PEACH, GRAY HAIR, and your mother

The color peach and gray hair have both been on my mind lately.  (not to mention the growing strands of gray that increasingly grace my head, o natural, now that i'm the ripe old age of 32).  I couple months ago I read an article in the fashion section of the New York times about gray hair as a trend among hipsters and just recently in my hometown of Cincinnati caught sight of an early 20 something fashionista sporting a full head of gray locks.  The times article talked about the irony of teens and 20 somethings dying their hair gray when their mothers (and sometimes fathers) spend into the billions collectively  washing that gray right out.  Course, there's a handful of potential cultural influences, Japanese anime characters, the granny chic movement, and I would love to say a cultural shift toward embracing the aging process in general…but this seems like a long shot at this point…baby steps.

Way past flirting on the cultural edges like the gray hair trend, the color peach seems to be surpassing it's role as pink's ugly step sister, in the words of Heather Spriggs, a lifelong friend and color guru . I recently walked into Urban Outfitters to find it as the dominant color, both in display and clothing options…they were pretty unapologetic in their peachiness. But then a continued clash of aesthetic values rages on Heather's blog over peach's place in fashion and design. One reader told the author to "put her hands up and step away from the peach paint" as if she was about to commit style suicide!  Wow, people sure do get impassioned about their color choices…

But of course, it's not just about color.  It's never just that. It's all of what that color represents.  Like the aroma of your grandma's baking bread or the now pungent smell of your ex's perfume, color can take you back too. And to many folks in my generation, peach reminds us of our mother's decor, the peach + mint green or mauve and country blue options of the eighties.  We've hated peach ever since puberty and the need to differentiate from our parents.  But wait, the peach haters have kids now and some are even old enough to sense what we hate and subsequently embrace it. Maybe they also see their mother's distain for her gray hair. So they are now off to soak their head in silver dye.  What up with that?

In my opinion, a lot that is good and wholesome and intrinsic to being human….fascination with novelty and variety, need to differentiate from previous generations, the questioning of arbitrary rules, embracing change…all good stuff that helps us grow when balanced with some humility and intellectual depth.

Those last two points are key to me: humility to express ourselves without making our own rules to contradict the one's we're questioning (my mother used WAY too much peach, so therefore any amount of peach is WRONG. Never mind that incredible peachy, pink sunset)  And depth…so you see your mother dying out her gray hair and you decide to "go gray."  That's fun, but what if you looked a little deeper into why she does what she does and instead of only rebelling with your gray hair and baby face, decide to be a part of a culture that embraces aging and subsequently change society, instead of just your hair. And I bet gen. Y's have the guts to do just that. I like them; they're feisty.