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How To Wear Purple (Violet) in Menswear – Color Combination Tips

How To Wear Purple (Violet) in Menswear – Color Combination Tips


Welcome back to the Gentleman’s Gazette!
In today’s video, we’ll discuss how to wear and pair the color purple in your
outfits and why it’s a color that you should reach for more often in your
wardrobe. We’ve already done a number of other videos on how to wear and pair
different colors in your outfits; for example, you can find our video on how to
wear pink here. But there are some colors in the world of menswear
other than the standard neutrals of blue, brown, and gray that many men think are
more difficult to incorporate into their outfits. Some of these colors would be
green, orange, and the color we’re focusing on today, purple. In centuries
past, the color purple was fairly difficult to
produce for different kinds of garments and for that reason, the color was
usually reserved for Kings and Emperors and other people of similar status.
However, we don’t have those same kinds of issues today so anyone is free to
wear the color purple and because of that, we think you should do it more
often. With that said then, let’s briefly cover the history of the color purple in
menswear. As I just mentioned, it was worn only by aristocracy for a certain period
of time, principally because the color purple was so hard to produce. For much
of history, good purple dyes could only be extracted from one particular type of
sea snail and because of this, it took up to a quarter-million snails just to
produce one ounce of usable purple dye. This process was first developed by the
ancient Phoenicians and would go on to be used by various societies in the Near
East and the Mediterranean including the Roman Empire. In fact, in Rome, no one but
the Emperor was allowed to wear the color purple and violators of this rule
would face death. Only in the mid 19th century did industrial processes become
more common that could make purple garments widely available to the masses.
Since then, purple still hasn’t been a widely worn color in many parts of the
world but this is more due to a general lack of popularity than any actual exclusivity and of course, as with any color, there are
multiple shades to consider. Some purples may have more red tones in them
while others will contain more cool blue tones. Purple, of course, is a secondary
color on the color wheel meaning that it’s made up from two primary colors, red
and blue. If you’d like more information on how the color wheel works and how to
use it to your advantage in menswear, you can find our video on
that subject here. Reddish purples like maroon and burgundy can be a bit easier
to incorporate into many outfits, especially during the autumnal months
when those warm colors harmonize with the seasonal palette. Cooler purples can
be a bit more of a challenge as they stick out more but as you’ll see, we’ve
got some tips for wearing any shade of purple in today’s video. So with history
and optics out of the way, let’s now focus on a few general principles for
how to best wear purple in your outfits. Many of the guidelines for wearing
purple more broadly pertain to any bright or contrasting hue in clothing
which is to say if you’re going to wear a piece that incorporates some bright
color, you should tamp down the overall effect
in your outfit by pairing it with other more muted garments for a harmonious
look. For example, if you happen to be wearing a necktie that has green and
purple stripes and would therefore be considered a bit bold, wearing it with
something muted like a dark gray suit could be a good idea or if you’re
wearing purple striped socks you might want to tamp them down with a neutral
like beige pants or dark brown shoes. In general, until you’ve really learned the
ropes of combining brighter and bolder colors together in the same outfit, it’s
probably best that you confine purple or similar colors to just one or two
accessories in your outfit and then have more neutral tones such as the staples
of gray, navy, and brown to harmonize things and smooth out the overall look
of the ensemble. Also, because blue is a sister
color of sorts to purple given that blue is one of the colors that makes it up,
you can pair brighter blues with purple for a stunning effect. Still, it will take
some more care. In terms of seasonality, purple is actually a fairly versatile
color. As we said, it’s made up of a warm primary color, red and a cool primary
color, blue. So you can wear the warmer shades, the purples that contain more
red in the fall and winter months. Meanwhile, the cooler shades that contain
more blue in the purple are best for spring and summer. Still, if you know how
to combine your accessories and other garments tastefully, you can wear any
different shade of purple more or less year-round. Also, be mindful of how the
shade of purple that you’re wearing can harmonize or not, as the case may be, with
your skin tone. For example, purple will often not have too much of an effect
when worn by people with fair skin but if you do have some blotchiness to your
complexion, wearing purples with red tones closer to your face could
accentuate some of that blotchiness. Stronger or bolder purples are probably
easier worn by people with a darker complexion, as is true for any brighter
shade, since there’s less of an overall contrast. If you’d like to learn more
about how you can determine which colors go best with your skin tone, you can find
our video on that subject here. With all that said then, let’s actually get into
the nitty gritty of wearing purple in your outfits and what the easiest ways
are to do it. We’ll start with what we think the most easy way to wear purple
in your outfits is, which is by incorporating it into your accessories.
The first accessory we’ll discuss is a purple pocket square. If you’d like to
ease yourself into wearing purple in your outfits, a pocket square is a small
accessory and therefore, fits that bill well. With that said though, there’s even
a way that you could do this as a gradual process starting by wearing a
pocket square that only incorporates some purple, let’s say into
it’s pattern. From there, you could graduate on to wearing a pocket square
that’s almost entirely purple or at least, uses purple as its principal color
with other colors also incorporated. From there, the next step up would likely be
not only trying purple pocket squares but also purple neckties or bow ties. The
same principle applies here in that you could start with a tie that only
incorporates purple in smaller amounts and then work your way up to using
purple as the main color. Just two style notes here; the first, don’t wear an
overly shiny satin silk tie as these will always come across looking cheap.
Second, if you’re going to wear both a purple tie and pocket square,
they shouldn’t be of the same matching fabric. This will just look like they
came in a set and that you didn’t incorporate much creativity in putting
together your outfit. There are also other accessories you could wear that
incorporate purple as a color, such as a boutonniere or indeed, shoelaces. Wearing
a purple boutonniere is particularly nice because it reminds us that purple
is indeed a naturally occurring color. And while most men probably don’t
consider changing the shoelaces in their shoes very often, this is also a
particularly smart way to incorporate different colors into your outfit. In the
case of purple shoelaces, not only could they jazz up something like a pair of
black Oxfords but if you wore them with a more spring or summer style, like a
pair of white buckskin shoes, they would definitely look bright and colorful. One
