Monday, December 28, 2015

Wearing Unflattering Colors: Purple

I adore purple - I could easier become a really nutty "wears nothing but purple" person... There's a woman here in Chicago who wears EVERY shade of purple, and nothing BUT purple, every day. She combines the shades and nuances with reckless abandon, and carries it off with panache. I don't always like it, but I always notice it. And she seems very happy....

Frankly, I'm not convinced that all of these combinations work - certainly they wouldn't work for me. But everybody gets to decide for themselves, and if you love it, go with it!

This grouping all started with the very cool purple shoes...

Bag – Jimmy Choo; trainers – Fratelli Rossetti; tee shirt – Uniqlo; crop knit 
pants – Helmut Lang; Night Creature nail polish – NARS; bracelet – Panapha;
 ring – Isabel Englebert

I'm really not sure about this combination, but I have to admit that the accessories are all pretty nice. (and the jewelry is VERY affordable....)

I think it's a question of the confidence and conviction with which one wears something - if you look like you love it, you're going to be fine; purple flowers grow from brown soil, so it's not like we're breaking any big rules of life here!

Bag – Tory Burch; sandals – Ralph Lauren; brown tee – The Great; capris – 
Dosa;  Purple Reign nail polish - Londontown; bracelet – Gorjana
ring Bijoux Bar

I think this combination looks really natural and pretty. The shoes, again, were the starting point, but I could easily have been inspired by the jewelry too...

bag – 3.1 Phillip Lim; trainers – Gienchi; tee shirt – Uniqlo; trousers – Carven
Whisper nail polish – Michael Kors; bracelet – Lagos
 ring – Sharra Pagano

I really HAD to include this pair of shoes - I'm fascinated by iridescence! And the bracelet was a match made in heaven...

The backpack idea for test-driving, or indulging, in a favorite color is a good one; there are backpacks available in EVERY color of the rainbow; it's kind of amazing once you start looking at them all!

And if you're REALLY committed to an unusual color, and want a pair of excellent shoes in that color, look at Tod's. They're eye-wateringly expensive, but since they do so few styles, they do a bajillion colors. And once you have a pair of them, you've got them pretty much for life - they're that good!

Backpack – Fjall Raven; mocsTod’s; taupe tee – Uniqlo; trousers – Austin
 Reed; Night Purple nail polish - NARS; bracelet – Alexandra Alberta;
 ring – Andre Benitah

This was so easy, once I found the handbag! And this is a really nice color - easier to wear than many shades, and relatively easy to find in a variety of accessories and clothes. Don't forget that when you're looking for things that are purple, you have to also search for violet, lilac, lavender, wisteria etc. etc. Just think of a purple flower - some designer SOMEWHERE has used it to describe items they've designed!

bag – Kate Spade; mocsTod’s; tee shirt – Uniqlo; trousers – Mango
Harmonious Mess – Orly; bracelet – Lagos
ring - Target

I think I missed a memo somewhere... In searching for all things purple, I kept seeing this color, described as lilac. Now, I've SEEN lilacs this color, but this is NOT what I would CALL lilac... 

Whatever. I'm including it here, because it's really lovely, and because I love the juxtaposition of a traditional Coach handbag with Converse high-tops...

bag – Coach; trainers – Converse; tee shirt – Etro; cropped pants – Chloe
Lilac Rose nail polish – Dolce & Gabbana; bracelet – Chan Luu
ring - Armour

I'm going to try chartreuse, although I'm not really sure that I'll find enough items to make it happen... it might stray into acid green and neon yellow....


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  1. I love this series, but I am not certain the purple sets work as well as the others. Perhaps purple is an elusive color? I very much look forward to tomorrow's post.

  2. Like you I love purple...but it is the eggplant, deep purple I wear. I am just not into lilac or lighter ones even in the warmer weather. But it is nice to see the possibilities!

  3. I adore all things purple. (my trike as a child was "grape"!!) With brown, the very palest lavender works really well. It's a combination I wear often, in fact.

    The periwinkle is fabulous with the navy!

