The colour purple

What is it about purple? P’raps it’s because I’ve got a red barnet, or that the hazelnut in caramel is my favourite Quality Street, but this year purple dresses are totally appealing to me.

Looking back, purple has always played a starring role in my wardrobe. It fed into my Molly Ringwald obsession in the 80s. She always rocked purple (as well as pink, obv) – look to the left and you’ll see that she still looks AMAZING in it.

Purple brings back some vivid fashion memories: I remember a particularly delicious blouse I had from River Island, back in the day, with a purple paisley print. I wore it with purple ski pants (!!) and brown suede ankle boots the first time I ever came to London. That was an excellent trip. It was 1988, I was 14, and due to my friend’s incredibly relaxed parents (who I adored, obv) we got to share our own hotel room and go out unaccompanied in the evening. It was cheapies all round.

Our attempts to get into a wine bar, sadly, failed. But we did take some photos of ourselves in Soho Square – which we assumed to be red light central – and got served a carafe of wine in Pizza Hut. Good times.

In the 90s, I was deep into goth and grunge territory and, apart from black, purple was pretty much the only colour I’d touch. There are photos of me at uni in purple, tie dye tassle skirts, purple ethnic cotton blouses, a purple boyfriend cardi I wore until it dropped to pieces. Purple was my friend.

So I’m delighted that purple is the hot colour to bust out when you’re partying this year.

You can be as sexy or elegant as you want in purple – it’s dead versatile. You can go all-out for gothic glam (see Bottega Veneta dress to the right) or opt for a cheeky cocktail dress that leaves little to the imagination.

On the high street, my fave purple charms start with the lingerie dress by Karen Millen which is on sale right now.

The textured asymmetrical dress by Rare at Topshop is definitely one to try on, as is the chiffon frill dress from the much-lauded Pearl Lowe collection at Peacocks.

The star drape dress at Miss Selfridge is another one I’m going to check out in the flesh, and how cool and 80s is the purple batwing dress at French Connection (and reduced – yay!)

Lipsy always do a good purple party dress, and I like the pale one shoulder pleated dress – blondes beware as it could drain your colour, but brunettes and red heads should be laughing.

Zara’s strapless wool dress
is brill if you want to be understated (and have a slender figure) – and if you’re packing a Christina Hendricks-esque punch in the figure department, check out Julien Macdonald’s gorgeous full length body con at Debenhams.

I’ll be the one in Soaked in Luxury’s bib dress at Joy. Yummy.

Christina Hendricks is a resplendent redhead in purple:

Christina Hendricks photo: Jason Merritt, Getty Images

Written by Johanna Payton