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Wednesday 7 September 2022

Purpleologists of the World Unite!

 & WowOnWednesday Link-Up

How to use purple as a neutral:  wear it as a skirt or trousers and put your most flattering colours next to your face, as demonstrated by Gail Hanlon from over-50s style blog Is This Mutton?

Dear friends. Do you consider yourself a Purpleologist? This is a person who loves anything and everything to do with the colour purple. 

I discovered this week that purple is quite a divisive colour.  It's something you either love or hate. 

I'm an admin of a FB group called Sensational Springs, for women in the Kettlewell Colour Club who've been "diagnosed" as Spring and its various sub types. We have a challenge each fortnight where you style a particular colour.  Purple is the current colour, but hardly anyone is posting pics.  It seems a lot of women don't like purple!

It's natural that we wouldn't be attracted to all the colours in our season. Orange is my particular bĂȘte noire, unless you count pale variations like peach. 

The Purple Back Story

Purple used to be reserved just for royalty. Queen Elizabeth I forbade anyone except close members of the royal family to wear it. Purple's elite status stems from the rarity and cost of the dye originally used to produce it.

For centuries, the purple dye trade was centered in the ancient Phoenician city of Tyre in modern day Lebanon. The Phoenicians’ “Tyrian purple” came from a species of sea snail now known as Bolinus brandaris, and it was so rare that it became worth its weight in gold. 

To harvest it, dye-makers had to crack open the snail’s shell, extract a purple-producing mucus and expose it to sunlight for a precise amount of time. It took as many as 250,000 mollusks to yield just one ounce of usable dye, but the result was a vibrant and long-lasting shade of purple.

It's not a primary colour so purple is often a statement of independence. It's also associated with bravery, and the Purple Heart is awarded to members of the armed forces who are injured in the line of duty. Professional uses of purple convey high value and lofty goals.

This year a type of purple is the Pantone Colour of the Year, Very Peri. The wrap I'm wearing below is in an equivalent colour. 

Wearing the colour of the year 2022, Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton in Very Peri

There are a few negative perceptions of purple. A balance between red and blue, it can be seen as an unstable, non-traditional colour. Notions of royalty and ceremony can be off-putting, and purple can convey feelings of arrogance and condescension. Purple used professionally can feel a bit ambiguous.

Then there's that famous poem by Jenny Joseph: "Warning: When I Am An Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple” - 

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple, With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me. And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves, And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter 

I fully intend to carry on wearing purple into old age, and I already have satin sandals (see top picture). And sparkly purple brogues which started life as dance shoes, but were resoled so that I could wear them as normal shoes. I would love to acquire a purple velvet cape! Then I can go full Queen Elizabeth 1. 

I wouldn't describe myself as obsessed with purple, but I've always liked the colour. Purple doesn't really suit me next to the face, but that doesn't mean I can't wear it.  In the top picture, I'm pairing it with yellow and using purple as a neutral in my skirt and sandals. In the picture above, the "very peri", a warm purple, is harmonious with pink geranium, a warm pink. Purple is a great neutral because it works very well with colours like yellow, pink, light green and blue. 

Purple looks wonderful with a light green and sparkly brogue shoes, as shown by over 60 style blogger Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton

Most importantly, purple to me is Fun! 

Purple is fun! Wearing a purple beanie hat and velvet midi skirt with white trainers, over 50s style blogger Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton

What do you think about purple? Do you wear it? Like it or loathe it? Do tell in the comments. 

Outfits:  nothing was gifted for this post and no affiliate links used. Top pic:  acid yellow faux wrap top and pansy ruched skirt  by Kettlewell Colours, Second pic: short tie wrap in heliotrope, cosy cotton V in pink geranium by Kettlewell; necklace from Etsy, trousers from Robell.  Third pic: Ziggy sweater in jewel lobelia, belt in bright green metallic and apple infinity by Kettlewell. Brogues from Supadance London. Fourth pic:  Ziggy sweater as before, merino beanie and Zandra velvet skirt by Kettlewell. Trainers: Adidas Stan Smith. 

Now it's time for the #WowOnWednesday link-up. Bloggers/Instagrammers can find new readers, plus readers can find new blogs to read. 

Last Week's Favourites - Most Clicked

How to Dress Simple but Stylish by Rosemary at Distinctly Southern Style: 

The end of the month review by Penny at Frugal Fashion Shopper - celebrating her 48th wedding anniversary!

English Afternoon Tea is celebrated by Pamela at Style Yourself Confident (and it reminds me, I haven't had a lovely afternoon tea since before lock down!). 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


  1. Purple looks very good on you. I lovethe color especially when it's worn with pink or lilac. I have a purple skirt that I haven't worn for a while, maybe today!

  2. Oh my Gail, you look gobsmackingly gorg in purple, and that first outfit/pose/photo is
    O Hail Gail, The Purple and Lime Green Queen !

    Hugs, Mary, your adoring subject xxx.

    p.s. I remember my first purple; a month into 16 I dyed a cream shift purple as it was THE colour that season, LOVED it and wore it for many years.


  3. I think purple is a great colour and really can be worn with so many different hues that it makes it a happy colour. It also looks great on virtually anyone. Love your styles here.


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