final accessory to discuss here today is socks. Purple is a good color to
incorporate into your socks because they’re not going to be readily seen all
the time, only perhaps when you’re seated or if somebody happens to look down at
your ankles while you’re walking. As you may have guessed already, the reason
we mentioned so many different types of purple accessories is because we offer
several varieties in the Fort Belvedere shop. We’ve got purple neckties and bow
ties of various shades, purple boutonnieres, purple shoelaces, and purple
socks, all available so you should definitely take a look. If you’ve got
purple accessories mastered in your wardrobe already, the next step up to
making purple even more readily visible is to wear it as one of your layers. For
example, as a shirt or as a sweater but as we discussed before, wearing a shirt
in a bright neon shade of purple is just going to make you look like a
twenty-something who’s ready for the club. Instead, you might as well wear a
purple in a brighter pastel hue and in fact, you could make it even more subtle
by just incorporating the purple into a shirt’s pattern. For example, something
like a puppy tooth or houndstooth pattern or the shirt I’m wearing here
today with a very subtle check. In fact, as one exception to our earlier point
about purple not being commonly worn in very many spots around the globe is the
fact that pastel purple shirts are fairly often worn in the United Kingdom
as a staple of business wear. In fact, we’ve seen more and more comments online
recently saying that wearing purple in the UK isn’t seen as very creative
anymore and is almost somewhat expected. Still,
here in the United States and in other parts of the globe, you can incorporate
purple and not be seen as someone who isn’t innovating and as with any type of
pattern, the larger the pattern gets in scale, the more casual the garment will
be. So for example, if you’ve still got a pastel purple color but the pattern of
your shirt is in a broader gingham, the shirt will be a bit more casual. And
while the purple colors in your shirts should probably remain a bit more
subdued, the way to wear brighter or bolder purples is often through
knitwear like sweaters. Especially under a more subdued garment like a sport coat
or other type of jacket, a brighter and bolder purple can give a pop of color
that isn’t overwhelming such as the sweater I’m wearing here today under the
more muted jacket. Now, we can get into the more adventurous territory of
incorporating purple into your outfits starting with purple trousers. As you
might well imagine, wearing bright purple pants in a shade like grape will be
seen as more extreme. However, if you do want to wear a pair of trousers that
incorporate purple, we’d suggest wearing a purple that has more red in it. If you
wear trousers in a shade like maroon, they can still pair easily with a
slightly wider array of garments and will also be seen as less in-your-face
or indeed, approaching the realm of something like go to hell pants which
you can find our article about here. Even more daring than purple trousers
would be a purple sport coat. You’ll probably be the center of attention if
you try to wear a jacket that is fully purple in color which would go against
style icon, Beau Brummel’s maxim that dressing well shouldn’t draw attention
to any particular garment but rather to the general aura that a man projects by
wearing things tastefully. So unless you’re directly trying to be the center
of attention, we would recommend that you incorporate purple into your jackets
only in an over check or a similarly subtle pattern rather than going for a
jacket that is entirely purple in makeup. The absolute riskiest avenue then would
be wearing a full purple suit. As you might guess, you would probably run the
risk of looking like the Joker if you were to do this and frankly, if you do
try to wear a fully purple suit, you won’t really be within the realm of
classic men’s style anymore but rather contemporary fashion. You should still, of
course, try to get the cut and the overall silhouette right but you won’t
be achieving a classic effect if you do go for a fully purple suit. Look online
for example images and you will see that some men can pull it off though as we’ve
said before, it would benefit to get the cut exactly right and also, to be a man
with a darker complexion as these colors will more easily harmonize together. It’s
risky to do but if you really want to take the plunge, the option is out there.
So while purple was once a color only associated with royalty, and then with
dandies and showmen, or in the case of the musician, Prince, all of the above, it’s no longer a color that can only be worn by
a select few. So long as you know how to incorporate it tastefully and
harmoniously by knowing what other colors are going to be in your outfit
and how these things will harmonize with your skin tone and other factors, you can
pull off purple. Start small by incorporating some accessories and then
move into larger and more prominent garments as you feel more comfortable.
Then as your comfort increases and purple starts to take up a larger real
estate within your wardrobe, you won’t have to worry about suppressing any
violent tendencies when you put together your outfits. in today’s video I’m
wearing just about as many purple garments as I could get my hands on I
probably wouldn’t normally wear this many purple garments in my outfit at one
time but I am illustrating the principle that if you follow the guidelines we’ve
outlined today it is possible to wear multiple purple garments at once and
still look harmonious and put together. the most prominent purple element in my
outfit today is probably my sweater which is in a warmer berry shade when
combined with my jacket which is more muted the effect is still overall
harmonious underneath the sweater is my shirt which is also purple but in a fine
Glen check pattern since the shirt isn’t solid purple in color but rather just
incorporates the color into its pattern the overall effect again is subtle my
vintage tie also incorporates a warmer purple to harmonize with the sweater and
features a repeating geometric pattern that also has blue orange and a greenish
yellow color I wear this tie often as I do appreciate repeating micro patterns
and I find that this warmer purple goes with multiple outfits my cuff links
feature Paisley in shades of purple on a fabric that is inset into silver colored
metal and as you might have guessed all of my other purple elements in my outfit
today are from Fort Belvedere we’ll start with my pocket square which is a
purple madder silk that also features a repeating green diamond
motif and red paisleys in its border my boutonniere is a cornflower which while
commonly referred to as blue does feature some purple in its color and
therefore harmonizes with the other elements in my outfit and my socks are
dark green in color but feature purple in their shadow stripes you can find
these socks the boutonniere and the pocket square in the Fort Belvedere shop
here as for the other elements in my outfit I’ve taken cues from our lessons
today and made sure that they’re more neutral in color my sport coat features
a herringbone weave but its overall charcoal in color though it does
incorporate tones of brown similarly my trousers are taupe in color meaning that
they are essentially also gray brown and my shoes which are cap toe Oxfords are
dark brown suede and therefore harmonized with both my trousers and
with pops of color in my jacket we didn’t happen to have any purple
shoelaces on hand in the studio here today that I could put in my shoes but
rest assured that we do offer purple shoelaces as well as boot laces in the
Fort Belvedere shop and you can find them here

