‘Sad Beige’ Has Taken Over Baby Gear, Clothing, Decor | Kanebridge News
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‘Sad Beige’ Has Taken Over Baby Gear, Clothing, Decor

Parents are gravitating toward neutral hues that match their minimalist tastes; ‘I don’t think many kids’ favourite colour is beige’

By CHAVIE LIEBER
Thu, Nov 17, 2022 9:11amGrey Clock 3 min

Krissy Kyne, a 27-year-old makeup artist in San Antonio, is giving birth to a baby boy this week. The room waiting for him at home is neither blue nor pink, but beige.

It has a light-coloured wood crib, a woven jute rug, a latte-hued changing pad and a cream ottoman, with oatmeal throw pillows and camel muslin blankets strewn about. Ms. Kyne said her mother-in-law told her her taste for neutrals looked “sterile,” but she has committed to the aesthetic, stocking drawers with beige onesies, beige sweatsuits and beige socks.

Ms. Kyne joins a wave of parents eschewing bright and stereotypically gendered colours for kid wares, and instead choosing earthy, neutral tones aligned with minimalism. It’s a look TikTok satirist Hayley DeRoche has termed “sad beige,” but some see it as a happy development: The ecru, blond and brown products fit right in with their stylishly muted décor in the rest of the house.

“Our whole house isn’t changing because we have kids,” said Jen Atkin, a celebrity hairstylist and entrepreneur in Los Angeles known for working with the Kardashians—although she conceded that the aesthetic can invite stains. Because she has two kids and three dogs, she bought easy-to-clean beige outdoor rugs and couches for her home.

Kylie Jenner showed off the beige furnishings in her son Wolf’s nursery in a video from March. Caitlin Covington, a content creator in North Carolina known online as “Christian Girl Autumn,” often dresses her daughter in brown and ecru ensembles for portraits.

“I’ve been influenced by influencers,” said Amina Kadyrova, a mother of three in New Jersey. “I’m a victim of the marketing system. But I genuinely like it.” Neutral colours are easier to mix and match on kids, she added.

Earlier this year, Baby Gap created a designated beige section inside some stores after researching market trends, according to the brand’s head designer, Carolyn Koziak. A new line from Walmart, Easy Peasy, includes a lot of beige, too. According to Etsy, searches for beige kids clothes jumped 67% in the past 12 months compared with the previous period.

“It seems to be marketing this fantasy that if I buy neutrals, my children will also be neutral, calm and quiet,” said Ms. DeRoche, the TikTok user, who lives in Petersburg, Va.

Most children’s companies still sell lots of toys and clothes in bright and inviting primary colours. “It’s important to expose kids to learning colours to help them with their visual perception,” said Ann-Louise Lockhart, a pediatric psychologist in San Antonio. “Having variety is important for brain development.”

Amanda Gummer, a neuropsychologist and children’s play expert in Britain, said there isn’t evidence that colourless toys stunt developmental milestones. Still, Dr. Gummer said, “the motivation of having an Instagrammable house and not letting kids explore and make a mess worries me. I don’t think many kids’ favourite colour is beige.”

Ms. Atkin said her children can get their colour fix elsewhere. “My son will go to indoor gymnasiums, play centres, museums, and he gets covered in slime and goo, and colour and glitter,” she said. “We do that outside of our house, and then we get to come home to a nice, calm, clean environment.”

Other parents noted the pacifying nature of neutrals. “Brown and beige make me feel calmer,” said Maddie Berna, a photographer and mother of two in central California. “I personally don’t like super bright colours, and they do wear that sometimes, but it’s annoying to see all the time.”

Ms. Berna’s mother, Ashley Durham, isn’t a fan.

“All of Ellie’s bows are the same kind of beige and I would like her to wear something that sticks out more,” she said, referring to her 15-month-old granddaughter. “I do try to buy them brighter color clothing. I just never see them in it.”

Naomi Coe, a California-based interior designer specialising in kid’s rooms, said she experienced an influx of beige requests during the pandemic, when many parents were spending more time at home.

“Neutral is going to give you calm, serene, homey, cozy,” she said. “I’ve noticed a shift where people are after that feeling more.”

Laura Roso Vidrequin, founder of secondhand kids-clothing marketplace Kids O’Clock in London, said beige products sell three times as fast as other colours on the site—perhaps because they are gender-neutral, she said, hence easy to pass down.