  4. I love all things purple! My fave out of all these groupings is the navy and lavender. Like you, I would NOT call the color in the last grouping "lilac." I'd call it pink. :-)

  5. This is such an interesting series...olive, duller than chartreuse, might be fun.

  6. The second from bottom reads as pale periwinkle on my monitor and the bottom as mauve. That's an interesting world, when purple is gentled by more blue or pink. The top combos, purple with, uh, tobacco brown, cause queasiness in me- but might work as tones in a print like those odd ones Prada do.

  7. I adore purple, but the purple I like best isn't really any of these. My favorite has a blue undertone. It's really hard to find right now, though...

  8. I agree with Beckie that a more lilac shade works better with brown. I'd be tempted to use a print scarf as a belt to tie it together. I find eggplant and deep plum much easier to manage than these brighter shades.

  9. I also really like what I call dirty purple, a browned down purple. It seems to be very versatile for me. I just know you will be showing us your new shoes anytime soon!! I am curious about what you will zone down on.
    Deb from Vancouver

    1. I love browned purples and purpley browns. Great moniker: "dirty purple" - we call it our family brown, because it looks good on every woman in my gene pool, both fair and dark. : )

  10. I was surprised to see purple named as an unflattering color! Periwinkle is a favorite of mine. I wear it with navy as you've shown it, and also with white, denim, grey or khaki. As you illustrate so often, accessory families are a key element to looking put together. Mary

  11. I just purchased a soft mauve ( as shown with the grey) mohair sweater. I'll bet I could "dress it down" with my grey jeans and mauve trainers. This series is opening lots of possibilities for me using my grey/navy neutral choices. Exciting!

  12. What fun to look at these groups! With brown, I love darkest eggplant purple - the brown with a black/sable sable undertone. Mmm. One of my favorite color combos on others, although I've never worn it. In the second combo you show here, I would prefer a pale, pale summer linen brown with that warm undertone and those larkspur accessories.
    Sue G

  13. I may be one of three people on earth who actively dislikes purple. (I am less repelled by lavender, though.) I often wonder what it is that makes a color evoke strong reactions.

  14. I suit dark colors, so never wear pastel blues, greys or pinks. I'm thinking about getting some light blue jeans- just to mix things up a bit. The navy lavender combo above provides some good impressions of how it might look. Thanks.

  15. It also makes me think that I'll aim for a dark pastel rather than light pastel to give a bit more oomph to the overall look. Hmmmmm

  16. After reading several of these posts about unflattering colors I've come to the realization that you can wear almost any shade ----- as long as it is in small amounts and perhaps not a solid. I don't have any purple in my closet yet I can readily see where a printed scarf with some purple in it would be fine. Yet I would never use purple as my main accessory color. Lilac, lavender and periwinkle are fine with me and while I might select 1 or 2 items in that shade - that would be it - I'd never add additional items in the same color.
    Mary mcm

  17. I love plum and periwinkle. the accessories here are very fun. I'm experimenting with a lot more colors now that my hair is silver, so I love looking at all these possibilities.

  18. :-) As I'm a real purple fan, I like these combinations a LOT!!!
    Thanks for putting them together and sharing them.
    HAPPY Holidays! :-)

  19. Such interesting combinations today! I find that plum seems to work with brown pretty well. - nancyo

  20. I'm all about that purple (and the black) in the first grouping. There is nothing about that grouping that I would ever tire off. Searching for the accessories and the bling, now, and perhaps a gorgeous shirt or jacket in that deep vibrant purple shade. My eye shadows hover around that color--for some reason it seems to go best with my bright green eyes. Anyway, that first shade of purple would go with everything I own, from the mostly blacks, the silvery greys, the shiny moss greens, and the shiny browns. You've inspired me to do a lot more shopping to add to my Project 33. It will soon be Project 50!

  21. Lavender and lilac are colors that can be found in the circles under my eyes, and wearing those colors just bring them out even more. Now dark purples, especially if there's a lot of blue in them - those work for me!

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