34 thoughts on “How To Wear Purple (Violet) in Menswear – Color Combination Tips

  1. I would have never guessed that was Justinian the Great, the Eastern Roman Emperor (Emperor of the Byzantine Empire) from 527 to 565 @ :48.

  2. What's your favorite way to wear purple? Let us know!
    *Also, a note for our eagle-eyed viewers: the onscreen title at 2:19 should read, "Shades of Purple," and at 11:01 should read, "Purple Trousers, Jackets, & Suits." 😉 Thanks for watching!
    – Preston

  3. Am I a man? No. Do I even wear Western clothing or men's clothing? Absolutely not. Yet, yet this channel manages to share tips that are so helpful for even me who comes from South Asia and wears South Asian clothes only. And Preston is my favorite. 😍😍

    We have a rule here, that those with dark skin tones like mine shouldn't wear purple, because it makes our skin tone look even more dull and highlight the purplish hyperpigmented tones of the skin. But for me personally purple is a top favorite. I always get compliments when I wear purple, and my most favorite sari is my mom's purple and gold sari that I wear at every special event!

  4. Bust bought a buttoned down purple shirt (suited for neckties, not too casual) that is very bright. British style 👍

  5. Love this video.
    Purple is my most favourite colour, I have a lot of clothing articles in purple, one of them is my shirt that you can see in my profile picture 🙂

  6. I’m a woman and I think that purple is a color that any man can pull off. It gives off a very refined, yet playful look. If I see a man wearing purple, it makes me think that he’s confident, put-together, but still approachable.

    With that being said, men should feel free to wear any color! I personally don’t subscribe to the belief that colors are “gendered,” as colors are a natural phenomena that different human cultures throughout history have given varying superficial meanings and connotations. If a man looks good in a color, he should wear it. Period.

  7. Because it's my favorite and I love it. I would notice it ahe smile. Just be careful not to end up looking like the Joker.

  8. Great video. I see Preston, I click faster! I especially watch your videos Preston! I am a big fan. Love from a lady in Pakistan. ❤️

  9. Glad you added the history in there. Purple became one of my favorite colors after studying the medieval Roman (Byzantine) Empire…fantastic as always, Preston!

  10. Great and very informative video as usual. Preston has been an awesome addition to the Gentleman’s Gazette and I’m always interested in his opinions and ideas when it comes to men’s clothing.

  11. I love purple, but as a woman I like purple sweaters, purple silk, and purple velvet, or purple as a very minor element in a print; that's pretty much it. I dislike plain purple cotton shirts because it's difficult to make woven cotton look expensive in purple for some reason, at least to my eye.

  12. Cornflower? Don't try that in Germany. Political connotations sadly go before taste here… well, unfortunately everything goes before taste in Germany.

  13. I remember I had a red and blue stripe shirt where the stripes were so fine and close together that it would often get mistaken as purple unless you were looking very closely.

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