & metal treatments, I noticed their pinks/lilacs/corals. Not sure if you're looking for jewelry but I found the different shades & materials & techniques interesting.

  • LaPed replied 6 years ago

    If you care to indulge your analytical side a bit more:


    FWIW, I like the first color on you better than the second, and think lighter/greyer blushes and orchids would be a good direction to explore, for a less-precious pink. Also, I had basic pink Chucks long ago and found them super versatile. I especially loved how they looked with olive pants -- long-standing sugar-eye for pink and army green together... Oh, and get the dress. So perfect on you! How often do you find a perfect-fitting dress?

  • replied 6 years ago

    I too over analyze things much of the time. When shopping I avoid anything black or floral. For some reason I just naturally gravitate towards colors that I know will work for me - It's like a gift! LOL

    But I like all colors on you and you have a body much like my DD who can pretty much wear anything, as long as it is long enough (she is 5'9").

    I think you can alter your makeup a bit to rock those colors if you think you look a bit washed out. Maybe stronger eye color, cheek color, or lip color - whatever you feel more comfortable with.

  • Firecracker (Sharan) replied 6 years ago

    I like the lilac color of the tee on you, and I agree with LaPed it may be because it is a little bit grayed. It is a subtle pink. Your new glasses are awesome, btw. I love the shape, style, and color on you.
    I agree with others that the dress suits you beautifully. It looks great over jeans, and on the rare occasion you may need a dress, it can be worn on its own.
    Pink sneakers are a thought. I have the perfect pink sneakers, stylewise, and I can't wear them walking for more than about a half mile. I'm so bummed about it. It's hard to find the exact right ones. I just did buy another pair that is more comfortable, if less perfect for me in style.

  • rachylou replied 6 years ago

    I like the pink. I try really hard to like lilac, but I never actually do...

  • Kate replied 6 years ago

    I love redheads in pink. They look fabulous. As do you. Buy the dress. It's gorgeous on you. You may find a non-lilac-y pink looks good. There are so many pinks. Have fun looking.

  • harmonica replied 6 years ago

    Love you in #1!

  • Greyscale replied 6 years ago

    Thanks for the feedback, everyone! I was in a pretty silly mood when I wrote this but I'm glad the analysis paralysis resonated with some of you. I do have a relatively serious anxiety disorder that has been a lifelong struggle. But to some extent it's also my strength -- a lot of the same analysis traits are useful in my career. At any rate, sticking to all black really does make my life easier, but I've always preferred guidelines to rules, and it's fun to try new things.

    I agree with the suggestion that I should try a few other pinks. Watch this space for more photos!

    I do like the Madewell shirt. I wore a lot of pastel oxford shirts to school as a kid (my mother often wore them too). I'll keep an eye out for something paler but in the same vein.

    As for the sneakers, it's a frivolous purchase so I'm looking to keep the cost low, thus the focus on Converse. I might order a few options.

    And the dress... I own far more than I wear, and I'm trying to be smarter about that. I have a vaguely similar McQueen sun dress that's a total closet orphan. But for $30, it's impossible to pass up, so I think I'll stop back by Crossroads today or tomorrow and snap it up. It looks more "me" in the photos than it did in person, somehow, and my partner loves it.

  • Joy replied 6 years ago

    What Angie said. Buy the dress in 3 if you still can. Love the color in 2 on you.
    Pink is a loaded color...shy and bashful or blatant look-at-me bright neon; innocent and saintly like pearlized pales or sexy and bad fleshy tones; feminine or masculine (as it was originally); seen in both sunrises and sunsets. How about dusty, earthy pink sneakers or oxfords, maybe suede and studded? Dark soles and laces? Distressed pink tee or one printed with a dark quotation?

  • Joy replied 6 years ago

    I meant to say that you could tell your brain that you are doing science...color experiments.

  • Greyscale replied 6 years ago


    I'd probably say I'm an ENTP rather than INTP but the extroversion is very situational. I agree exactly about how it's easier to pick out cool unexpected things than to go on a hunt for a specific item. And I love those pink bombers. (I wish the Jil Sander one came in black as I've been looking for something just like that...)


    Ha!! Of course I'm a year behind the trend... so it always goes with me. First reaction, a few years ago: ew, pink. Slowly, as I start adjusting to the new idea, I buy into it - and then it's over. But at least that means prices are discounted!

  • Rambling Ann replied 6 years ago

    Can I just say, as a fellow redhead (very similar hair color and texture, less pink skin tones), pastel AQUA? 

  • columbine(erin) replied 6 years ago

    I hope you are able to get the dress! I did like that first top on you, it seems like a shade worth exploring some more, with your coloring. 

  • lozz_oz replied 6 years ago

    I can relate somewhat to the tendency to 'overthink' purchases etc. Ive tried to simplify my wardrobe to remove some of the decision making by minimizing the colour palette of core items or base layers + then adding new or untried colours by adding them in the form of accessories  (shoes, scarves, earrings, bags etc)
    That's also why I find thrifting allows you to 'experiment' without a huge outlay + thus making any 'mistakes' small + relatively inexpensive.

  • Staysfit replied 6 years ago

    The style of the first top may not thrill you, but the color is great for you. It doesn't wash you out at all, and it really does suit you well. I think the color of the second top may be a bit too bright or maybe intense and it comepetes with your face and for that reason I don't like it as much. Love the dress!

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