Deep Purple or a Whiter shade?

posted in: Colour Analysis | 3

I am a little bit in love with purple. It’s made from blue and red and is a good colour for most people. But the absence of yellow means it is not a great colour for people with warmer complexions as it may drain their colour. While the people with cool complexions and hair should avoid orange (unless they are deep), the same goes for warms – avoid purple unless you have deep colouring. I personally dislike it as a decorating colour, but I have got a marvellous velvet chaise longue.

Purple velvet chaise longue from Liberty
Liberty cushion and Velvet Chaise Longue

It’s seen a creative, innovative and confident colour, and is associated with quality, authenticity and successes. However it is also has associations with ageing, and perhaps with nutty women with more than three cats.

five women dressed in purple
Beverly Hills luncheon

What do you wear with purple? Firstly if it is deep then treat like navy – wear with white, red, light cool yellow, mid green, grey and silver. A muted purple will tone nicely with similar muted tones of purple and pink. Bright purple works well with the stronger bright greys, navys and black, one other bright shade plus a neutral, and looks sensational with red too. The recent purple outfit that most struck me was Carla Bruni’s purple Dior coat, here worn with a very nice grey trouser suit (is the jacket a little tight?) and flat shoes. She also wore the coat over black trousers, and a purple dress.

Carla Bruni in Purple Dior coat
Carla Bruni in Dior

There is a purple for everyone. Just choose a purple which flatters your own natural colouring.

Deep or Light?

deep and light purple swatches
Deep or Light purple

Cool or warm?

Cool or warm purple?
Cool or warm purple?

Bright or Deep?

Bright and muted purple swatches
Bright or muted purple?

I already featured Esme’s purple dress, made up in a nice bright purple that we also got in Simply Fabrics. I used my tried and tested pattern Butterick 4386, and this weekend she kindly modelled it in person. She was too tired to stand up!

Esme in Butterick 4386
Esme in Butterick 4386




3 Responses

  1. Brenda Marks

    Today as I was thinking about your posts on color, I remembered that the most recent “color guru” I was enamored with was David Zyla. He talks about choosing colors based on colors from your body (hair, eye, skin, lip, etc.). The fundamental palette is quite limited- tints and shades of 8 colors. He goes on to suggest how these colors create a mood (e.g. to wear the color of the veins on your wrist when you want to be noticed/dramatic). This idea that certain colors are to be used in certain situations led me down a fairly narrow path and I ended up with a lot of brown. Not that there’s anything wrong with brown (a “friendly color” for a teacher with brown hair), but this was too much. Now I’m incorporating more blue (everyone’s favorite color?), teal and purple.

    • fabrickated

      Your photograph is too tiny for me to see what sort of brown hair you have – but if it is reddish brown then it is likely the browns will suit you. Plus anything with a yelloish under tone eg orange, limey-yellowy greens, coral, peachy pinks, turquoise, teals, warm yellows. But if it is blackish browns I think cooler shades may work better – blues, purples, cool reds and pinks. Of course if your brown is muted then the softer, greyed off shades will suit you better.

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