Paoletti found that our adoption of gender-specific colors was a gradual process.The idea of associating pastel colors with children happened in the middle of the 19th century, but it would take another 7 decades before we started assigning specific colors to specific purposes.By 1947, fashion designers like Christian Dior were advertising the clothing of the postwar ideal. And it makes a tremendous amount of heartbreaking sense.
It was also a time when women who grew up in the gender-neutral era of the 1960s were having children of their own, and there was a newfound sort of pride in identifying a baby daughter with pink headbands and pink diapers.
If being feminine was a bad thing in the 1960s, it was a good thing by the 1980s.
Public opinion wasn't divided, either, and she found that for several years in the 1970s some of the biggest retailers in the country completely dropped the idea of pink clothes for girls.
The idea was that dressing girls in pink was going to lead to them continuing to feel like they needed to conform to the gender rules that had been set in place a few decades before.
It was a practical matter rather than one of fashion, as it was easy enough to bleach dirtied clothes when they were all white.