* I am thinking of this or this, not this.
Hands up who remembers the 80s, when so-called jewel colours were all the rage and teenage would-be fashion victims (viz.: me) would clad themselves from top to toe in said hues, sometimes wisely tempered with a liberal element of black or white, though more than occasionally resulting in wardrobe malfunction, judging by the photos.
Magenta, jade green, royal blue, mustard, purple – these are the kind of colours we mixed, matched and accessorized. Jade green and royal blue I wasn’t keen on and was pleased to see the back of; likewise mustard, which makes my skin look sallow or jaundiced. Magenta was alright, it satisfying a fondness for pink that has never gone away, but it was purple that remained the colour of choice for me.
The colour purple, rich, regal and exotic. I was fascinated by the existence of the Land of Purple with its tiny molluscs; this was the colour that Nero decreed was to be worn by the Emperor alone, with Henry VIII enacting a similar kind of dress code later in history. You can trace important developments in social, economic and art history through purple-tinted glasses…
I spent a lot of the 90s wearing purple: it combined well with the slightly Gothic-inspired look I favoured and with my penchant for things Victorian, medieval and Celtic. I had scarves, pullovers, jeans, socks, dresses, tights, underwear, nail varnish, jewellery, Doc Martens in varying shades of it. I even made purple silk roses to decorate a hat which I wore to a wedding (together with a purple dress, shoes and handbag, of course).
Anyway, to cut this long excursus short, I must have reached saturation point eventually, and I’ve been wearing less and less purple the last few years. The old garments have worn out, don’t fit any more or are passé in style, and I obviously haven’t found new ones that appeal.
But the odd thing, and the direction this pre(r)amble (purple prose?) has been heading in, is this: purple, it seems, is de rigeur for Spring 2009, and the shops are chock-full of it; but it leaves me totally cold.
I feel all purpled out – I have only to look at one of these garments and I immediately feel uncomfortable. Why? It can’t be just that my hair is now more brown than black and thus a bit more likely to clash, and it certainly isn’t the case that my skintone has changed significantly. Nor do I honestly believe that I am being subliminally affected by the poem that begins with the line “When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple”.
Has anyone else found that their taste in colours has changed in a weird way like this, and do you have an explanation?