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


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1. Madder Silk Pocket Square in Purple with Green Diamond Motif and Red Paisley –
2. Cornflower Boutonniere –
3. Shadow Stripe Ribbed Socks Dark Green and Purple –

*Note: the onscreen title at 2:19 should read, “Shades of Purple,” and at 11:01 should read, “Purple Trousers, Jackets, & Suits”

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.

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.

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. 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. 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 wearin

Easiest ways to wear purple:
1. 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.

2. 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.

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.