Elizabeth Robles Jimenez, a mother of four in Downey, Calif., said she bought plenty of pink and princessy products for her first three daughters before settling on beige décor and wooden toys for her 2-year-old, Ava.

“I think whites and creams give her an opportunity to discover her own self and not have the mentality that because she’s a girl, she needs all pink,” Ms. Robles Jimenez said.

Mushie, a startup that makes pacifiers, bibs and stacking cups in beige hues, has seen double-digit growth this year, according to its chief executive, Levi Feigenson. Moms cited the labels Oat, Soor Ploom, the Simple Folk, Tiny Cottons, Jamie Kay, Nora Lee, Rylee + Cru as others with an abundance of beige products.

“When I started my company [over 10] years ago, you couldn’t get a baby or child garment in a neutral colour unless you went to Europe,” said Marissa Buick, the Brooklyn founder of kidswear brand Soor Ploom. Her colour choices reflect ones “you won’t find in a shop, but are in nature,” she said.

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The Lipstick Index Is Back

Sales of the cosmetic product are a bright spot in an otherwise bleak discretionary-goods environment

By JINJOO LEE
Fri, Nov 25, 2022 2 min

Masks off, lipstick index on.

In a gloomy economy, consumers might cut back on other discretionary purchases but will keep shelling out for small luxuries such as lipstick—or so goes the theory. “When lipstick sales go up, people don’t want to buy dresses,” Leonard Lauder, then-chairman of Estée Lauder who is widely credited for coming up with the so-called “lipstick index,” told The Wall Street Journal in 2001.

L’Oréal Chief Executive Nicolas Hieronimus called this out during the company’s earnings call in October, noting that a luxury lipstick or mascara is only €30, making it an “affordable treat.” Sales at L’Oréal rose 9.1% in the third quarter compared with a year earlier despite slower sales in China due to Covid-related lockdowns. Coty, maker of CoverGirl makeup, said organic sales grew 9% over the same period.

Beauty sales have also been a rare bright spot for retailers: Target said beauty category sales grew roughly 15% in its quarter ended Oct. 29 compared with a year earlier, with Ulta Beauty shops in Target tripling their total sales volume over that period.

While Macy’s namesake stores saw comparable-store sales decline last quarter, its beauty-focused Bluemercury chain saw same-store sales grow 14% last quarter compared with a year earlier. Kohl’s locations with Sephora are outperforming the rest of the department-store chain.

Of the 14 discretionary categories that market research firm NPD Group tracks, prestige beauty—products you might find at a department store or a Sephora—is the only category that is seeing unit sales growth year to date. And lipstick, which suffered during the masked-up pandemic, is making up for lost time.

Lipstick sales have grown 37% through October this year compared with a year earlier, according to Larissa Jensen, beauty industry analyst at NPD Group. That is an acceleration from the 31% growth seen during the same period last year. Lip product is the only major category within prestige beauty where sales are actually up compared with pre-pandemic levels, according to Ms. Jensen.

Cosmetic companies have also called out strong sales in fragrances, calling it the “fragrance index.” Demand has been so robust that there is an industrywide fragrance component shortage, Coty said in a press release announcing third-quarter earnings earlier this month. CEO Sue Nabi said during the call that Coty hasn’t seen any kind of trade-down or slowdown, also noting that consumers are shifting away from gifting perfume to buying it for themselves.

“A big piece of it is just a shift in what wellness means to consumers,” NPD Group’s Ms. Jensen said. “Beauty is one of the few industries that are positioned to meet [consumers’] emotional need. It makes them feel good.”

While the lipstick effect could be observed in the recession in the early 2000s, that wasn’t the case during the 2007-09 recession, during which lipstick sales declined alongside other discretionary purchases. Part of this might have had to do with category-specific dynamics.

There was a lot of newness in the cosmetic industry in 2001, including lip gloss, a relatively nascent category back then. That tailwind simply wasn’t there starting in 2008, though nail polish turned out to be consumers’ small indulgence of choice in that period. This time around, consumers may be eager to show off a part of their face that was hidden behind a mask for so long during the pandemic.

In an otherwise bleak environment for companies selling discretionary goods, those in the business of selling cosmetics look well poised to come out of the holiday season looking freshened up.

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