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

Fri, Nov 18, 2022 2:23pmGrey Clock 4 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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Savvy travellers who plan their trips around dining at their destination’s most in-demand restaurants know that securing a reservation at a top Paris eatery isn’t an easy proposition on any given day.

Come the Olympics in July, when the city is flooded with tourists, one would expect the jockey sport to snag a table to be that much more intense. But that’s not necessarily shaping up to be the case. As of mid-May, Parisian insiders such as hotel managers, restaurant owners, and local luxury concierges reported that inquiries at sought-after spots were no higher than usual, foretelling a potential opportunity for visitors looking for a fine-dining experience during the games.

The time to book falls over the next few weeks given that many top spots don’t take reservations until one month before the dining date.

The Michelin-starred Jean Imbert Au Plaza Athenee and Le Relais Plaza, both at Hotel Plaza Athenee and helmed by the renowned French chef Jean Imbert, are two examples.

Francois Delahaye, the COO of the Dorchester Collection, a hospitality company that includes the Plaza Athenee and a second Paris property, Le Meurice, says that his regular guests who are visiting for the games and Parisians who frequent the restaurants know not to call too far in advance of when they want to dine.

Further, he doesn’t foresee reservations being a challenge at either venue or at Le Meurice’s two-Michelin-starred Restaurant Le Meurice Alain Ducasse.

“Booking for the restaurants won’t be an issue because people are planning meals at the last minute,” Delahaye says. “Also, the people who are in Paris specifically for the Olympics are here for the games, not to eat at restaurants. They’re not the big-spending clientele that we usually get.”

Delahaye doesn’t expect the kinds of peak crowds that descend on fine dining during Fashion Week each spring and autumn, for example, when trying to land a seat at the three eateries is nearly impossible. “People are fighting to get in,” he says. “You need to book through your hotel’s concierge, have an inside source, or be a hotel or restaurant regular.”

Several Paris luxury concierge companies echoed Delahaye’s perspective

Manuel de Croutte, the founder of Exclusive & Private, says that Paris regulars probably aren’t planning a trip when the Olympics transpire—from July 26 to Aug. 11—because they want to avoid the tourist rush. “We’ve gotten some reservation requests from people who’ve heard about us but not nearly as many as we usually get when the very wealthy travellers are here,” he says.

During peak periods like the French Open or Fashion Week, de Croutte says that his job entails making bookings for travellers who don’t have any other way to get into buzzy or Michelin-starred establishments.

“You’re unlikely to get a table at a see-and-be-seen place without knowing someone,” de Croutte says. “No one picks up the phone or answers email.” He says his team has established relationships with managers and owners of many of the hot spots in Paris and often visits them in person to land tables.

Exclusive & Private’s Black Book of Paris restaurant recommendations for Olympic visitors span a broad range, from casual bistros to fine-dining.

Michelin eateries include the three-star Le Gabriel at La Reserve, the two-star Le Clarence near the Champs-Elysee, and the two-star Le Taillevent.

Spots without a Michelin star but equally notable are also on de Croutte’s list: L’ Ami Jean offers traditional and flavourful southwestern French cuisine, Allard is a brasserie from Alain Ducasse, and Laurent serves French food to a fashionable set.

“My favourite neighbourhood for restaurants is Saint Germain de Pres,” de Croutte says. “You’ll find unassuming but chic names with excellent food and a great vibe. You can book with these places directly if you’re here for the Olympics, but don’t wait until the last minute because they will get filled.”

He also cautions that some Paris eateries are asking for nonrefundable prepayments for reservations during the Olympics.

“Be sure you want to go before committing and ask about the refund policy if you are charged,” he says.

Stephanie Boutet-Fajol, the founder of Sacrebleu Paris, says her bespoke travel company charges a lump sum of about US$750 to make all the restaurant bookings for the Olympic period, though the price varies depending on the dates and the number of restaurants that a client requests. “Reservations around the closing ceremony are harder to come by because that’s when more elite travelers are coming to Paris and want the chic restaurants that are always difficult to get a table at,” she says.

Meanwhile, chefs at some Michelin-starred restaurants share that they have tables available during the Olympics and welcome travellers to their establishments.

Thibaut Spiwack, for one, behind the Michelin-starred Anona, serving modern French cuisine, and the culinary consultant for the popular Netflix series Emily in Paris , says that he is open for reservations.

“My team and I look forward to sharing a culinary experience with new clientele that I hope will remain in their memory,” he says.

Spiwack suggests that travellers check out other worthwhile restaurants where he himself dines. For terrific wine, there’s Lava, and for Italian, he likes Epoca where the pastas are “divine.” Janine is the best bistro in town, and Prima wins for a pizza fix, he says.

“You have a lot of restaurants in Paris to pick from,” Spiwack says. “You just need to determine where you want to go, and book as soon as you can.”