© Pantone LLC

“Trend” seems to be the word of the week for me.   First, Pantone released their color of the year, Radiant Orchid.  I generally don’t pay much attention to things like “the color of the year,” but I’d just finished listening to a segment on NPR’s Planet Money that talked about how color trends are determined.

The segment was part of a project the program has been undertaking to track the development and production of a tee shirt.  In last week’s Vintage Miscellany I posted a composite website they put together that tells about what they learned, but all summer and fall they did segments.  Thanks to Lynn Mally, I discovered the other programs.

In choosing the colors for the Planet Money tee shirts, the company who managed the manufacturing, Jockey, consulted a color trend manual.  There are groups, like Pantone, I suppose, that track colors as they emerge in things featured in the news.  For instance, the color forecasters noticed that due to a recent sell of one of his paintings, the colors used by artist Frank Stella in his protractor series were becoming familiar to the public.  The more people see a color, the more they tend to see it as new and popular.

So the Planet Money pink came directly from a Frank Stella painting.

Another encounter with trends came from a book I’m reading, The Power of Style, by Annette Tapert and Diana Edkins.  This book has been around since 1994, and I read it then, but I found a copy in a thrift store recently so I added it to my library and decided to reread it.

I was reading about Millicent Rogers, and how she varied the way she dressed depending on where she was living.  In 1936 she moved to Austria, and took up elements of Tyrolean costume in her dress.  She would go to Paris, mixing her Schiaparellis with Austrian peasant costume.  Before long other women, including the influential Wallis Simpson, were doing the same.  Next thing you know, this was a full blown trend.  Of course, there were probably other factors, including the exposure Germanic folk dress received during the 1936 Olympic Games which were held in Berlin.

Still, it was good food for thought.

A side note:  The color trends program was done in response to criticism that the woman’s tee shirt was to be made in pink, a color that many consider to be “girly”.  Many thought it to be  stereotypical and patronizing.  It’s true that the men’s shirt would never have been made in pink, and it is also interesting that the program did not really address the issue.


Filed under Viewpoint

9 responses to “Trends

  1. I’m going to look for that vintage book you’re reading, Lizzie! Even though fashion has gone global (for better or worse) I’m always fascinated by the cultural differences in dress. Men in Europe wearing pink shirts and colorful yet tasteful clothes all the time, because there’s no “girly” reference to pink over there. Many American men tend to be afraid of color and style because they think they might be considered effeminate. It says a lot about our culture.


    • It’s a great book, and I’ll probably do a full review later.

      It all made me think of the guys in my high school class (1973) There were quite a few who wore ruffled shirts in pastel colors to dances, and lots of them wore velveteen jeans in purple and yellow. And we thought they were hot.


  2. I made my husband a pink linen shirt about a year and some ago. As we understood, pink was in for men at the time… but it is true that some guys where I grew up just wouldn’t wear pink… and to be honest, sometimes we’d follow what’s in and other times not so much.


  3. Have an aversion to pink for myself, which didn’t stop me from enjoying the online series or finding the book in my library. Am looking forward to getting an understanding of how this business is put together.

    del, who always seems to want “un-trendy” fabric!


  4. Pingback: Chiffon Blouse, Early 1920s | witness2fashion

  5. In a million years, I never would have thought that enough of the public would pay attention to the sale of a Frank Stella painting to create a color trend.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.